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 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
Join the crew! Brainchild is a festival that’s run on the goodwill and hard work of lots of amazing individuals. If you’d like to help us make the weekend happen, then volunteering over the festival is a great way to do it.
As part of the volunteer team, you will see the festival from the inside. The volunteers at Brainchild are fundamental to its success, helping to make sure things are ticking over and doing a variety of jobs, from bar work to catering, ticketing and lots more in between. Every year we’ve met some of the most generous and spirited people on the volunteering team – read on for more info.
How it works:
– Over the weekend, you will help out for 12 hours split up into 3 shifts so you still have lots of time to explore the festival and party. Plus, if you volunteer with a friend, just let us know and we’ll do our best to put you on shift together.
– All volunteers will need to be on site from Thursday evening for a briefing and to be given their rotas. You will also need to be on site until your shifts are complete which might be Sunday night or Monday morning.
– After the festival, when you’ve done your shifts, half of your ticket-price will be refunded to you.
With our bookings, we aim to build the thriving & inclusive community that emerging artists need to develop creatively. Across six different performance spaces, we celebrate DIY spirit & bold ideas in theatre, poetry, live music, dance music, talks, workshops, film & visual art.
Over the years, hundreds of incredible artists have come to try stuff out with us in the Brainchild fields, including some now well known trailblazers like Ross From Friends, Alice Phoebe Lou, Kojey Radical, Nubya Garcia, PECS Drag Kings & Ezra Collective. Our first lineup release is coming in March 2020.
Applications to play, perform or a wild new idea to Brainchild are now open and you can apply here until midnight on the 15th March.
Applications to make installations with us are already open here until February 17th.
Photography: Hollie Fernando
What’s Brainchild all about?
Brainchild set out to connect people in a way that larger festivals can’t, nurturing collaboration on a personal level. We started planning the first festival in January 2012, when, amidst endless arts cuts, we wanted to show each other that realising our creative ambitions was still possible.
Now, against a lot of odds, and through the continued enthusiasm, generosity, hard-work and talents of hundreds of people, the festival has now happened six times from 2012-2018. Whilst prioritising affordability in our ticket-price, we have remained entirely sponsor-free in this time and the team has been made up entirely of volunteers, with our 2019 festival as our first time being paid.
We do not focus on any specific genre or art-form. Our focus is on the spirit behind them, and bringing together people who share an open-mindedness and a collaborative approach. We look for work that challenges broken paradigms and shares visions for more sustainable and compassionate societies globally.
Our aim is for everyone who is part of Brainchild to come away feeling inspired, having made new friends, discovered amazing new work and developed their own creativity. So all over site, there are opportunities to perform and get involved.
Where is the festival and how do I get there?
We’re running in the fields and woods of Bentley Wildfowl and Motor Museum in East Sussex. There is even a mini railway to take you on a tour round the site!
Our site address:
Bentley Wildfowl & Motor Museum,
Getting here by train: Nearest stations are Uckfield and Lewes. Uckfield is closer to site than Lewes, although both stations are the same distance from London (roughly 70 minutes). Brighton to Lewes is 15 minutes.
There will be a minibus service from Uckfield and Lewes train stations, meeting the trains as they arrive. Tickets for these are available here. Please note that minibuses tickets the Monday morning are sold on a first come first serve basis.
We always encourage festival-goers to reduce their carbon footprint, so if you want to make some new friends then lift-sharing your way to the festival may be a good idea. After the success of last year’s, we’ve made another Lift-Sharing Group, join it here. Car park passes are available here.
I can’t come anymore, can I refund or sell my ticket on?
We cannot issue refunds unless we are cancelling the festival. What we can do is swap the name on your ticket for a small admin fee of £2.99 – so if you find someone to sell your ticket to, please buy a ticket swap (these will be available to purchase by April 2020). You will be asked to fill in the check-out form, where you provide the new ticket holder’s email address and full name. Brainchild HQ then check you’ve paid the fee and transfer the details over to the new ticket holder who will then receive a confirmation email from us.
Please note that this swap is made manually so can take up to a week. The deadline for ticket swaps is 5pm on the 7th July 2019. Any financial exchange for the ticket is the responsibility of the parties involved and not BC.
What’s on the festival site?
The festival site is intimate, split between one main field, one camping field and some adjoining woodland. There will be many art-installations and architectural pieces, as well as our six different performance areas.
There’s the Brainstage for live music, The Shack for dance music, The Forum for spoken word, talks, theatre and workshops, The Cinema for skill-sharing sessions, screenings and multi-media shows, and the Kite Bar for live music and collaborations with organisations and collectives we love.
The Kiosk is our on site shop where we sell all the wonderful things made by the artists and makers in the Brainchild networks. Stop by and browse through everything from records to books, DIY zines or hand-made bras or vintage clothes. There is also an opportunity to charge your phone but bring your charger!
What’s the deal with camping?
We’ve got a big campsite spreading over 2 fields adjoining the main festival area, so none of the hours of walking that you have to do at big festivals! Everybody camps together, there’s no VIP camping. All you need to do is bring your tent. Please bear in mind we can’t have camper-vans or campfires at the festival.
What should I bring with me?
Essentials: your ticket and some valid ID. Brainchild is an 18+ festival and you will need this and your ticket to get your wristband and gain entry. There is not a cash point on site so if you wish to carry cash bring it with you, but all the vendors have card machines.
Please do bring: things that will help you gain from the festival, so notebooks, yoga mats, cameras, instruments for the jams…
Please don’t bring any glass, fireworks or illegal substances. We have a zero tolerance approach to illegal drugs and psychoactive substances. Unfortunately, we can’t be responsible for anything hanging from trees, such as silks or hammocks as they are not covered in our insurance.
Alcohol: Per person, alcohol is limited to either: a 70cl bottle of spirits OR one crate of beer/cider/ale (12 cans) OR 1.5L of wine. Alcohol can only be brought in on first entry and must be decanted out of glass receptacles into plastic.
Is the festival family friendly?
Sadly not. Brainchild is an 18+ festival, so we can’t allow kids on site.
How accessible is your site for people with disabilities?
Please get in touch with us about any requirements that you have and we can arrange priority parking spaces, camping and stage seating. We can provide free tickets for carers.
When does the festival start and finish?
Gates open at 12:00 on Friday 10th July, with acts beginning shortly afterwards – the sooner you can get on site the better!
Details of main-gate opening hours during the festival will be published on here nearer the time.
It’s definitely worth staying the whole weekend because things are still in full flow Sunday day and night time. All guests need to have vacated the site by noon on Monday 13th July.
Festival Terms & Conditions
You can see all our Terms & Conditions for Brainchild Festival 2020 here
Get In Touch
For job opportunities, volunteering & artist submissions for our events or the festival, 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 email@example.com
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For general enquiries email email@example.com