If your friend/partner/mother suggests an entire weekend spent at the Bentley Wildfowl and Motor Museum this July, resist, if you can, laughing heartily in their face. It might make you look a fool when they eventually explain to you that no, they haven’t been understandably grasped by an urge to learn which sick-minded aristocrat founded a museum of cars and pheasants, but are inviting you to 2019’s edition of Brainchild Festival. A friendly nest of youthful creativity, Brainchild celebrates, “bold ideas and DIY spirit at a peer-to-peer level”, according to its website. Twice it has won the AIM award for Best Independent Festival (2015 & 2016) and with tickets still at just £90 for three days it is an affordable tonic to the overpriced monoliths that will dominate the summer’s Culture columns.
Since 2012, Brainchild has graced the East Sussex countryside six times with its unpretentious and intimate concoction of music, theatre, spoken word and “lead discussion.” It has previously had a knack for picking up artists on the cusp of stratospheric rise, featuring in recent years the likes of Loyle Carner and The Comet is Coming. 2019’s instalment offers the biting and hauntingly delicate jazz Hip/Hop of Dublin-born Kojaque in top billing, alongside New York’s exciting new voice of soul Duendita, amongst other. Elsewhere in the music line-up, Pinty makes another appearance following the release of his debut album City Limits on Rhythm Section, while Melbourne Hip Hop collective 30/70’s Allysha Joy brings her woozy and soulful solo project. Ben Hauke’s set, off the back of his excellent Getting Twisted EP, certainly promises to get punters dancing and the Wildfowl stirring, if the massive motor engines haven’t already been doing that all year.
The theatre and spoken-word lineups boast Fran Bushe, whose one-woman show (a hilariously toe-curling search for satisfying sex) was amongst the Guardian’s best at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe; the British-Ghanaian writer, poet, critic, essayist and journalist Bridget Minamore, and internationally-acclaimed spoken-word artist Bella Cox. The festival also includes “lead discussions” which this year features Approaches to Activism, tackling the commendably meaty subject of how best “for us all to make lasting change.” If after all of that you’ve had too much art and topical debate, then just spend the rest of your day zooming (very slowly) around the site on a miniature train.
Get your tickets here.
Header Image Credit: Jerome Toole