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.

“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 further ensure 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 campaigns that could have a lasting impact on the music community – Brave Exhibitions offering to be their event guinea pig!

Unfortunately, line-ups remain male dominated and the live music sector is vulnerable; risk-averse behaviours of artists and audiences have grown. Looking on our own doorstep, Newcastle’s Unity Arena 2020 events had a 100% male line-up, and only one artist of colour. 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.

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