Festival 2018

13-15 July

East Sussex


Welcome to Brainchild Festival, our three day festival celebrating the DIY spirit, art, music and ideas of the people around us.

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 entirely volunteer-powered and not-for-profit. It is a meeting of minds – an intimate size of 2000 people, with artists, crew and festival-goers all camping together and no VIP areas on site. We push important conversations and interdisciplinary art to the forefront 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 amazing artists. 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




Every year, over 300 artists contribute their work and ideas, be they art installations, led discussions or DJ sets. So far, we’ve been lucky enough to work with artists including PECS Drag Kings, Kojey Radical, Nubya Garcia, Vanessa Kisuule, Dego (2000Black), Ross From Friends, Caleb Femi, Ezra Collective, Joshua Idehen, The Comet is Coming, Loyle Carner, Moses Boyd Exodus, Alice Phoebe Lou and hundreds of other brilliant people.

Our 2018 festival programme is currently being cooked up, but our first few musicians have been announced. Stay tuned for more announcements in the coming weeks!

30/ 70

30/70 is a cosmic mélange of boom-bap dynamics, neo-soul harmonies and jazz-funk licks, all steeped in a deep spiritual tradition. Despite their influences coming from across the pacific, the 30/70 sound is unmistakably Melbourne and for anyone admiring the scene from afar, it would seem fair to wonder if there was something in the water.



Ariwo are a London based Cuban/Iranian quartet, focussing on the unexplored intersection between electronic and afro-cuban music.

The word Ariwo means “Noise” in Yoruba. The name underlines the band’s emphasis on sound and its desire to combine traditional rhythms into a live electronic performance that challenges perceptions of ancestral music, and connects diverse cultures from around the world.

Ben Hauke

Longstanding Brainchild family, Ben is a South London-based producer, DJ and sonic experimenter. With him there is never a dull moment – he’s always finding new projects and sounds to explore, from beginning Woop Records to crafting sound-scapes to the short stories in our recent book THOUSAND.

With influences of house, broken beat and 90’s hip hop, his recent EP ‘First Takes‘ has been on constant play in at Brainchild HQ. Check it out and get ready for his set at The Shack this year. 


In his their own words: “Producer k3mp and rapper cecil b, combine trap house spoken word punk poetry in an attempt to create an awkward commentary on the ever changing state of Deptford, Lewisham and South Wast London, trying to navigate in an area that feels less and less like home.” Their work is introspective, powerful and unforgettable.


The 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 name’s acronym: “Do You. Let Every Man Adapt”. In short, they love sharing music and poetry that truly makes your brain and booty dance!

Emma-Jean Thackray’s Walrus

Emma-Jean Thackray is an award winning composer, trumpeter and producer. She is currently part of the Red Bull Music Academy’s Class of 2016 and has recently received the Emerging Excellence award from Help Musicians. On top of this, Emma released one of the most exciting and unique jazz records of 2016, “Walrus”.

“Walrus” has been daily listening since we first heard it, and we thoroughly recommend you dive straight in, bop your head & dance around. Check out the amazing artwork too, by Jack Greeley Ward (his vimeo is here).

Harri Pepper

Harri Pepper is a well known Welsh man based in London, as a disc jockey he continues to represent Stamp The Wax as their chief resident whilst also throwing parties in both Bristol and London.

A natural digger since he was 15, known for his eclectic taste, cruising warmups and hectic closes Pepper has built up a reputation for his no-nonsense party starting.


Jam led by Ahnansé

On Saturday night Ahnansé, founder of south London’s Steam Down, and Wayne Francis of United Vibrations will lead the headline jam. Exploring Afrofuturism in sound, Ahnansé’s jams are a sonic exploration of the past, present and future of the African diaspora. Think African traditional rhythms, left field beat music, spacey electronic textures intertwined with the improvised explorations of jazz.

L.A.B Collective present Beat Meet

The L.A.B Collective are a family of DJs, producers and animators working together to push underground music culture. Their London based producer community event, Beat Meet, gives a platform for upcoming beat makers and established producers alike, nurturing the UK Beat scene.

This hub is coming to Brainchild so that beat lovers to network, chill and listen to producer showcases, DJ sets and live beat jam performances. Accompanying the latest underground sounds you never knew you needed, there will also be a chance to enter King of The Hill – a Beat submission competition. Keep your eyes peeled and one ear open for how to get involved!

Laura Misch

We’re very happy to welcome back the lovely Laura Misch to Brainchild this year.  Since she performed on the Brainstage in 2017, Laura has been performing her one woman show all over Europe, and has recently released her new single ‘Lagoon’. Her music delves into the way that music can create sonic environments and realities: her performance promises to transform and transport us, with talk of special collaborations coming into the mix too.

Noya Rao

Purveyors of enigmatic dreamscapes and organic, danceable electronica, Leeds-based, electronic-soul quartet Noya Rao have blown us away with their debut album Icaros, released on Matthew Halsall’s Gondwana Records at the end of last year.

Founded by producer Tom Henry, Noya Rao was originally conceived as a solo project with a separate live band representation. Alongside bassist Jim Wiltshire and drummer Matt Davies, the project grew to become a collaborative effort mixing Tom’s production ideas with the attributes of Jim’s unique bass synth lines and Matt’s polyrhythmic beats. Their compositions drew on the influences of jazz, hip-hop and electronic music whilst incorporating the sounds of the bass-heavy-dub music synonymous with the Leeds music scene.

Their sound really came into focus when they met vocalist Olivia Bhattacharjee who brought her gospel style and complex choral harmony to the band. Developing from raw, psychedelic improvisations, their sound became more defined and minimal, underpinned by live instrumentation and more structured song writing. This co-existing electronic and organic thread gives the band a strong identity and their powerful live show sets them apart from other producer-led bands. Matthew Halsall from Gondwana Records saw the band perform at an intimate show in Manchester in 2016 and blown away, signed the band on the spot.



Penya are 4 piece percussion driven electronic quartet led by producer and multi-instrumentalist Magnus PI.

Penya’s percussive wanderings in Cuba, Turkey, Morocco, Peru, Tanzania and India have garnered a tribal, alternative dance floor take on Afro-Latin rhythms.

Many of Penyas’ songs touch on ancient Afro-Cuban melodies sung by the band’s multi-instrumentalist / vocalist Lilli Elina, whilst other tracks are wide open electronic groove scapes that draw on percussion don Jim Le Ms experiences as a ceremonial Bata drummer. Viva Msimang’s dubbed-out trombone improvisations, percussion and backing vocal contributions complete the Penya soundscape.

Penyas’ releases have been hailed by Gilles Peterson and Tom Ravenscroft, (BBC 6 music), Nick Luscomb (BBC Radio 3), Worldwide FM (Thristian and Will LV), Boiler Room, Stamp the Wax, the vinyl factory, NTS, and a host of other producers including Dengue Dengue Dengue, Bonobo, DJ Khalab, and DJ Jose Marquez



PYJÆN a new collective of close friends with a common link of improvised music and the jazz tradition, and a shared intention to push into new directions, explore their lives through music and and draw from varied influences including rock, electro, afrobeat and hip hop. Having met at Trinity Laban College of Music, they formed at Brainchild Festival last year

Skin Deep Sonic Transmissions: Shabaka Hutchings

Skin Deep is a London-based multimedia platform that amplifies voices of colour through the discussion of race and culture. Their Sonic Transmissions sessions curate conversation, live performance and collective listening around the work of an artist.

We feel incredibly lucky to have that Skin Deep are inviting saxophonist, band leader and composer, Shabaka Hutchings back for the 2nd instalment of Sonic Transmissions at the festival!

Shabaka is one of the stars of London’s jazz community, as well as the city’s thriving improvised music scene. As part of the Caribbean diaspora, he pushes the boundaries of what musical elements are considered to be Caribbean. Constantly evaluating the nature of his relationship with musical material and tradition, he describes his attempts at composition as wrestling matches with questions of where and how the Caribbean can be encoded, and what happens when it is exposed to the western classical music cannon.

The last Sonic Transmissions Session talked about ancestors and marxism, mythology and capitalism, time and language, rap and calypso, communities and colonialism, and imagining and creating new systems. What the conversation could explore this time knows no bounds.

Sons of Kemet

Sons of kemet is the iconoclastic mix of tenor sax, tuba and double

drums. On this third studio album, they bring a genre defying approach which celebrates the restless exploration of identity within the Caribbean diaspora within the U.K. ‘Your Queen is a Reptile’ was recorded in london with a host of guests spanning the breadth of the UK scene including jungle legend Congo Natty and poet Joshua Idehen.

Spread the Jam’s Cypher

Slam The Poet has been running Spread the Jam for a few months now, and has begun to create a returning fray of beautiful performers and friends as part of its fabric. The night provides an open and supportive space for poets, musicians and performers to jump up, be free and to experiment.

In this spirit, he presents us a jam session for vocalists to experiment in freestyling together. The Spread The Jam Cypher will build up momentum over the festival: Slam will host vocalists in intimate workshops across the festival, working to encourage improvisation that is supportive and active listening. Then on Sunday he will open the Kite Bar in a freestyle jam for all to join in. Chat to Slam if you’re interested – poets, singers, rappers, vocalists of all kind are invited!

Where Pathways Meet

Where Pathways Meet are an ensemble that was born our of love for the otherworldly musical explorations of Sun Ra, made up of some treasured musicians and friends including Axel Kaner-Lidstrom and James Mollison. As a collective they’re involved in a host of other amazing projects, from Rhythm Section’s Mallard to Ezra Collective or Cykada.

“dedicated to making music animated by a reverence for his spirit, they went about their work with energy and enthusiasm. Any rawness in the execution seemed unimportant by comparison with the good feeling they imparted.” – Richard Williams, The Blue Moment 


Whether on the decks or the airwaves, Zakia is one of our greatest sonic treasures. Her NTS show Questing is essential monthly listening, sharing gorgeous findings in spiritual jazz, psychedelic soul and all kinds of other celestial grooves. We can’t wait for what she’ll bring to the dance-floor at The Shack.


Zoe Pascal, Noah Stoneman and Laurence Wilkins together formed Zeñel in 2016 after meeting through the young jazz scene in London. The band delivers complexity and excitement true to their jazz improvisation background, cut up with experimental and unexpected electronic sounds. Although their young age emphasises just how much accolade is due to the trio, their extraordinary talent is impressive beyond their years.




Get In Touch

Please note that the deadline for proposing art installations or applying to perform have passed.

To join the team, please check out this page to see what roles are available.

For London based projects please check out Platform, our HQ in Southwark, London where we put on events and projects – maybe your idea can happen there.

For on-site volunteering inquiries, email tomo

For site and production email matt

For food trading inquiries email jasper

For press email marina

For any other enquiries email team


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