Event Review: Brainchild Festival 2019 (Lewes; Friday 12th to Sunday 14th July 2019)

Art, talks, music and performance combined in another wonderful addition of Brainchild Festival. As up-and-coming performers graced the early slots and smaller stages, those who paid their dues took it upon themselves to deliver the politically-motivated, exhilarating headline shows.

A festival made for relaxing, there is plenty of time for exploring the intimate site and enjoying the fun and laid-back atmosphere. Being based around one main field, the journey from stage to stage is minimal, and leaves you free to see as much of what’s going on as possible. You can go from calls of decolonisation at a Steam Down headline show to a retro UKG silent disco in the time it takes you to pass a checkpoint at a bigger festival.

Of course, this comes at a price, and at points, noise pollution from other stages seeped into quieter sets. This came at a particularly awkward time when Alex Rita and Clara Sinephro were performing their Calm Roots session, a space for meditation and relaxation to prepare you for the day, accompanied by the unwanted sound of the rest of the festival waking up, vibrating into the Kite Bar.

Pushing the boundaries of what a festival can offer, one of the highlights of this year was the Lemon Lounge, where discussions, workshops, crits and music created an open and inspiring space. The open jams in the evening were warm and welcoming, building on the community spirit embedded in Brainchild. A personal highlight was being part of the throng of festival-goers, huddled on the ground, hard at work crafting a Neolithic clay pot – mine now sits proudly on my windowsill.

Brainchild consistently offers the opportunity for acts to grow, moving from stage to stage, and you can see that in the confidence of the performances of the artists. It proves the relationship between artist and festival is strong, and also gives you the urge to move away from the main stage and see what talents might be coming up through the ranks. I saw a powerful performance from Sharky and, as expected, Parasang left the packed tent breathless and overwhelmed by an hour and a half of improvised techno jam. Both ones to watch.

A wonderful way to spend a weekend, and a great chance to see and discover art, dance and music in all its forms. There are many performances and musicians I haven’t had a chance to shout out, but next year find out for yourself and get down to the Bentley Wildfowl and Motor Museum. They even keep the model railway running through the festival; an addition of endless joy.