Based just outside of London in Sussex, DIY and volunteer run Brainchild Festival has achieved wonders in it’s four years. Returning in each instalment with an exciting mix of talent from a number of creative backgrounds; whether it be music, spoken word, theatre, dance or talks, the festival have continuously created and nurtured an environment mirroring their core ethos of connecting people and encouraging collaboration.
As the festival reaches its 5th birthday, it’s setting up to do it in style, with possibly it’s best line up to date. Having just confirmed the addition of south-London soul singer-songwriter and champion selector Andrew Ashong, he will join a fine list of new and established artists to share their crafts.
Broken beat and London boogie veteran Dego graces the festival with a 2hr DJ set before sharing his knowledge and wisdom on stage in a live interview. More live music will come from the eloquent poet-come-rapper Kojey Radical, 6 piece jazz outfit Ishmael Ensemble, the supremely talented songwriter Alice Phoebe Lou and emerging “spoken soul” group Dylema Collective. This is all as well as the likes of Brother Portrait, Laura Misch, Vels Trio, Touching Bass, Maxwell Owin, anu and Emma-Jean Thackray; all names we’re sure you’ll be hearing a lot more of in the future. Head here for the full line up.
As the festival approaches we spoke briefly to the woman behind the whole operation, Marina Blake, on Brainchild and its achievements:
How would you describe the festival in a sentence?
A space where everybody’s real with each other – everything on the programme, from the music to the theatre, is celebrated as somebody’s brainchild, allowing people to connect over shared ideas and inspirations.
What would you say has been key to Brainchild’s ascendency over the last 5 years?
I think people have been happy to be part of something that happens against the odds, that is an entirely non-commercial antidote to more mainstream offerings in the festival world. Most of all though I reckon it’s down to a shift in the creative approach amongst young people making art or running magazines or clubnights – there’s a lot of openness and supportiveness out there and the festival just brings those people together. The result is overwhelmingly positive.
Is there anything you’re particularly excited for this year?
I’m really happy Dego’s coming down for a set and an interview, reaching out to well established inspirations like him hasn’t been something we could do before this year. I’m excited for the number of ‘special projects’ we’ve got happening, things like pairing up musicians with poets or dancers, and also for re-build of The Shack (our woodland dance music stage). This year was the first of our new annual open-call for a team to re-design and build it, and we’re pretty excited for what this lot are cooking up! I’m also happy we’ve got more jam sessions planned, there’s so much energy on site that it’s good to let this explode more often.
[Music: ‘I Kinda Missed It’ Ben Hauke & Joe Armon-Jones, Animation: Josie Tucker]