6-8 August 2021

Welcome

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 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 2500 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.

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

★★★★ - The Independent

Tickets

The response to the Crowd Cover Pledge has been wonderful, we’re overjoyed to say that enough of you have got behind us for us to be able to keep the festival alive – our epic reunion this August has never felt so close and we cannot WAIT!

Due to the CCP & the August postponement, some more tickets have freed up and are now on sale! Earlier this year we sold out in record time, so we don’t expect them to stick around long – make sure you swoop in quick if you want to nab one.

Important Info about the Crowd Cover Pledge

Anybody who wants to buy a 2021 ticket will have to opt into our new terms, agreeing to make half of their ticket a non-refundable ‘Crowd Cover Pledge’ – please read our full statement here. It’s the collective solution we’ve devised in order to make the festival possible this year without Covid-19 cancellation insurance, which our government have refused to make available, forcing the cancellations of many festivals including Shambala, Beat-Herder & BoomTown. Please visit our FAQs if you still have unanswered questions. If you still can’t find the answers you need email team@brainchildfestival.co.uk.

PS, ticket-holders, would you be up for telling us more about you?

We’ve introduced a form at checkout to help us understand who’s coming to Brainchild, telling us more about our returning audience & tracking our progress in becoming a more inclusive, diverse and anti-racist organisation. Because tickets sold in such a rush this year, we imagine many more of of you would have skipped past it. So – everyone who’s bought a ticket to Brainchild this year – please consider filling this out? It would be incredibly helpful for us 😊

Or
Volunteer

Lineup

Here is the first taster of our lineup for 2021! We have SO MANY more things to tell you about, including our whole theatre, comedy, film, poetry, workshops & talks lineup, our installation artists and the rest of the music programme. But for now we wanted to give you these gems to get stuck into. It’s safe to say they are each absolute fire, we dream of their sets at the festival on a pretty much daily basis!

Please note that we’re no longer accepting applications to play or perform at Brainchild 2021. Thank you very much to everyone who applied!

Music

Anja Ngozi

Anja Ngozi is a London-based DJ and producer, whose music and sets centre around soulful tunes, lo-fi beats and experimental vibrations… She runs Síbín, a club night and label (founded by herself and the infamous Maxwell Owin), with two new monthly shows on Reprezent and rundemradio. We love this tune, Pastor, which she and Max made featuring O the ghost; this Frank Ocean Mix Anja put together, and her recent edits of American R&B artist India Arie.

Music

Cameo Blush (LIVE)

Cameo Blush is the project of London-based producer John Dunk, who in 2019 debuted his live set at the acclaimed Field Maneuvers, following his first outing as a producer on Nick Höppner’s Touch From A Distance. We are super excited to welcome him back after JD played with us back in 2015 and again with Ross from Friends in 2016 and 2017.

His debut release showcases his fascination with off-kilter sounds through a heady mix of intense drum programming, alien vocals and glistening arpeggios.

Along with a string of mixes – including Olsen and the Feel My Bicep mixtape series – 2020 kicked off with live shows at revered London clubs, Phonox and Corsica Studios, continuing with a remix for Athlete Whippet and a three-track EP ‘In Cadence’ as the inaugural release on new concept label, unknown – untitled.

Theatre & Cabaret

Dragprov

Christian Adore and Eaton Messe are a drag king and queen double act performed by Francesca Forristal and Ed Scrivens, who improvise a night of Sequins, Spoofs, and Salaciousness! (The Guardian).

Using your suggestions, this lovable soft-boy and sassy queen will create dazzling songs, sketches, and raps right before your eyes. They’ll be serving you wit as sharp as their contour; jinks as high as their brows; memories that will stick with you longer than last night’s glitter, presenting: Dragprov!

 

★★★★★

I do not have enough superlatives to describe how incredible this inimitable act is… Filled me with so much joy – THE PINK TIMES

★★★★★

PHOENIX REMIX

★★★★★

LONDON THEATRE1

@Dragprov

Music

feeo

Reared on a combination of Jazz, Folk, Reggae, and the 2002 Ibiza soundtrack, Oxford producer and songwriter feeo developed a taste for storytelling, big beats and stacked vocal harmonies early on. Her first cuts channelling this blend of styles were quick to turn heads, leading to a feature on Loraine James’ acclaimed album ‘For You and I’ in 2019, providing the vocals for ’Sensual’. Lyricism is the driving force behind feeo’s work, which she sets against an experimental Neo-soul-inflected backdrop.

Her first two tracks, Yeti and Morning Glory, are treasures to behold. We feel very lucky to have feeo with us, and can’t wait to see how things unfold for her.

Theatre & Cabaret

Hotter Project & EKP present FITTER

A rugby ball’s soft, a hockey stick’s hard, what does that make me?’ – Boy, 12

Hello, we’re Ell and Mary.

We’re bisexuals but we’re a bit bummed out by boys. So we made a show about them.

We asked trans-men, cis-men, and masculine presenting people aged 8 to 102 about what makes them hard. This is a show about what we learnt: about strength, fitting in, feeling yourself, and arseholes.

Through singing, dancing, and f*cking around in crap drag, Ell and Mary write a love letter to masculinity which they are forever tearing up and taping back together again.

We cannot wait to have our favourite theatre makers and honest conversationalists Mary & Ell back in the field for a third year. The inimitable HOTTER Project are dedicated to creating radically honest and silly work, aiming to speak to and platform the voices of those we don’t normally hear. In lockdown they turned their joy, irreverence and innate hilariousness to podcasting, while you’re waiting check out their epic queer adventure quest, Lem n Ginge: The Princess of Kakos.

Music

India Jordan

Emerging as one of dance music’s most exciting producers and DJs, London-based India Jordan is a true disciple of high-energy, fast-paced dance music — capturing the attention of the scene’s top tier DJs and tastemakers across a series of perfectly-pitched, quietly personal singles and EPs.

After holding down DJ residencies and promoting parties across the UK for the best part of a decade, 2019 saw India take the plunge into releasing their own original music for the first time with an instant impact. By the end of the year, following three singles on Local Action Records and riotous live appearances on Boiler Room and Keep Hush, The Guardian named India as one of “50 Amazing Musicians to Watch in 2020” and Resident Advisor listed their track ‘DN4’ as one of the best of the decade.

Despite having their biggest shows to date cancelled due to Covid-19, in May 2020 India released ‘For You’ — a six-track EP that represents their “largest and most personal” body of work yet and has been praised almost unanimously as one of the best releases of the year. Inspired by growing up queer in the North of England, it documents India’s understanding and learning about their own identity, and being kind to themselves in the process (the “You” in the EP’s title is a reference to India).

‘For You‘ was an instant hit, receiving stellar reviews upon release from Pitchfork (8.0), NME (5/5), Clash (8/10), Resident Advisor, Mixmag, The Guardian, Bandcamp, Dazed and more. ‘For You’ has also swept the board in Best of 2020 Lists: Resident Advisor named it the #1 Track of 2020, Crack ranked it as their #2 Best Track of 2020, Pitchfork listed it as the 21st Best Song of 2020, and it also featured high in Best Tracks of 2020 lists from NME, The Vinyl Factory, Gorilla vs Bear, Clash Magazine, Beatportal and more. Capping off a flagship year, India also won ‘Best Breakthrough Producer’ at the annual DJ Mag Best of British Awards, and Pete Tong named them his ‘Breakout Star of the Year’ on his flagship BBC Radio 1 show.

Regular radio support in the UK has come from Annie Mac, Danny Howard, Pete Tong, Jaguar, Tom Ravenscroft and more, while high-profile artists and DJs such as Caribou, Four Tet, Romy xx, Prospa, Ben UFO and Bradley Zero have all shown public support for India’s music. With a new EP set for release in March, festival slots at Field Day, Eastern Electrics, Lost Village and more in the diary and India’s own headline show set to be announced, 2021 will see India’s star continue to rise.

Music

Levitation Orchestra

Founded in 2018 by trumpet player Axel Kaner-Lidstrom (Where Pathways Meet, Cykada), Levitation Orchestra was formed with the shared goal to create original suites of music completely collectively, with each member contributing freely and equally. As such, the overall vision of each project is the total sum total of the participant’s influences and aspirations. 

A twelve-piece ensemble abundant in energy and focus, Levitation Orchestra’s captivating original compositions come to life in the band’s explosive live performances — as experienced by anyone who was there for their 2019 Kite Bar set! It felt only right to us that LO should take on the Brainstage this year.

Check out their ritualistic way of making music for yourself in their first EP, Inexpressible Infinity.

Music

Loraine James

Hailing from Enfield, North London, adventurous producer Loraine James is a rising voice in the electronic music community. Taking piano lessons as a child and growing up listening to a wide range of genres has instilled a voracious musical curiosity in her that resonates throughout her productions. While classes at college, and later on Westminster University’s Commercial Music course, facilitated her encounter with the basic tools for digital production, her approach is closer to DIY culture than formal training.

Often expressing her love for IDM, her intricate, highly intuitive and emotional tracks, composed used minimal, easily-available setup, and openly queer identity stand in direct opposition with the genre’s traditionally male, white and gear-fetishising intellectualism. James’s music is at once abrasive and vulnerable, a powerful dichotomy used to fuse together the many disparate elements from London’s sound universe which she integrates into her music, moulding grime, R&B, jazz and ambient into novel sonic creations with an instinct for improvisation. 

In 2017, her self-released debut album Detail caught the ear of many music aficionados, but 2019’s sophomore For You And I LP on Hyperdub would make her a breakthrough star, receiving unanimous acclaim from peers, fans and critics at the likes of Crack, DJ Mag, The Quietus, Mixmag and Pitchfork. On Nothing EP, her second Hyperdub release, she explores new directions with a diverse group of international collaborators including Uruguayan producer Lila Tirando a Violeta, Jonnine Standish of Australian duo HTRK and Iranian-British rapper Tardast.

Music

Lynda Dawn

Lynda Dawn is a vocalist, producer and songwriter from London. Exploring the sonic spectrum between soul, funk and jazz she draws upon her musically inclined upbringing to deliver a distinctive style of storytelling.

Dawn’s nostalgia-tinged tracks embody her early influences via captivating grooves and celestial vocals. She cites the crackling sounds of her parents’ records along with growing up in the Pentecostal church as her spiritual education in funk & gospel expression.

In 2018 Dawn caught the attention of Gilles Peterson and was featured on the 13th Brownswood Bubblers Compilation. Her debut single ‘Move’ introduced her as a definite ‘one to watch’.

Dawn has since enlisted the help of frequent collaborator Al Dobson Jr for her debut EP ‘At First Light‘. The highly anticipated project (released via Mndsgn’s record label Akashik Records), was met with critical acclaim and landed the number 1 spot on Jamz Supernova’s Top 5 EP’s in the world on BBC’s Radio 1Xtra. The Guardian and Clash Magazine also featured Dawn as one of the top new artists for 2020.

With more music on the horizon, this enigmatic songstress has quietly positioned herself as one of the UK’s brightest new soul artists.

Music

Nala Sinephro

After her dazzling performance at our Digs gig (remember those?!) early last year, we are very happy to welcome pedal harp and synth player Nala Sinephro back to Brainchild 2021! You may have spotted her play alongside Alex Rita as part of Calm Roots during the 2019 festival, or even at a Steam Down jam once upon a time. For this festival set though, we are very lucky to have Nala accompanied by a full live band for one of the very first times. As heralded by the Guardian’s ones to watch list, Nala’s music is ‘gorgeously woozy and tidal – and not unworthy of comparison to Alice Coltrane‘.

Nala has new music on the way, with big things in the pipeline, but for now, keep in the loop via her Instagram page or tune into one of her eclectic NTS shows :)

Theatre & Cabaret

Naughty Corner Productions’ RAVES R US

Toys R Us has closed down for good leaving Charlie and his mates unemployed, depressed and searching for any escape from this rundown bigot-lead society. Charlie’s vision arrives fully formed. They have an abandoned warehouse, an abandoned nation… it’s time to make a sanctuary, an escape… a Rave. Inspired from a true story out of Hounslow, London.

 

★★★★★ – North West End

A Stroke of Theatrical GeniusLa Vida Liverpool

We cannot wait to for you to experience multi-award winning theatre company Naughty Corner Productions’ unforgettably good immersive show. They’ve run for the last 5 years with 8 original productions, sell out Edinburgh & Brighton fringe runs, sell out shows at The Pleasance, London, and they’ve performed to over 1,000 people at Glastonbury festival 2019. They’re also winners of the Sunday times national drama award 2014, and have had countless 4 and 5 star reviews.

@naughtycornergram

Music

OK Williams

We’ve got legend OK Williams lighting up the Shack on Friday night — this isn’t one to miss! Setting dancefloors ablaze with all kinds, from deep house to techno to jungle to UK funky, catch her show monthly on NTS to get a feel of what’s to come 🤠 For those wanting to get to know her a little better, we love this interview she did with Gal Dem and this mix for LN-CC.

Music

Overmono (LIVE)

We cannot spot dreaming of how incredible this will be – closing our Brainstage on the Friday night are Overmono! Their tunes have kept us dancing through lockdown, and we know we’re not alone in that – they are very widely respected by so many of hte producers in our community and we cannot wait for them to bring their live set to Brainchild. 

Under their respective artist names Truss and Tessela, brothers Tom and Ed Russell have forged formidable individual reputations as producers. Defining tracks such as Truss’ ‘Beacon’ and Tessela’s ‘Hackney Parrot’ have encapsulated so much of what is exciting and vital in UK underground, electronic music. Overmono, sees Tom and Ed come together on record for the very first time, with the duo releasing the Arla EP Trilogy (XL Recordings).

In their own words… 

“Despite doing some live shows together and the fact that we’re brothers, we hadn’t ever really written music together and wanted to start something new. We decided to head to a remote cottage in rural Wales, near to where we grew up. The trip ended up being the most creative stint either of us had ever had and after a week we had the foundations for Overmono.” 

Theatre & Cabaret

Queer House Party

After DJing and throwing parties across the county for years now, housemates, activists, and community organisers Harry Gay, Wacha and Passer came together on the first Friday of lockdown to throw an online party to give queers across the globe a sense of release and community whilst in isolation. Months later Queer House Party have built an online following and are continuing to throw events for the virtual masses, winning awards and bringing together people together in an accessible online community space.

While their virtual parties have got many of us through the last year, we’re cannot wait for their epic IRL throwdown at the festival! Expect the very best drag, dance, performances & sets from their resident DJs, each with their own individual style, coming together to lay down some serious genre-hopping campness: Garage, R&B, Disco, Pop, House, and garage. Innit camp?!?

Queer House Party keep their politics and activism central to their events, creating a space that is not only accessible for the whole LGBTIQ+ community but kicks off and campaigns for a wide range of issues that we care about. Over the past year, the family has grown and now contains a bunch of legendary queers from the access team, to the hosts and the regular performers. Queer House Party has worked and collaborated with Cybertease, United Strippers of The World, Drag Syndrome, Quiplash, Bricks, The Barbican, BFI, and Guildhall to name a few.

@queerhouseparty

Talks, Workshops & Film

Shadow Sistxrs Fight Club: We Protect Us

Shadow Sistxrs Fight Club is a physical and metaphysical self-defence collective for women, non binary people and queer, trans, intersex and queer people of colour. They have a holistic approach to self defence, incorporating Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, meditation and medicinal/magical herbalism in our workshops.

In We Protect Us, join them in exploring self-defence as a tool for empowerment in a time when our communities are being harassed and exploited by increasingly oppressive and violent forces. 

Ayesha Tan Jones is an artist and musician based in London. Ayesha’s work is a spiritual practice that seeks to present an alternative, queer, optimistic dystopia. They work through ritual, meditating through craft, and building forms from their dreams.

Monique Etienne is a student, facilitator and organizer and has been practicing martial arts for over twenty years. She works with self-defence as a trauma-informed approach to self empowerment and community building in ways that are inclusive, creative and challenging of typical notions of strength and power.

 

@shadowsistxrs_fightclub

Music

Shivum Sharma x Lagoon Femshayma

Lagoon Femshayma (aka Zooey Gleaves) is a drag queen, host, DJ and broadcaster from South London. He currently has shows on REPREZENT FM and Foundation FM, as well as regularly contributing to Dazed Beauty and working with Dazed, AnOther, i-D and 10. He is also the head of Fashion and Beauty for ISSTUDIO.
Shivum Sharma is a singer, songwriter, producer and DJ from South London who, since the closure of clubs, has been making mixes for the likes of BBC Asian Network, Foundation FM and Soho Radio. His last EP was featured on COLORS, and as Jamz Supernova’s #1 EP on her BBC Radio 1Xtra show.
Together they play a broad spectrum of the club music they mutually adore, including House, Techno and Footwork, blended into a mix of R&B and Pop. Expect a euphoric, camp and incredibly extra set.
Theatre & Cabaret

Something Borrowed with Harry Baker

Started during lockdown as an online space between live performance and interview, we’re lucky enough to be hosting the first live outing of Something Borrowed this year!

Join World Poetry Slam Champion (and long time Brainchild fav) Harry Baker as he invites guests from the world of poetry and beyond to share some of their own work as well as that of those who have inspired them, interspersing conversation with performances in the form of something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue.

Helen Seymour is a spoken word artist who’s theatre/poetry/comedy/performance art show “Helen Highwater” premiered at the Southbank Centre as part of London Literature Fest 2019. Her insta is
Erin Bolens is a poet from leeds who writes, teaches and performs in all sorts of weird and wonderful places across the country. Erin’s first show ‘What We Leave Behind’ and first poetry collection ‘Alternate Endings’ have been published by Burning Eye Books.
Comedy

SORRY

Super group sensation SORRY will be bring us an hour of unapologetic, hilarious improvised comedy, inspired by a chat with a very special guest at the top of the show (previous guests include Gina Martin, Phil Wang, Mae Martin and Jason Mantzoukas).

An incredible group of talented, ground-breaking improvisers, one of the most exciting groups in LondonCariad Lloyd

Put SORRY in the calendarThe Evening Standard

SORRY are improvisers and comedians Liz Kingsman, Alison Thea-Skot, Naomi Petersen, Sophia Broido and Lola-Rose Maxwell. They have sold out runs at VAULT Festival, The Pleasance and London’s leading improv theatre The Free Association.

@sorrygigs

Talks, Workshops & Film

Storytelling with gal-dem

gal-dem is an award winning media company committed to sharing the perspectives of people of colour from marginalised genders.

This year gal-dem is back with their storytelling show, taking over for an hour to make space for YOU to take the stage, and share your voice with Brainchild 2021.

 

@gal-dem

Music

WOOM

It’s quite hard to think of one word that perfectly pinpoints what WOOM do. Choir almost does the job, but despite being almost-acapella, it doesn’t fully characterize their magic. Lets just say for now: together as WOOM, Ella, Izzy, Lara and Alice are four voices. The four-part concept-choir have already amassed a passionate cult fanbase, including past touring partners like King Krule, Whitney and The Big Moon who re-envisage songs in way that is at the same time new and familiar, delicate yet powerful. Their notoriety as a completely immersive, near-transcendental experience is fast becoming the stuff of indie folklore.
Their lush, harmony-laden vocal re-interpretations of songs by Frank Ocean, Angel Olsen & Outkast, amongst others, have become a WOOM calling card. They re-envisage in way that is at the same time new and familiar, delicate yet powerful. Comprising something of a supergroup of southeast London luminaries, WOOM includes members of Babeheaven, Arlo Day, Teeth Machine, Hester, Thidius and Jerkcurb.
Theatre & Cabaret

YESYESNONO’s we were promised honey!

YESYESNONO are an award-winning performance company consisting of lead artist Sam Ward and producer Rhian Davies. They make work about human connection in the modern world. Their work sits somewhere between theatre and live art and feels utterly unique, often involving radical audience participation. They’ve toured work nationally for the past three years, and have had their work published by Oberon Books.

This will be the third time YESYESNONO have performed at Brainchild. Sam’s debut show Five Encounters on a Site Called Craigslist won the Total Theatre Award after coming to Brainchild in 2017 and his second show [insert slogan here] performed at the festival in 2018. Their most recent show the accident did not take place was shortlisted for the Total Theatre Award for Innovation in 2019 at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. 

we were promised honey! comes in two parts, with an interactive installation roving round the festival in the day, and a work-in-progress of a brand new solo show performed for the first time by Sam at Brainchild. Both are investigations of future dreaming as a communal exercise, asking how we can look towards the horizon when it looks like the whole world is in collapse. 

Writing

FAQ

Get In Touch

For job opportunities, volunteering & artist submissions for our events or the festival, please head to our Get Involved page.

If you’re a catering company or food stall and are interested in trading at Brainchild Festival please fill out this initial form.

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

For general enquiries email team@brainchildfestival.co.uk

 

Feedback

We’ve opened up a Community Feedback survey for the Black people & People of Colour in our community to tell us about their experiences of Brainchild. It’s totally anonymous and we welcome responses any time through the year. We really appreciate the feedback, and the findings so far have gone directly to inform the changes we’re enacting within our organisation. So if you have something you’d like to tell us about – good or bad – please tell us. We promise it will be read, digested & acted on. Head here to see the Community Feedback survey.