Welcome to Brainchild. We are a small, volunteer-led festival centred around creativity and promoting new ideas. For three days in July, we stitch together the exceptional talents and ideas of the people around us into a program of live music, spoken word, DJ sets, talks, workshops, film, theatre and installation art. Artists, crew and festival-goers camp together, all with the chance to collaborate, jam and learn something new.

We’ve realised that for an amazing weekend, you don’t need big names on a lineup. The atmosphere, the people you meet and the sense of discovery can be far more important, and because Brainchild’s been built up by friends of friends of friends, the atmosphere is warm, open and relaxed. It’s the perfect place to let your guard down, try things out and to discover amazing new artists.

Together we build an intimate space including five stages, installations, camping area and bar, all beautifully decorated by resident artists. Beyond that and our lineup, it’s all up to you. Come and be part of it - volunteer, bring paints, bring instruments, bring friends. We aim for you to come away feeling that blissful mix between inspired and utterly exhausted. See you in the fields for our best festival yet.

Brainchild is run by a team of passionate volunteers. From the beginning, artists and organisers have been incredibly generous with their time and efforts. Whether it’s driving vans, making zines, assembling fencing, lending kit, spending endless hours on photoshop, flyering or spreading the love - it’s an almighty team effort.

The festival was started up by Marina Blake, Isabel Adomakoh-Young, Joey Valiunas, Jerome Toole, Sarah Wilson, Bridget Minamore, Lily Bonesso, Georgia Spencer-Davison and Louise Colgan. The full-time team has now grown to incorporate the lovely Luke Newman, Jade Jackman, Rosie Skan, Zoe Hunter-Gordon, Ben Skerritt, Tomo Armstead and Matthew Corless.

Huge credit must also go out to a whole host of individuals who’ve contributed in a big, unquantifiable way over time: Ellen Spence, Sanjay Poyzer, Ed Ive, Erica McKoy, Phoebe Douglas, Rachel Hannah, Jon Ferguson, Hannah Gill, Chelia Batkin, Rachel Tookey, Robbie Wojciechowski, Tom Benn, Joel Chima (Crack In The Road), Andrew Hulme (Werdna), Josie Tucker and Joe Melhuish for their support in marketing, programming, film production, artwork and so much more.

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 December 2011, when, amidst endless arts cuts, we wanted to show each other that realising our creative ambitions was still possible.

Within six months we managed it, pulling together a program of talks, workshops, music and poetry on an incredibly shoe-string budget. What made it so special was not only the intimacy but the openness of the festival process, both online and over the weekend itself. Most of us were still teenagers at the shallow end of a learning curve, but the support we received from our artists and audience turned the event into something far bigger than ourselves.

For our second festival, we made a temporary world in a sunny field where for 700 people, enthusiasm, creativity and conversation seemed to reverberate everywhere. We worked closely with Steez, the (then) open mic-night in Honor Oak which led to a new space in the bar for improvised and spontaneous collaboration. It was an unforgettable, incredibly sun-burnt weekend, and we could all sense that a tangible community was taking shape around this project.

We soon realised that to do the best work we could, some clearer aims were in order. Together we decided that our work would aim to:

  • Develop creativity through participation and collaboration.
  • Engage with progressive ideas from any discipline.
  • Share visions for a more sustainable and compassionate society.
  • Explore the creative process, not just the finished product.
  • Build a useful network for artists and individuals to work together beyond the festival.

Brainchild continues to thrive because of the love and investment of all who attend. It's been exciting to see the legacy of many collaborations and projects that have taken root there.

Having had to miss a year to finish university, Brainchild #3 is set to manifest from 10-12 July 2015 at our new home, Bentley, in Lewes.


Adam Blake

Alex Kealy


Bade Records Showcase


Ben Hayes

Ben Hauke

Capua Collective




Deep Sounds

Elder Island




Heather Wall

Hector Plimmer



Jonny O'Donnell

La Petite Mort

Loyle Carner


Matthew Halsall Quartet

Max Pope



Moses Boyd Exodus

Myriad Forest




Nomad Soul

Oscar Laurence



Poppy Ajudha

Port Isla

Rags Rudi

Shivum Sharma

Sista Sista

South East Dub Collective

Stuart McCallum & Rioghnach Connolly


Tank and the Bangas

Tom Misch


The Busy Twist

The Comet Is Coming

Theon Cross


Twinkat Soul

Wooden Arms


Maria Ferguson: 'Fat Girls Don't Dance'

Harry Baker

Hector Aponysus

Jemima Foxtrot

Rosie Knight

Paul Cree

Tommy Sissons

Cecilia Knapp's 'Finding Home'

Body Forest

Troupe: 'The Dead Moon'

New Funk Poets

Jack Rooke: 'Good Grief'

Henry St Leger: 'Pyramus + Thisbe'

Tight Theatre: 'Pussy'

Theatre With Legs: 'Maybe I should Freeze My Eggs'

Bigspoon Theatre: 'Jane Doe'

Pumpkin Players

David Bard

Mirth & Misery: 'Death Puppet Klezma Jam'


The Inkling

Connection for Action: Social Justice Network

Bristol Skipchen: The Real Junk Food Project

The A & The E: CHÆNGE

Pilgrimage to Brainchild

Mark Farid: The Identifiable Anonymous

Rethinking Economics

Fruit and Flowers

Filming the Unfilmable

Skin Deep: Sound System Unplugged

Be Yours Truly: Visualising The Dream

TRAID re:made

Life Drawing with Bella

Singing with Lilli Unwin

Falling With Style

Stop-Motion Animation Workshop

Yoga Sessions

Emily Motto's Cocoons

Joe Melhuish's Paintings

Eye Want Change

Alex Burey

Catching Flies


Roya Shadmund

James Massiah


Wisdom Teeth Records


Pilo Adami

Jacob Allen


Here's a bit more about what you'll find at the festival. As well as countless installations and small spaces to enjoy, here are our main stages and performance areas.

The Shack

Made from a scaffolding tower with four inward-facing speakers to create a perfect sonic experience, The Shack will host DJ sets spanning everything from tropical to DnB, afrobeat, garage and funk. The whole structure will be covered in murals by brilliant young illustrators.


Our big outdoor stage filling the field with beautiful sounds of live sets, collaborations and jams. From 8 piece bands to solo artists, The Braindome will take you on a journey of musical inspiration.

Steez Cafe

A space run in collaboration with SE London based creative community, Steez. The Cafe will be back again this year with intimate sets from some very talented musicians as well as open jams for musicians and poets and DJ sets into the night.

Cinema Yurt

A new space for this year. We wanted somewhere dedicated to film. We will show short films, animation, documentaries and beautiful visuals playing throughout the weekend. Look out for some live scores and film workshops too.

The Forum

The central hub of the ideas, discussions, spoken word and theatre at Brainchild. From life drawing and yoga, panel debates and poetry to drag kings and puppet shows, The Forum is always buzzing with something wonderful.

The Woodland

This is our first year with woodland and for a few spcial shows and sets, we'll be leading you deep into the tall trees and luscious spaces of the woods.




Get Involved

We're always on the lookout for new people to join the team on production, marketing, coverage and programming.


Keep in touch!

Join the mailing list and we'll send you the occasional update on events and opportunities.

Video by Alex Thomson

Illustrations by Werdna

Development by Jerome Toole

© 2014 Brainchild Festival