Festival 2019

12-14 July

East Sussex


Welcome to Brainchild Festival, our three day festival celebrating creativity, bold ideas & DIY spirit at a peer-to-peer level.

We connect and stitch together the collectives, communities and creative projects that inspire us throughout the year into a program of live music, jam sessions, spoken word, DJ sets, talks, workshops, film, theatre and installation art.

The festival is not-for-profit and was started by a group of friends in their first year of university, growing organically every year since. It is now a celebration and gathering of an ever-growing network of creative people, with a capacity of just under 3000 people. Artists, crew and festival-goers camp together, with no VIP areas on site.

Across the weekend, we create opportunities for valuable conversations, exchanges and collaborations and welcome everybody to get involved. Built up by friends of friends over the years, the atmosphere is warm, open and relaxed. Brainchild is the perfect place to let your guard down, try things out and discover new wonders. We hope that you will find something you love this year.

Winners of the AIM Award for Best Independent Festival 2015 & 2016!

★★★★ - The Independent

Festival Tickets




Each festival, over 300 leading & emerging artists contribute their work and ideas, from art installations and led discussions to DJ sets. So far, we’ve been lucky enough to work with artists including Sons of Kemet, Shanti Celeste, PECS Drag Kings, Kojey Radical, Nubya Garcia, Dego, Ross From Friends, Caleb Femi, Ezra Collective, Loyle Carner, Moses Boyd Exodus, Alice Phoebe Lou and hundreds of other brilliant people.

We’re so excited and proud to release our main line-up of music, arts and ideas for Brainchild 2019.
Check it out below! 👀

Hip HopMusic


“There’s always that weird thing that the Irish mentality doesn’t really lend itself to hip-hop in the traditional sense of braggadocio. We’re very self-deprecating people.” Kojaque

Dublin rapper Kojaque is an artist steadily gaining ground on the Irish and international music scene, thanks to his production style, stunning visuals, and biting lyrics. Co-founder of independent label Soft Boy Records, Kojaque mixes sampling and jazz beats with dynamic, poetic lyrics, showcasing life as a modern Dubliner. An established film-maker and visual artist as well as a musician, Kojaque’s multimedia performances and projects are unlike anything else in Irish hip-hop; brutal, honest, and beautiful at once.

The Dublin MC’s latest project is a concept-album called Deli Daydreams, which follows the life of a deli worker, deli’s being something of a great mundane leveller in urban Irish life. Characters and their perspectives populate Kojaque’s work across tracks, music videos and other film projects.



Turning by Linnéa Haviland

Dir. Linnéa Haviland
Sound Design: Russell John
Animation: Linnéa Haviland and Simji Park

Voices in a crowd stir violent emotions, microaggressions bring up past traumas. Then a turning shifts the emotional landscape…

Linnéa is an illustrator and animator from Stockholm, now based in London where she works as an illustrator for a sexual health service. Her personal work focuses on the politics of representation and how this links to identity and identity formation. She loves working collaboratively with experimental, multimedia approaches to making. She is passionate about image’s ability to touch emotions and how colour, sounds, texture and movement communicate covertly.

When not making films Linnéa can be found watching bad reality TV and dreaming about owning a cat.

Instagram @linneahaviland_art

Talks / Workshops & Film

New Economics Foundation

There is building political and popular momentum for cutting the amount of time we all spend in work. At the festival this year, the New Economics Foundation will be leading a session on the strategy required for us to win a four day week.

New technology presents us with the opportunity to improve our work/life balance and respond to major challenges like the mental health crisis, air pollution and gender inequality. The collapsing neoliberal dogma means this goal is now in sight with trade unions, progressive employers and some politicians calling for the change.

For more than three decades, the New Economics Foundation’s mission has been to transform the economy so it works for people and the planet.They celebrate – and help to enable – the new economy springing up from below, but we also know that it needs support from above, including a state that prioritises people’s wellbeing and a healthy planet over a misplaced faith in free markets and competition.

Therefore we work with people igniting change from below and we combine this with rigorous research to fight for change at the top. The rules and institutions that shape our economy are not forces of nature beyond our control, but have been designed by people.

Theatre and Spoken Word

A Hundred Words for Snow

Rory’s Dad was an explorer.

Well, not literally. Literally he was a Geography teacher. But inside, she knows, he was Bear Grylls.  And when he dies suddenly in an accident, Rory knows he needs her help to make one last expedition.

With a plastic compass and Dad’s ashes at her side, Rory sets off in the footsteps of all the dead beardy explorers before her to get Dad to the North Pole. Before Mum finds out they’ve gone. ‘A Hundred Words for Snow’ is about being an explorer in a melting world. It’s a coming of age story. With polar bears.

A Hundred Words for Snow is about being an explorer in a melting world. It’s a coming of age story. With polar bears.

Following a critically acclaimed run at VAULT Festival and a UK Tour, Tatty Hennessy’s ‘warm, witty and wonderful’ (The Stage) show is directed by Lucy Jane Atkinson (The Stage’s ‘Top talent to watch’) and performed by Gemma Barnett (Goggles, Roosting).

The show has been developed with the support of the Peggy Ramsey Foundation and Arts Council England.

The Guardian

‘Warm, witty and wonderful’
The Stage

London City Nights

Breaking the Fourth Wall

Theatre and Spoken Word

Ad Libido by Fran Bushe

Join Fran’s quest for a “normal” sex life – featured in The Guardian’s Best Shows of Edinburgh Fringe 2018, written and performed by Fran Bushe.

Fran wants to fix sex. No matter how many wonder-cures she tries, how many trips to the doctor or offers of help from friends, she doesn’t feel like her fire’s been lit. Sometimes it hurts.

Join Fran on this “relentlessly hilarious” (★★★★ Stage) quest, with songs, as she pursues a satisfying sex life. Expect toe-tapping tunes, a magic penis and a visit to sex camp. Oh, and dolphins.


Alice Phoebe Lou

Alice Phoebe Lou’s fiercely independent approach to her music has given the singer songwriter a creative confidence that shines through in her captivating vocals and stripped back music.

Having developed her bluesy, folk sound busking on the streets of Berlin, Alice has caught the ears of a community of music lovers the world over with her honest storytelling and raw, beautiful voice.


Allysha Joy

‘Allysha’s presence lingered over the entire room as she performed with the elegance and substance of Erykah Badu… With a soul as big as her talent, it’ll not be long before the rest of the world is at her feet with us.’  The AU Review

Allysha Joy is best known for performing in Melbourne Hip Hop collective 30/70, and their success over the past few years lead her to further challenging her expression in a project of her own. Allysha is pushing boundaries as a keys player, poet, singer and producer, and released her first solo record Acadie : Raw in 2018 (hailed as ‘Album of the Week’ by Music is my Sanctuary).

Whether performing solo on Fender Rhodes or accompanied by her band, featuring members of 30/70, Allysha’s steady groove, husky vocal tone and unique style of writing emanates her own personal truth and powerful energy.

Allysha Joy has performed alongside acts such as Sampa the Great, Man Made Mountain, MKO and Simon Mavin, of Hiatus Kaiyote.



It was these words from Nina Simone – “I’ll tell you what freedom is to me, no fear” – that have both inspired and resonated with the life story and music of anaïs. Her new EP ‘Before Zero’ began life when anaïs was studying at NYU at their highly prestigious Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music where her friends and contemporaries were Arca and Gallant.

After moving to London in 2015 she began to make connections and further her music. In her captivating single Nina – an ode to one of her heroes, Nina Simone – a serpentine, Lauryn Hill-like vocal and melody are the bellows beneath a fiery lyric that takes as its inspiration from Simone’s statement. Alongside the exquisite Nina on the EP sit two more original tracks – Set In Stone and Window – as well as a wonderfully moving cover of Charles Aznavour’s La Mamma. All written and produced by anaïs herself, it’s a fiercely intelligent observation of the world from the perspective of a young black woman who’s traveled extensively and has no real place to call home.

Talks / Workshops & Film

Approaches To Activism

From Black Lives Matter groups protesting in Ferguson, to Sisters Uncut storming red carpets, to Extension Rebellion shutting down parts of London, activism and direct action are as closely tied as ever. But is this always a good thing?

High profile direct action is a good way of getting media attention, but it also can alienate large groups of people who find themselves inconvenienced. Is it always worth it to get a message across? What is the best way for us all to make lasting change?

In this Led Discussion, we’ll try to find some answers.


Arlo Day

Arlo Day is a young songwriter and guitarist from South-East London newly signed to Domino Records, whose unique ear for melody, haunting vocals and rumbling guitar tones have gained a quiet reputation as one of London’s best kept secrets. Having cut her teeth in the same burgeoning scene that gave rise to artists like King Krule, Jerkcurb and Puma Blue – as well as touring with bands like Whitney – she’s honed a distinctive song craft that feels timeless and truly her own.


Beats dir. by Brian Welsh

  • We’re lucky this year to be hosting a special screening of the new UK rave culture drama film Beats.
  • Produced by Steven Soderbergh, directed by Brian Welsh (Black Mirror) and written by Welsh and Kieran Hurley, the coming of age film takes place in Scotland during the summer of 1994 and follows two friends who dive headfirst into the free party scene.
  • Making their film debut, the movie’s lead actors Cristian Ortega and Lorn Macdonald play best mates Johnno and Spanner – two enthusiastic ravers with a deep bond who are on the cusp of adulthood. Soon to be separated, Johnno and Spanner decide to spend their last summer together living it up at the rave following the UK’s attempted ban on the massive counter-cultural youth movement.


Optimo’s JD Twitch has curated a killer soundtrack featuring The Belleville Three, Carl Craig, Leftfield, The Prodigy, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Plastikman, LFO, Hudson Mohawke and Orbital.The film first premiered at the Rotterdam Film Festival and has screened at the Dublin & Glasgow International Film Festivals ahead of its UK and Ireland release on May 17.

Theatre and Spoken Word

Bella Cox

An internationally-acclaimed spoken word artist, Bella Cox has worked for over 5 years both in the UK and in South Africa as a poet, workshop facilitator, MC and event producer. She is a two-time Barbican Young Poet Alumni and was a member of The Writing Room, London Queer Writers collective, and the Roundhouse Poetry Collective.

Bella has featured and headlined in London and across the UK during her two years here and has been published in various on and offline spaces. She is well-known for her transportive poetry that often addresses the notions of home and belonging, as well as her proudly queer and feminist work that seeks to embrace difference and empower young people.

Electronic Music

Ben Hauke (live)

Ben Hauke’s sound has been firmly woven into the fabric of Brainchild for a long time now. Whether its DJing at our parties in London, or featuring on our line-up videos, he’s longstanding Brainchild family and we’re feeling jammy that he’s coming back to perform a Live set at the Shack for us.

Ben is a South London-based producer, DJ and sonic experimenter. 2019 has seen the release of his EP Getting Twisted … check it out, and get ready to get funky! Last year he released Movin Broke featuring lyrics from Jerome Thomas (who we’ve also got joining us at Brainchild for a special Headline set!)





Ben Hayes (Live)

Based in south east London, electronic musician Ben Hayes creates music somewhere between spiritual jazz, dance music, and experimental electronica. Lacing synthesisers and live instruments with found sounds, he expertly layers organic textures with punchy lopsided beats, whilst pulling out sounds of minute beauty that would otherwise pass us by.

Active in the bubbling south London scene, his work is interwoven into the sound of the area, having produced for Puma Blue, Poppy Ajudha, Oscar Jerome, Maisha and Carmody, collaborated with Nubya Garcia, Joe Armon-Jones and Maxwell Owin, and remixed Vök, Otzeki, Flamingods and SumoChief.

Facebook / Instagram / Bandcamp / Spotify


Biig Piig

Biig Piig is a once-seen-not-forgotten new talent who draws on a unique and diverse upbringing having been born in Ireland and moved to Spain (before relocating to London and working as a poker dealer).

Biig Piig has shown an innate gift for storytelling, sharing her intimate, affecting and often brutally frank vignettes on those first loves (and losses); of a young generation navigating their way through late-night city life; and in a sound that draws effortlessly from the worlds of hip-hop, jazz, poetry, soul and R&B. She writes songs about embracing who you are and what you want.

Biig Piig debuted her single “Vice City” on Colors Berlin and released her first EP ‘Big Fan of the Sesh’ in 2018, featuring members of London-based Nine8 Collective who she works closely with.


Theatre and Spoken Word

Bridget Minamore

Bridget Minamore is a British-Ghanaian writer from South-East London. She is a poet, critic, essayist, and journalist for The Guardian, often writing about pop culture, theatre, race and class.

She has been chosen as one of Speaking Volumes’ 40 Stars of Black British Literature, has read her work internationally, and is the lead tutor for the Roundhouse Poetry Collective. Titanic (Out-Spoken Press), her debut pamphlet of poems on modern love and loss, was published in May 2016.

Bridget has been on the Brainchild team since the beginning and remains an Associate Programmer.


Brother’s Testament

Brother’s Testament are a groove based jazz fusion band from London. Consisting of Mark Mollison, Hugo Piper, Jack Robson and Munashe-Caleb Manyumbu, their sound amalgamates powerful grooves and stirring melodies whilst also being rooted in the jazz tradition. Brother’s Testament perform from the heart and embrace improvisation, so that the set manifests organically on stage differently each time.

Brother’s Testament have already captivated audiences at Jazz Cafe (supporting Antonio Sanchez), London Jazz Festival under the #jazznewbloodALIVE2018 series, Vortex Jazz club (headline show), Wilderness Festival (in association with Jazz:refreshed) and Jazz FM’s Jazz in the Round.


CALM ROOTS – Alex Rita & Clara Sinephro

CALM ROOTS will be a two hour meditative session, happening on Saturday morning in the Kite Bar. The session will be a wake-up experience like you’ve never had: you’re invited to come and get cosy, and drift away in an exploration of sound.

Alex Rita is an important part of so many projects we love and admire. From Touching Bass to being an implicit part of the Steam Down crew, she’s a creative force who weaves care into everything she does; whether creating clothes, illustrations or playing music. As a record collector, she embraces the dynamic, emotive, and journeying.
Together with musician, producer and composer, Clara Sinephro, she debuts ‘Calm Roots’ — a musical passage combining live modular synths, harp and records to create a performance that will be healing, meditative and transformative.
Check out this mix by Alex Rita to understand a bit more about what they’ve got in store for us.
Theatre and Spoken Word

Cecilia Knapp

Cecilia Knapp is a writer, performer, theatre maker and poet.  She has headlined at some of the UK’s top poetry nights and performed on stages at festivals including Bestival, Secret Garden Party and Wilderness. She’s taken work to the Edinburgh Fringe as well as internationally and shared work at the Cheltenham Literature Festival where she was guest curator in 2016.

She was  an artist in residence at the Roundhouse and spent a year on their board as a young trustee representing young artists.  More recently she’s been artist in residence  at Pimlico Library creating work with the community. Her poetry has been played on XFM, BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 4, 5 LIVE and 1Xtra and she has featured in Vogue, Dazed and Jungle magazines.

Recent commissions include The Guardian, BBCiplayer and the TATE. Cecilia delivered a Ted X talk at Warwick university on the theme of creativity and healing. Her one woman theatre show ‘Finding Home’, an exploration of loss, mental health and womanhood,  directed by Stef O’Driscoll ( Kate Tempest’s ‘Hopelessly Devoted’) has been published by Burning Eye Books and has toured the UK extensively.

She is working on her debut poetry collection and she is writing her first novel.

Cecilia has been described as ‘mesmerising’ and ‘totally gripping.’ Her writing has been described as ‘light as a birds feather’ (Lyn Gardner.)

Theatre and Spoken Word

Chloe Petts

We just couldn’t resist having our favourite comedian back to the festival – trust us, you’re going to love her new stuff.

Chloe Petts’ “inexhaustibly funny mind” (Diva Magazine) and “compelling presence” (Steve Bennett, Chortle) has established her as one of the most exciting new acts on the circuit.

Chloe is an alumna of the prestigious Pleasance Comedy Reserve, has been shortlisted for the BBC Comedy Award, was a finalist of Leicester Square New Comedian of the Year Awards 2017 and came runner-up in the Funny Women Awards 2017. She was recently heard on BBC Five Live’s Fighting Talk and has appeared on Channel 4’s Random Acts and BBC 3 Quickies.

Theatre and Spoken Word

curious… by Jasmine Jones

2018: Jaz muses on freedom – as an actress and otherwise…

1728: Celia runs away to find her own –

Sometimes history has to be hunted.

Jaz is in her second year at drama school and she is tired of pretending. When she stumbles across a piece of forgotten history her life is changed forever…

curious… is a work in progress solo show that lives at the intersection of blackness, womanhood and performance (on-stage and off).

Jasmine Lee-Jones is a writer and performer from North London, her first play ‘seven methods of killing kylie jenner’ is being staged at The Royal Court, 3rd-27th July. She has performed at and in association with Shakespeare’s Globe, Talawa Theatre Company and The Royal Court. She is currently developing a short film with Tiata Fahodzi.



Deep in Vogue

Come on a journey to celebrate the power of dance in this intoxicating portrait of a club scene in the heart of Manchester.

Dir. Amy Watson, Dennis Keighron-Foster
Prod. Amy Watson, Dennis Keighron-Foster, Darren Pritchard
UK 2018 61min
Prod. Co Spaniels In Heels

Manchester’s Vogue ball scene is revealed in a compelling documentary that explores notions of love, community and creativity, as preparations are underway for an upcoming competition.

Meet the queer heroes of the Manchester ballroom scene, which takes its inspiration from the US model of competing Houses that were developed in the black, gay ballrooms of 1980s New York. And as we hear the life stories of the key players, legendary MC Rikki Beadle-Blair works the runway like no one else.

Talks / Workshops & Film

DIY Space for London Print Collective

DIY Space For London is a cooperatively-run social centre in South London offering low-cost creative facilities, meeting rooms and social space. Run on a members’ club model, so everyone has an equal say, they work to promote mutual aid, cooperation and providing a welcoming space for everyone. 

The Print Collective are coming back to the festival to lead an accessible workshop on screen-printing, risograph, lino, book-binding, and zine-making.

It aims to give space to individual creative projects, provide print facilities to activists and community groups and run regular workshops and skill-shares, introducing new people to the joys and skills of printing.

instagram: @dsflprintcollective



Donna Leake

Music lovers of all sorts make the journey to London hi-fi bar Brilliant Corners and with good reason. Donna Leake is definitely amongst their most talented resident DJ’s, with a taste as versatile as her mind is open to everything spiritual and eclectic. She also holds a residency at NTS radio, where she displays her wealth of musical knowledge on a regular base. Prepare to dive deep.



‘An ode to joy, a moment to celebrate growing up’ Gal Dem describe her single ‘Pray’.

duendita simply describes her sound as ‘folk music from Queens, New York’. She wants to create art that provokes listeners to express themselves and begin purposeful journeys. She is guided by her spirituality and a love for the human experience.

duendita has been featured by numerous outlets including The New York Times, Newsweek, GirlBoss, The Fader, Variety, and more. Her debut EP, ‘direct line to My Creator’ was released November 2018.



Dylema Collective

The Dylema Collective is a poetry-music project with sounds combining Neo-Soul, Contemporary Jazz and floaty R&B carefully blended with a cross-over of Funk, Latin and poly-rhythmic grooves and spoken-word poetry.

Thematically, their feminist poetry addresses head on matters of race, gender and individuality, values reiterated by the hidden message within their lead vocalist’s name’s acronym: “Do You. Let Every Man Adapt”. In short, they love sharing music and poetry that shakes the mind, soul and body.



London-based Elkka is an artist who began her path as a singer-songwriter and has evolved into a multi-faceted producer, dj and label boss. With her music being a cross-pollination between house, electronica, percussive beats and dreamy vocals, Elkka’s universe constantly expands as she immerses herself in cross-genre, warm and hypnotic DJ sets, reaching the outer corners of music.

She’s a founder of London-based record label femme culture, which stands for inclusivity amongst all genders, backgrounds and beliefs. This year they released newest instalment in their ‘HeForShe x femme culture’ compilation series in celebration of gender equality and women’s empowerment. All proceeds from the release will be donated to the HeForShe x UN Women charity.

Elkka’s latest EP Full Circle is wild, and influenced by so many things that we love, including early Bonobo. The combination of vocal samples & distinctive beats that accumulate in a sound that is so completely itself. It hasn’t gone unnoticed: Ellka is listed as one of the 25 artists to watch for 2019 by Mixmag, and has made it onto playlist by our favourite Kieran Hebden (<3).

Listen to her Dummy mix to get excited for what’s to come….




Equal Echo

After their wonderful performance in 2017, we’re welcoming back Equal Echo.

The duo is made up of Alex Harley & Hector Plimmer, who are not only are they musical partners, they are also best friends.

Our dear friend Hector Plimmer makes his own unique style of atmospheric, hypnotically rhythmic music. His debut record Sunshine was released last year to a phenomenal response – garnering support from Gilles Peterson, Lauren Laverne and Jamie Cullum on the radio with press features in Boiler Room, i-D and Fact Magazine among many others.

Vocalist Alexa Harley has already seen her collaborate with artists like Tom Misch, Hybrid Minds & Mt Wolf.

The pair initially started working together for a one off collaboration, but it soon became clear this would be more than just a feature project. For the last year and a half Harley & Hector have been meeting two days a week, almost every week, creating music that shares an equal input of musical ideas from one another. The amalgamation of styles & musical backgrounds blend together to make a sound unlike either Harley or Hector produce alone, whilst still retaining the best attributes from both.

Two glistening EPs (mixed and mastered by Albert’s Favourites Dave Koor) are the product of 2 years of studio collaboration and many more of friendship. Over the last two years the dynamic live show has been previewed at Archspace, Ghost Notes with their premier festival appearances at  Brainchild and Glastonbury Festivals. 



Eriksson Tudie Project

Collaborators Eriksson Kaner & Mom Tudie will be sharing brand new beats, live keys and production.

Eriksson Kaner and Mom Tudie joined us at our first ever DIGS party back in March and at that gig, they put together a set full of new material especially from us as it was the first live jazz gig Eriksson Kaner had played in quite a few years. We felt SO honoured to have been able to witness that magic between the two of them, that we’ve invited them to play at the festival.

The first Eriksson Kaner tune out in the world is Changed Beings: it’s epic, moving and gorgeous, and we listened to it almost every day through the start of this year! Combined with Mom Tudie’s brilliant production, we can’t wait to hear what these two go onto create.

If you haven’t already heard Changed Beings, this is highly recommended listening from us! For people who love everything from 4hero to Maisha – UK to the original days of Southpaw.

Theatre and Spoken Word

Essex Girl by Maria Ferguson

“Essex Girl: a young working-class woman from the Essex area, typically considered as being unintelligent, materialistic, devoid of taste and sexually promiscuous.” Collins English Dictionary

Kirsty is a sixteen-year-old girl growing up in 00s Brentwood. She likes WKD, Elton John, Pie and Mash and Charlie Red body spray. She’s on a quest to win Sexy Ricky’s heart and pass her GCSEs.

She also has a secret to tell you. One she can’t tell anyone else.

Follow Kirsty’s story through the house parties and Irish pubs of Essex. From West Ham matches to choir practice, pre-drinks to registration, she will tell you what it’s really like to be an Essex Girl.

Essex Girl is written by and stars Maria Ferguson, award-winning writer and poet. Her début one-woman show ‘Fat Girls Don’t Dance’ (that she performed at Brainchild!) won the Saboteur Award for Best Spoken Word Show in 2017, and was published by Oberon Books in the same year

Developed with Battersea Arts Centre and Soho Young Company

Directed by Lucy Bairstow



Fehdah is the futuristic Afro soul music project of Sierra Leonean-born Emma Garnett and a seven-piece band.

Her sound has a wonderful organic feel to it cross-pollinating genres: from hushed gospel-style soul to an electronic African oriental-leaning sound that is rich throughout.

She is known previously for lending her smooth vocals to the likes of Manden Express, RiZA, and Loah, and her collaborations with Ben Bix.

Talks / Workshops & Film

FITTER: An Open Interview

For those you who saw HOTTER at the festival last year, you’ve obviously not forgotten the profound elation – remember when we all cried and stormed the stage?
Well, Mary Higgins and Ell Potter are back and their developing their next show FITTER.
HOTTER is a piece of joyous sweaty verbatim dance theatre based on interviews with women and transpeople aged 11-97, it’s about what it means to be a woman, feminine, or assigned female at birth.    ‘Vulnerable, charming and electric.’ ***** Edinburgh Guide
FITTER is like HOTTER’s younger greasy brother and using the same method of verbatim interviews, will explore themes of masculinity and what it means to be fit, feel fit, and fit in. 
So, on their journey to gather thoughts, opinions and experiences that will inform the making of their new show they’re stopping at the festival to host an open-interview with some of our favourite artists.
We’ve invited Travis Alabanza and Jodie Mitchell to chat with them about fitness, fitting in, wanking, sex, dancing & body hair – and we can’t wait to involve you all in the conversation.
Talks / Workshops & Film


gal-dem is a new media publication, run entirely by women and non-binary people of colour.

With their online and print magazine, they’re addressing inequality and misrepresentation in the industry through platforming the creative and editorial work of young women and non-binary people of colour across essays, opinion, news, arts, music, politics and lifestyle content.

They’re returning to Brainchild to host a storytelling event – more info soon!

Talks / Workshops & Film

How To Document Your Culture with Emma Warren

What cultural stories do you have in your life and how can you tell them?

Emma Warren has been documenting music culture for decades, and this year she’s published her book ‘Make Some Space: Tuning Into Total Refreshment Centre’ – now she’s coming to the festival to inspire and equip us with the tools we need to tell the stories of our own communities.

Emma was a founding contributor to Jockey Slut magazine; worked at THE FACE; compiled the ‘Steppers Delight’ dubstep albums for Soul Jazz; made BBC radio documentaries and worked as the lead editorial mentor at Brixton youth-run publication Live Magazine. She has a monthly show on Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide FM.Emma published her first book ‘Make Some Space: Tuning Into Total Refreshment Centre’ in spring 2019 on her imprint Sweet Machine – tagline ‘put a little something in, get a little something out’. Sweet Machine will be publishing things you want to read on the internet, but don’t, because you have too many tabs open.

Theatre and Spoken Word

I am 10,000 by Harry Baker

Mathematician-Turned-World-Slam-Champion Harry Baker turns 10,000 days old, celebrating numbers, words and life itself.

From winning his school battle-of-the-bands competition with a Jay-Z Maths homage to his prime number poetry TED talk being watched by millions online, Harry’s love of language and logic has got him through literal marathons, seen him rap battle in front of Ice Cube, and now has him analysing the technical accuracy of So Solid Crew’s 21 seconds.

He’s got 99 problems but maths ain’t one.

”Ferociously intelligent” **** Scotsman

“Spectacularly witty” ***** Whatsonstage

“The greatest performer on earth” ***** BBC Radio 1

Electronic MusicMusic

In Flames

Welcoming back In Flames!! Ruby & Josephine have fast become Brainchild favourites, after joining us in 2018 and then bringing absolute mayhem to our party at Vault Festival earlier this year, we’ve put your Friday night in the safest of hands.

Self-described as post-punk, post-funk ….in fact, just Post-Post-Erryting, their sets are freaky disco vibes & you’re going to wanna throw shapes you didn’t know were possible.

The Rule is: There are no rules. Just pure fun

Theatre and Spoken Word

James Rowland’s Team Viking

Five years ago, James’s best friend was diagnosed with heart cancer and told he had three months to live. His last wish was to be given a full Viking burial. This is the remarkable, hilarious and heart-lifting story of how James actually gave his best mate the send-off he wanted.

Team Viking was a breakthrough hit at the Edinburgh Fringe, combining storytelling, live music and comedy-theatre to rave reviews. A comic ode to death and friendship – featuring an actual Viking helmet – the show has inspired audiences from main stages to village halls across the UK.

★★★★★ ‘Joyous – heart-lifting and incredibly moving… as accomplished a piece of storytelling as you could hope to see’ The Stage

★★★★ ‘A reminder that life really is for the living… beautifully calibrated‘ Fest Magazine

★★★★ ‘Equal parts sad, funny and ridiculous… a show of real courage combined with warmth and lyricism Three Weeks

Directed by Daniel Goldman

James Rowland is a writer and performer. He has toured nationally and internationally with his award winning trilogy of one person shows “Songs of Friendship” (Team Viking, A Hundred Different Words for Love and Revelations). He has been described as “Charming, hilarious and heartbreaking” by the Guardian and “Charming, hirsute and pot bellied” by the Times.

brainchild festivalHip HopMusic

Jerome Thomas

A true ‘genre-defying’ artist – Jerome Thomas is best known for his distinct and soothing sound, which samples various genres of music from Soul, Jazz to Jungle, R&B and Hip Hop.

In a year the vocal powerhouse’s musical status has boomed, headlining sold out shows at Camden Assembly, Hackney Empire, Queen of Hoxton; as well as collaborating on projects with industry pioneers BONDAX, Ty Macklin (Erykah Badu, India Arie.), Serious Klein, Ezra Collective’s Joe Armon-Jones, as well as Soulection’s Jarreau Vandal.

Already having strong support from key tastemakers under his belt from the likes of Afropunk, Earmilk, Clash, Complex, GENUIS, i-D, Highsnobiety, MTV, BBC 1Xtra/Radio 1 and Skull Candy, the Dalston native has cemented himself in his very own lane as one of the most dynamic and authentic voices to have emerged from the UK.



Josey Rebelle

Josey has shown year on year that she’s a force to be reckoned with. Her infectious energy and passion for underground music has made her one of the most respected DJs in the game.

With accolades for both club sets and radio shows including 50 Most Exciting DJs in the World (Crack Magazine), Top 20 Breakthrough DJs of the Year (Mixmag), 10 Best Radio Shows in London (Time Out), Best Mixes of the Year (Pitchfork), the London born-and-bred DJ has proven herself to be an artist that can seamlessly ride countless genres with a raw underground energy that evokes the spirit of her home city while keeping international audiences in the palm of her hand, all with one overwhelming priority: heavyweight selection first and foremost.


Let’s Have A Kiki


Let’s Have a Kiki, London’s iconic ballroom party, is throwing a lil’ taster event for the Brainchild fam to close the Kite Bar on Saturday night of the festival and you’re all invited!

It will be THE MOMENT to throw down the moves you’ll have learnt earlier in the day at JayJay Revlon’s Voguing Fem Workshop.

If voguing is something you’ve always wanted to try, or you’d like to connect with the ballroom scene, then this is for you!


Levitation Orchestra

Levitation Orchestra exists as a platform for musicians of all walks of life to meet and create music collectively, responding to each other’s unique and personal vibrations.

The ensemble aims to raise up and support all involved, musician, audience, and future participants through this process of creating music free from market pressures and commercial ambitions. Each project involves creating new music, new themes, and a rotating personnel. The membership is currently drawn from the London scene, with directions in music from trumpeter, Axel Kaner-Lidstrom.


Lunch Money

Lunch Money first met at a local library as part of a rapidly expanding philosophical reading group. Forming the cultural arm of the organisation were the musicians that would later be known as Lunch Money.

Soon becoming dissatisfied with the direction of the group, they split to form a purely musical cell, whose wordless communications would prove the most effective medium for their message.

(In their own words)

Lunch Money are not your standard band. Comprised of members of Touching Bass Church Of Sound and Total Refreshment Centre they make music with synths, live instrumentation including trombone, sax and whatever they have to hand – all generated with a bag of forward motion. It’s going to move you. It’s going to surprise you. It’s just…. Going.


brainchild festivalMusic


Maisha are a six-piece group, led by bandleader Jake Long, who bring a fresh slant to the weighty spiritual jazz tradition, whilst filtering their own influences from jazz to hiphop to Afrobeat. The six-member collective includes Amané Suganami on piano/wurlitzer, Twm Dylan on double bass, Tim Doyle & Yahael Camara-Onono on percussion, Shirley Tetteh on guitar and features Nubya Garcia on saxophone. Expect trance-inducing rhythms, musical interchange, and deeply enriching melodies.

Their debut album ‘There Is A Place’, released on Brownswood Recordings in 2018, was called ‘a celebration of young, eclectic Britain’ by The Guardian, and reflects the scene and surrounds that shaped it – from the rehearsal rooms and friend’s houses that nurtured the band, to a peaceful, secluded park that prompted moments of reflection from bandleader Long.

Their debut EP was released through Jazz Re:freshed, and they were part of We Out Here, Brownswood’s early 2018 record documenting London’s genre-bending, jazz-influenced underground. They’ve been featured on Boiler Room, supported the Sun Ra Arkestra, and played at Church of Sound, a live series that’s quickly become a staple of this emergent scene.



Emily Hill AKA MLE is part of the team behind Rhythm Section and International Black, keeping things ticking over at the labels and helping to curate their regular club nights. As a DJ and radio host she holds down residencies on South London’s Balamii and Noods in Bristol, and can also be found working behind the counter at Soho vinyl institution, Sounds of the Universe.




Saskia Horton, Christopher Luu, Lorenz Okello Osengor, Benjamin Appiah, James Akers

Formed in Summer 2016, Nihilism has already made its mark on the Underground London music scene – from playing London Jazz Festival to Ronnie Scotts to Royal Festival Hall. A 5-piece made up of Sax & Violin, Keys, Drums & Bass, their influences range from Jazz, Hip Hop, Funk & Soul to Grime. A culmination of genres which will introduce to a Soundscape you’ve never visited before. Their debut acclaimed Extended Play ‘EXPOSITION’ brims with funk, energy and unapologetic rawness and has been played on Jazz FM.

Talks / Workshops & Film

Our Naked Truths: Life Drawing

Our Naked Truths will be hosting a life drawing and conversation session at the festival this year.

They create a safe, inclusive space for all persons to create, connect and celebrate universal beauty; typically focusing on female identifying and non-binary persons as models, in sessions that welcome all genders. They encourage their community to explore themes of self-acceptance through artistic expression, meditation and conversation.

Talks / Workshops & Film

Painting Plates with Eliza Hopewell

Eliza is back after popular demand to run another plate painting workshop at the festival and this time it’s BYOP! Come and  get creative with your old plates from home or pay a small price for a second-hand plate, and make some beautiful plate nudes to keep.

Check out her incredible work online: @elizahopewellplates



Parasang is a live improvisation experience led by Iranian sound artist, Pouya Ehsaei (who played last year as part of Ariwo), and curated by himself and MANANA//Records founder, Harry Follett.

Following their run of weekly sessions in London this year, where each show was a one-off collaboration exploring the diversity of the city’s musical communities through electronic music, they are bringing an improvised set at Brainchild! 

Back in March we invited Rosie Turton, Maria Osuchowska, Slam the Poet and Marley Drummond to join Pouya in a Parasang meets and the result was electrifying and mesmerising. Parasang will invite a number of artists form across the Brainchild programme and beyond to collaborate provides an opportunity for an exploration, treading the line between electronic and live music.

cabaretTheatre and Spoken Word

Pecs Drag Kings: Soft Bois

Soft, sensual and fresh from their extended sell-out run of SEX SEX MEN MEN at The Yard Theatre, the one and only Pecs bois are going to be back at on home ground, bringing you some new feels straight from their aching hearts.

Get ready for some serious softness and sensitivity this summer.

“It’s a space to be silly. It’s empowering. It’s liberating. It’s f***ing sexy.” Evening Standard




Pinty’s witty wordplay and effervescent club sound take influence from the introspective poetry of The Streets, the downbeat moods of King Krule and the jazz tinged house tones of production partner Maxwell Owin.

The South London MC follows his guests features on Glenn Astro and Jamie Isaac tracks with his full debut EP on Rhythm Section International, while beginning to make waves with his distinctly individual live performances, appearances on Boiler Room and Just Jam, radio residencies on Reprezent and Balamii and the front cover of the Peckham Peculiar.



Plumm is a London-based vocalist, instrumentalist and producer. Her dark, jazzy vocals are a distinctive feature of her unique sound, which is both gritty and evocative.

With her newly released EP entitled The Shed, Plumm’s influence from strong female jazz greats of the past, is married with an eclecticism in production and inspiration. The outcome is an eccentric sound, which is accentuated by the Plumm band when they perform live – bringing a whole new beautiful and ethereal dimension. 

Plumm trained in Jazz at the Julian Joseph Jazz Academy along with a degree in Ethnomusicology at SOAS, specialising in North Indian Classical music.

Spotify / Facebook / Instagram / Soundcloud



PYJAEN was born when a barista misspelled the name of band member Dylan Jones on a coffee cup at Brainchild Festival in 2017. From that moment, PYJAEN became an alter ego, giving rise to a new form of limitless expression explored through jazz performance, animation and graphic art.

More than a quintet, PYJAEN is the unified expression of the emotions, journeys and influences that comprise its diverse members. Described by Jazz Wise Review as having “a groove propelled with dynamism and formidable technique”, PYJAEN seamlessly melds funk, afro-beat and contemporary sounds with nods to hip-hop and disco, whilst acknowledging the traditional era of 1920s jazz and dance music.

Theatre and Spoken Word

Rachel Nwokoro

Brainchild is welcoming Rachel Nwokoro as a festival resident poet this year!

Rachel is a queer black woman of Nigerian heritage, and she loves telling stories. Rachel has won a number of competitions, most notably 2016 UK Slam Poetry Champion. A passionate, disabled artist, she is unapologetic in communication and dedicated to speaking openly about her story in the hopes that her art can provide a small sanctuary for others like it did for her. She (/Her) is a person who loves loudly.

Her debut poetry collection “Little You” is available online and in shops now.

Disclaimer: People who hate Beyoncé are why Rachel has trust issues.

Talks / Workshops & Film

Re-Imagining Grief

This year at Brainchlid we’re exploring endings, and as part of that journey we’re opening up space for an honest conversation about death.

What are we afraid of? What is the consequence of societies inability to talk about death? How does engaging with it change the way we live?

Brainchild is bringing together artists from different disciplines to discuss the taboos around death and the ways in which they have re-imagined experiences of grief in their creative work.

Zoe Hunter Gordon, who is charing the conversation is an Associate Programmer on the Brainchild team and a filmmaker with a background in documentary television. Her debut documentary short as director, ill, actually was funded by the BFI and broadcast BBC 4. Her debut fiction short as writer/director, St Katherine’s Pier, stars Lauren Lyle (Outlander) and is currently in post-production. Her debut play, Cecilia, was produced at the Kings Head Theatre and shortlisted for the Yale Drama Prize, and her collaboration with Engineer Theatre “Gap In The Light” was produced at the New Diorama and Offie nominated. 

Ed Haslam is a visual artist who collaborated on The Garden of Earthly Delights project in the woods at Brainchild in 2017. His work Nothing to Be Frightened of occupies the tree line of the shack stage this year. Made in response to personal experiences of grief, it makes light work of his own mortality, as an event not to be feared.

Jessica Butcher is a playwright and actor, best know for her play Sparks, a two-hander musical about the brain’s response to grief, which she both wrote and performed in. It sold out at the Edinburgh Festival 2018 winning the Best Musical Award from Musical Theatre Review, and will be showing at Brainchild this year.

James Rowland is a theatremaker and storyteller, he has toured nationally and internationally with his award-winning trilogy of one person shows Songs of Friendship (Team Viking, A Hundred Different Words for Love and Revelations). Team Viking is the remarkable, hilarious and heart-lifting story of how James gave his best mate the Viking send-off he wanted and you’ll have a chance to see it at the festival this year.


Rosie Turton

London based trombonist and composer Rosie Turton is one of the up and coming voices on the UK jazz scene. Expressing herself through a variety of different musical outlets, from composing and playing with septet Nerija (Domino Recording Co), Sun Ra space influenced Where Pathways Meet to recording with Jitwam and Hollie Cook.

After exploring the eclectic music scenes of London and New York to the Himalayas of India, Rosie’s ‘5ives’ release with Jazz Re:Freshed showcases her individual and unique voice as a performer, composer and producer.



Sawa-Manga is the creative child of beat wizard D’Vo and vocalist/poet And Is Phi, joined by a string section comprised of Maria Osuchowska on Harp, Mark Mollison on Electric Guitar, and Saskia Horton on Electric Violin. It is an exploration of musical landscapes, deep sea diving into liminal places for storytelling. It is sway, funk, blue flame. It is an ethereal electronic driven exploration rooted in a fusion of hip hop, r&b, soul and jazz.



We are very excited to announce a new act coming into the Brainchild fold: Sharky! We discovered her via a video of her singing in the bath, and haven’t been able to stop singing since.

Unlike anything we’ve ever heard before, Sharky’s voice acts almost like its own instrument as her vocals slide from one syllable and word to the next, creating a silky and smooth melodic line.

Her vulnerability is disarming, but when paired with the accomplished jazz, funk & soul​ ​influenced musical backdrop the result is overwhelmingly powerful, and you’ve got no choice but to surrender yourself to your new ear-worm.

We’ve been playing her EP He Burned Down the City back to back, and couldn’t recommend more that you do too – let it grow on ya & get ready to fall head over heels.




Sherelle is a footwork, jungle & 160 DJ from London, UK.

Sherelle specialises in high-speed rhythms and heavy low-end frequencies. The DJ and radio presenter is at the forefront of the UK’s electronic music underground thanks to a signature style that’s captured the imagination of everyone who’s seen her play. Enter the dance during a Sherelle set and you’ll be met with pure energy as footwork, juke, jungle and other genres at the higher end of the BPM scale are unleashed and then rewound amid a sea of gun fingers.

A champion of leftfield bass music, she’s been joined on her Reprezent show by the likes of Jessy Lanza, UNIIQU3 and Novelist, and has pioneered the Brixton radio station alongside her peers and fellow presenters. Recognising the graft, DJ Mag called Sherelle’s show “a rarity and one that should be protected at all costs.”

And all of this before that Boiler Room set. The one where Sherelle packed a whole night’s worth of gas into 45 minutes; the one that sent a crowd of young London club kids into absolute delirium; racking up 1 million views on Facebook.

But that’s chill for the Londoner, who grew up on a steady diet of 4hero, Machinedrum and, of course, DJ Rashad. Because as you can see, she’s been ready for this moment for a hot second now.

Hip HopMusic


Shunaji is a lyricist, producer and MC. Her sound is inspired by a wide array of genres, such as abstract hip hop, trip hop, lo-fi and synthwave. Shunaji likes to keep her influences fluid and uses visual arts as a reference.

Her lyrics addess topics such as womanism, mental health, race and class, and she has a series of alter egos such as Sick Ranchez, Princess Solo and Yagalla Molasse, which enable her to change direction with her music, and reflect her erratic personality.

She was recognised by Brownswood Recordings in 2017 when she joined the label’s Future Bubblers programme. She has been the recipient of MOBO Help Musicians Fund and in 2018 she became a resident artist at Roundhouse. She is soon to release her sophomore project in 2019 following her debut Midnight Movie in 2018.

Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / Spotify


Simbiosis Carnal by Rocío Álvarez

Rocío Álvarez lives in Brussels where she made her new short film Simbiosis Carnal, a poetic journey through the history of desire and sexuality, where female pleasure, long ignored and repressed, takes pride of place.

She holds a degree in Fine Arts from the Polytechnic University of Valencia in Spain, where she majored in painting. Later, she specialised in animated filmmaking at La Poudrière school in Valence, France, where she directed the short film Écart de conduit, selected for the Cartoon d’Or Award 2013.

Follow her on Instagram

Talks / Workshops & Film

Skin Deep’s Golden Record: IS THIS THE END?

The Voyager Golden Records were two phonograph records that were launched into space in 1977 aboard both Voyager spacecrafts. The records contained sounds and images selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on earth, and were intended for any intelligent extraterrestrial life form, or for future humans, who may find them. The records are a kind of time capsule but, in reality, they in no way reflect the ‘diversity’ or life on earth.

Race + culture magazine Skin Deep will be back at Brainchild this year to run an interactive zine-making workshop, reimagining the 1977 Voyager Golden Record.

You will be creating your own Golden Record time capsule in response to the question: IS THIS THE END? (Also the title of their upcoming issue).

Theatre and Spoken Word

Sparks by Jessica Butcher

Presented by Trip

By Jessica Butcher, with music by Anoushka Lucas, developed with and directed by Jessica Edwards

“Fall in love in my early twenties, get married in my late twenties, have at least one child by the time I’m 30. Fuck!”

Life is hard to navigate when you’ve got so many questions. Can I put this jumper in the washing machine? Do you have my birth certificate? Where did you find love? How did you do it? How do you survive?

A story of a kamikaze love affair with unexpected consequences. Hilarious and heartbreaking, weaving spoken text with a live original score.

SPARKS is a two-hander musical about the brain’s response to grief.

Twitter: @what_a_trip / @flippingtheatre / @anoushkalucas /

Insta: @trip_triangle_ / @jsaedwards / @anoushkalucasmusic


Steam Down

Steam Down is an artist collective, weekly event and music community based in Deptford, South-East London.

Founded by Ahnanse in May 2017, Steam Down is comprised of Alex Rita, Brother Portrait, Sawa Manga, Theon Cross, Nadeem, Benjamin Appiah, Dominic Canning and Nache. Their weekly sessions are a magical explosion of Afrofuturism, grime and future soul, fused together with the spontaneity of jazz.

Previously having had guest appearances from the likes of Kamasi Washington, Sampa The Great, Nubya Garcia and Sons of Kemet, these exuberant congregations are an immersive musical experience for audiences, where healing vibes and compulsive dancing are just as important as the music.

Theatre and Spoken Word

Steam Down Poets

Bringing together the vibrant forces that are Mamoyo, Nadeem Din-Gabisi and And.Is.Phi, members of the Steam Down family, this is a show of poetic rhymes, universal vibes, and uncompromising truths.

The poets will be accompanied by Rebekah Reid and Clara Sinephro on violin and modular synths.

Belinda Zhawi is a 24 year old writer and educator born in Zimbabwe; resident in London. Her work focuses on her memories of living in rural and urban Zimbabwe whilst exploring the role this has played in shaping the narrative of her life thus far.

Nadeem Din-Gabisi is an artist, DJ and poet. His artwork and poetry are centered around the re-presentation of the black image. Through all his artistic practices Nadeem actively seeks ways to bridge the gap between the seen and unseen worlds.

And.Is.Phi is a writer, musician, and visual artist from Norway / Phillipines. She is also one-half of Sawa Manga, whose sound is an ethereal and electronic driven exploration.

Talks / Workshops & Film

The Yonis

The Yonis are a contemporary movement girl band celebrating bodies as vehicles to be physical, powerful and dynamic, finding strength in coming together to create, taking up space and making noise.

Inspired by punk movements and gig culture, they want to recreate the shared feelings of joy, euphoria and togetherness that are experienced when watching your favourite band. 

This year The Yonis will be popping up all over the festival and welcoming you to an open band practise session, breaking the audience/performer barriers, and encouraging everyone to get involved and dance with them.

Bethany Edwards, Bun Kobayashi, Charlotte Mclean, Florence Blackmore, Haley Gash, Isobel Ripley, Jay Yule, Kaivalya Brewerton, Maisie Sadgrove



Tim Garcia

Tim Garcia runs the global music platform Musica Macondo which focuses on a wide range of music including Jazz, Latin, Afro, Eastern and Electronic sounds. Musica Macondo put on regular events at London’s best live music venue The Jazz Café, Camden reflecting everything from the burgeoning UK Jazz scene to Afrobeat to Latin sounds.

Musica Macondo is all about discovery and the magic they’d like to share with you is in the ever-changing shape of music from around the world; its roots, sounds, and influences.

Tim has amassed a deep understanding of music from all over the world through his obsession for crate digging – with one of his main passions being the permeation of the West African drum sound and how that has influenced subsequent genres.

As a DJ he can be seen playing at London’s best audiophile venues: Spiritland and Brilliant Corners along with DJing the UK club circuit.


Toby Campion

Described by BBC Sunday Politics as “the voice of a generation”, Toby Campion’s unapologetic words and wit have inspired audiences from Glastonbury to the Royal Albert Hall. An award winning playwright and poet, Toby performs his poetry across the country and has been featured on national networks including BBC1, BBC Radio 4 and E4.

UK representative at a number of international poetry tournaments and projects, including Capturing Fire and The Next Generation Speaks, Toby produces the UK National University Poetry Slam & Summit and co-runs Midlands poetry night, Find the Right Words, as well as facilitating writing workshops across a range of settings.


Errol & Sammseed (Touching Bass)

Touching Bass return to the Kite Bar with head honcho, Errol, this time joined by fellow soulstranaut, Sammseed. Last year’s nighttime session (which saw Errol going back to back with Alex Rita) was full of buoyant, genre-hopping goodness, so expect the same this time round.

For the unacquainted, Touching Bass is the South London-based movement who hold down a biweekly NTS Radio slot, an innovative discussion/live music series called Speaking In Sound and a regular monthly dance among other creative endeavours. Music to make you think and feel.





Talks / Workshops & Film

Travis Alabanza

Travis is going to get cosy with the Brainchild audience and bring us a performance-lecture-chat about the fight for freedom for those on the margins.

Travis Alabanza is a performer, theatre maker and writer. Their work in the last four years has paved a lot of the current conversation of UK trans discourse, and how this intersects with race & class.

Their work has been featured in the Guardian, BBC, Huck, Dazed, I-d and other publications, they have performed in venues such as the Tate, V&A, ICA, Royal Exchange theatre and Roundhouse and their recent show Burgerz was voted one of audiences top theatre shows of 2018 (Guardian).

Theatre and Spoken Word

Vanessa Kissule

Vanessa Kisuule is a writer and performer based in Bristol, UK. She has won over ten slam titles including The Roundhouse Slam 2014, Hammer and Tongue National Slam 2014 and the Nuoryican Poetry Slam.

She has been featured on BBC iPlayer, Radio 1, and Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, The Guardian, Blue Peter, Sky TV, Don’t Flop and TEDx. She has performed national and internationally in Vienna, Sweden, Belgium, Germany, Bangladesh, Barcelona, Oslo, Finland, Romania, New York and Brazil.

She has two poetry collections published by Burning Eye Books: Joyriding The Storm (2014) and A Recipe For Sorcery (2017) and her work was Highly Commended in the Forward Poetry Prize Anthology 2019. She was the recipient of The Jerwood Micro Arts Bursary and The Leverhulme Arts Scholarship in 2017 and her one woman show SEXY toured with the support of Arts Council England in 2017/18.

She is currently the Bristol City Poet for 2018 – 2020.


Talks / Workshops & Film

Voguing with Jay Jay Revlon

How could we resist making this happen again?

Limber up, dress up, bring your most outrageous moves and your most audacious self to a voguing workshop with the one and only Jay Jay Revlon – MC, DJ, father of the Kiki House of Tea, and co-founder of English Breakfast London, responsible for some of London’s finest voguing nights.

Instrumental to the rise of London’s voguing scene, Jay Jay Revlon caught wider attention in 2017 when he was filmed at London’s vigil for Orlando. As Jay Jay himself says, ‘voguing requires you to let out all your emotion and spirit on the floor. It came about as a reaction to oppression: in the 80s you would let out all your pain in a costume at a ball. It brought the community together and I think it still works’.

See you on the floor – don’t forget your glitter (and your shade).



Based in South London, Woom weave music of sparse, melancholic beauty from a refreshing set up of rare restraint. Just four voices and some carefully deployed guitar are all that’s needed to create a fluid and uplifting sound, full of expertly constructed vocal harmony and musical togetherness.

Their first ever gig was at Brainchild 2017, and now we can’t imagine the festival without them.

Woom are a four-piece choir, with a repertoire of covers which each gives the original a run for its money; from Frank Ocean to Patsy Cline and everything in-between.

‘Their vocal harmonies, artisanal in their construction, are fluid, spiralling things, and their knack for an effective melodic left-turn is stunning.’ Loud & Quiet




Returning following her memorable performances at The Shack & the Lemon Lounge at Brainchild 2018, Zakia returns for another of her eclectic and masterful sets.

She began DJing while working behind the counter at Honest Jon’s Records and producing for NTS Radio. Since then, she’s gone on to play some of London’s top venues, from Corsica Studios to audiophile hang-out Brilliant Corners, and is a resident DJ at the Jazz Cafe.

On top of all of this, Zakia produces & presents esteemed radio documentaries, with BBC Radio 4 & World Service enlisting her skills for shows on arts, music and culture; from Ella Fitzgerald, to Julius Eastman, to ‘Big Drum’ – a West African drumming tradition from Carriacou.

It’s fair to say Zakia’s knowledge of music is vast, crossing all genres from all corners of the world. Selecting in the club or live on-air, you can expect the unexpected – her weekly NTS show, “Questing”, spans deep & cosmic sounds, from spiritual jazz to psychedelic folk and dub, while DJ sets explore global connections, soulful vibrations and heavy percussion.




Get In Touch

For job opportunities, volunteering & artist submissions for our monthly scratch night ‘Hatch’, please head to our Get Involved page.

If you would like to be included on the Brainchild Media List (to receive our press releases) please contact lucy@brainchildfestival.co.uk

A small amount of complimentary festival tickets are available for photographers/videographers who would like to join our BCTV volunteer team and help us cover the event in an artistic/imaginative way. Please email your portfolio to lucy@brainchildfestival.co.uk

For food trading enquiries email jasper@brainchildfestival.co.uk

For general enquiries email team@brainchildfestival.co.uk

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