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Brave Exhibitions Festival (BEF) started in 2018 as a small-scale, self-funded festival located at Cluny venues. Line-ups have featured 30 acts, up to 110 regional and national artists and represent genres typically marginalised from the mainstream. With over a thousand attendees from across the U.K and Europe, BEF has developed a core festival fan base whilst maintaining the aim to diversify NE audiences for alternative music.

Through embedding inclusivity into the core of the event, a collaborative effort has pushed Brave Exhibitions to the forefront of Newcastle’s grass-root scene. The 2021 lineup has announced a diverse showcase of 200+ acts, with varied backgrounds and from all walks of life. Promoting representation in the music industry, BEF will be a space where artists, promoters and venues can come together in a bid to engage new audiences and reignite the existing. 2021 is seeing a strong lineup take to the Cluny stage this November. Ones to watch include Curl, Deep Tan, GNOD and East London’s avant-punk queen, Nuha Ruby Ra – plus many more fresh beacons in the alternative community.

The Brave Exhibitions 2021’s aims for diversity and inclusion:

  • After Covid-19, 81% of 140 people surveyed said live music was the ‘most missed’ activity, 60% wanted to be ‘challenged’ by new music when it returned. We believe this can be achieved through diversifying genres’ and opening up opportunity, audience and accessibility.
  • Line-up will aim to include 200+ artists including BIPOC, LGBTQIA+ and disabled artists; specifically looking at the needs and support requirements of different artists. Furthermore, we have achieved a representative line up that recognises non-binary and other gender identifies – with over 50% identifying as female or non-binary.

“If you’ve looked at the line-ups for things like Raw Power, Supersonic or Supernormal and wondered why something like that didn’t happen on Tyneside, quit wondering and buy a ticket to Brave Exhibitions.” NARC. magazine

Welcome back to live music!

The pandemic has been harrowing for the live music sector. A recent survey claimed 81% of 140 people questioned said live music was the ‘most missed’ activity during lockdown. However, 60% wanted to be ‘challenged’ by new music when it returned. Some could argue that now is that time.

A celebration of grassroots and the culture that fuelled it, Brave Exhibitions 2021 will develop through strengthened relationships with partners, artists, promoters and audiences. Time away from live music has allowed increased confidence in the production of a high-quality inclusive festival that challenges expectation – but adamant to maintain the inclusive ‘DIY’ ethos that audiences for alternative music are attracted to.

What’s news with BEF?

Already representative and diverse orientated, this year shows BEF making an effort to take further steps to a safe space for all attending the festivities. This year, the event plans have been shaped in response to recent industry issues that highlight some harrowing facts. Working with Tits Upon Tyne and like-minded organisations, no stone is left unturned when addressing harassment at gigs and igniting a conversation on the often dismissed topic. Tits Upon Tyne has taken the reins on this part of the festival, hoping to trial their low cost safe space measures that could have a lasting impact on the music community.

Unfortunately, line-ups remain male dominated and the live music sector is vulnerable; risk-averse behaviours of artists and audiences have grown. Festival partners are coming together in strength to make sure a proactive approach is adopted within the PR and event strategy. There has been no compromise with this years’ standards, ethics or inclusivity – no sign of letting them slide either. In the run up to the festival, fringe events will be taking place across the Ouseburn Valley, supporting working practitioners within the Arts sector. These events are co-hosted by Generator NE, Tits Upon Tyne and NARC. They include:

A day long extravaganza at the The Old Coal Yard and Cobalt Studios, featuring some of the most empowering guest speakers for women and non-binary guests. We have partnered with sister organisation Forward NE to bring you a networking event with likeminded individuals, located at the heart of Ouseburn Valley in Newcastle. Between us and Generator NE, we are hosting some trailblazers in independent creative arts who are united in their experiences as #WIM and #makingspacessafer – focussing on an inclusive environment to enjoy live music. Panels for Q and A’s will be hosted by Two Broke Slags, where we will be free to talk all things boobs and bops with activists who encourage self empowerment and collaborative feminism. We are eclectic to welcome PHIBI, who will be joining us for a stripped back acoustic set to see you into our after party. We will not be charging entry but will be asking for a donation of what you can afford to raise money for Breast Cancer Now. A huge thank you to MEGMCART for the poster – we will be announcing speakers and much more very soon! Until then, secure your tickets and get more info via socials and hopefully see you there.

Sister Shack and Generator, in association with Forum Books, present an exclusive discussion with author and musician Stephanie Phillips (Big Joanie) about her highly acclaimed 2021 book ‘Why Solange Matters’, followed by DJ sets from DJ Awkward Black Girl and BEF residents.

Free tickets are extremely limited – CLICK HERE

AJA is returning to lead an intimate workshop exploring how to make field recordings, while also sharing some insight into their own creative practice

Participants will be shown how to create a wide range of tones and textures, using simple built in Ableton Plugins, learning how to build tracks and soundscapes, while experimenting and discovering new sounds as a group through live demonstration, in a safe and empowering environment.

The workshop will include:

  • Listening Meditation
  • Ableton Demonstration
  • Live Soundscape/track created
  • Unique Sample Packs created for participants to take away for free!

Read more about AJA Ireland HERE 


NARC. is Brave Exhibitions’ recognised media partner for coverage before, during and after the festival. We are ecstatic to welcome their young people’s outreach programme; NARC Academy, as a way to integrate working practitioners into a learning environment, to help build networking skills and build strong community ties.

After well over a year of being deprived, we’d all hoped for the euphoric experience of being at a festival this Summer. But alas, “freedom day” kept getting postponed and one by one so did the festivals. The good news is that this winter the insatiable yearning for a plethora of live acts all within a certain geographical location will finally be satisfied as The Cluny & Cluny 2 in Newcastle hosts the 2021 edition of the rather brilliant, and sorely missed, Brave Exhibitions Festival.

Event Preview: WOMEN IN MUSIC: Who gives a f***?!

With the ongoing saga of misconduct allegations and questions of female safety in the wake of the spiking “epidemic”, it seems people are moving around the North East music scene with trepidation. We want to feel safe, but we also want to feel heard. WOMEN IN MUSIC: Who gives a f***?! is an inclusive networking event that seeks to support women, trans and non-binary people demanding equality in the North East community. It is a free event, however donations to Breast Cancer Now are being encouraged.

Our Partners