An important message from Brainchild HQ

Hello world! This message is an important one, so if you are someone who cares about Brainchild, who attends or takes part in any of our projects, please do read on.

To anyone who’s asked, we’ve been giving some quite cryptic messages about what’s been going on since last Summer because, in truth, it’s been a really challenging chapter for us.

Last year’s festival was beautiful, and we were overwhelmed by the love that people brought to it. With Arts Council support, we took our first steps towards making this whole project sustainable by beginning to pay our team, which after 6 years of volunteering felt absolutely incredible.

After years of fitting this work around other jobs, finally we were able to collectively give this project the time and attention that it really deserves. But it also put our budget under more pressure than ever before, and with so many new things to think about, there were some steep learning curves as we put our DIY systems to the test.

For 2019, Brainchild had managed to exist in a perfect, but vulnerable state: we were able to keep it small, keep prices cheap, remain free from corporate sponsorship, AND begin to pay our team, whilst creating more opportunities for artists. This was only possible because of significant funding, and sadly in December last year, we learned our application for the 2020 festival had been unsuccessful.

This is the news we’d feared, and we thought it would mean Game Over. It really threw into focus the concerns we’d already had about the festival’s reliance on this relentless and uncertain funding cycle. In a world where you need this much support just to make ends meet, how can you ever really plan for the future, or focus on developing creatively?

It’s become clear that for Brainchild to really stand on its own two feet, we’ll need to change how we’re pricing things. Don’t worry – we’ll still be more affordable than the majority of other UK, three day festivals. But the truth is that so far, due to funding & volunteering, the festival prices have never reflected the reality of what this costs to put on. So this year, our ticket prices will be between £90 – £110.

We’ve thought long and hard about what matters most, and we only want to continue running Brainchild if we can change things in a way that protects the values at the heart of the project. Our dream is that by making changes to our pricing, and developing new fundraising schemes, we’ll be able to continue creating this space for culture, community & conversation that is independent & free from corporate sponsorship, and can continue to grow in size at an organic rate. We want to build something that lasts, and for us not to go into each festival thinking it could be the last.

We’ve been so, so encouraged by the donations that you guys made when you bought tickets last year – and from the conversations that we’ve had anecdotally with a few of you, we have hope that together, we can weather this change and innovate to keep Brainchild accessible to those on lower incomes, which has always been a big priority for us since year 1.

The time for change has come, and we need your help to get it right. For us, it’s VITAL that we have proper conversations with you all about how Brainchild should grow, and about how we can find new ways to ensure this community grows with it.

So, here’s how you can help.

Tell Us Your Thoughts
As we plan for the future, it’s vital that we hear your thoughts & ideas on how we should grow. What’s most important about Brainchild for you? We’ve made this questionnaire that we’d be SO GRATEFUL if you’d fill out as it will inform our plans over the coming months.

Being at Brainchild if you’re on a low income
This year, we’re exploring all the ways we can make sure that people who earn less don’t miss out even as prices increase. When it comes to our tickets, we want to ensure that the cheapest ones get into the hands of those who need them the most. So, if you are on a lower wage (<18K p/a for London, or <16K p/a outside of London), please sign up to this list and we’ll message you about how we can make this happen.

If there’s anything else you would like to tell or ask us, please send us an email to team@brainchildfestival.co.uk – we want to hear from you.

All our love,
Brainchild HQ

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