Coming out of last year’s festival, it felt like Brainchild had become so much of what we’d dreamed it could be. In the biggest way to date, it seemed the project we’d been building for years was finally standing on its own feet.
From here, we were met with new freedoms and concerns. How could we ensure it maintained its vitality? How can we make it better? We asked ourselves to assume nothing about the structure for this year. Instead, we considered what’s important about the project – what should remain, what should grow, and what should change?
Out of this has developed a new space that we’re deeply excited about, called the Kite Bar. It’s a space that’ll be filled with sets from musicians and writers as well as sessions hosted by groups and collectives who are building powerful creative communities. It’s about getting projects off the ground, keeping them flying, and celebrating when they soar.
The Kite Bar is an evolution of the Steez Cafe, and is building on its foundations: high energy, experimental, improvised sets in a place that’s a hub for a huge community of musicians. Slam, Ozzy, Will and Sarah have done an amazing job leading the Steez Cafe at Brainchild, but are focusing on other things this year, which are already coming to bear brilliant fruits. Steez’s events have been at the centre of the scene in south east London, supporting artists by providing them with a space to play and a community to be part of. Whilst there won’t be a Steez Cafe this year, we’re working with Slam and Will and other musicians, poets and collectives who’ve been involved over the years to ensure the Kite Bar is a worthy and true new chapter.
The space will have an electric mixture of four things: experimental sets from artists we know and love; live sets from emerging artists; DJ sets from community-based collectives and finally, very special sessions from some of our favourite creators. We’ve been working with much-loved artists and nights to get these sessions off the ground – a number of which will be debuting at the festival. These include a headline jam session on the Saturday night, a specially curated session of new poetry and live music, a cypher, and a live interview with a very special guest about their political and musical influences. All will be revealed soon!
So why call it the Kite Bar? Brainchild is about people supporting each other to get ideas off the ground, and kites are also symbolic of many things we want this space to represent: resistance, hope, balance and inner focus. All the things needed for creative projects to succeed.
For centuries, kites have been used in different ways in cultures all over the world. Kites are central to play and defiance for children in conflict and are also a form of celebration in festivals from Vietnam to Greece to Chile to India. They are of course also a beautiful bird of prey, and since our festival sits next to 25 acres of Bentley’s wildfowl sanctuary, we love that the bar will also be a nod to these wonderful creatures.
This is a film about Palestinian children in Gaza in their journey to breaking the Guinness World Record for the number of kites flying at once, made by Nitin Sawhney.