Only the Brave

Jared Morgan
15 August 2018

By the organisers’ own admission, it was a brave undertaking. Yet, as they say, nothing ventured nothing gained and since first taking the risk in 2015, Brave! Factory Festival has grown into a fully-immersive and more than 24-hour underground music and arts event that already is regarded as one of Europe’s best

Brave! Factory Festival takes place this month in a fully-functional industrial space, making use of the existing factory infrastructure for staging. Creating buzz beyond the borders of Ukraine, becoming less underground and more mainstream, What’s On goes bold and brave to check it.

Right Time, Right Place

In 2017, the festival first stretched across two-days, which is when it got international media talking, with the UK’s Independent, and online music, pop-culture, and entertainment publications such as Sleek, Mixmag, Resident Advisor, and others all picking up on the vibe. The scene is described as being similar to that which developed in Berlin in the 90s.

Post-revolution, this comes as little surprise: with the memory of political corruption fresh in their minds, the latest generation to come of age is finding their own sense of identity. Europe-facing, Ukraine’s young creatives, artists, and promoters have nurtured an underground clubbing scene that has taken root in the capital and beyond.

Run by the team behind Closer, the capital’s first high-quality techno and house club (and also an arts space, clothing store, rehearsal space, record shop, and café combined), and the same team behind the successful Strichka Festival, Brave! Factory was their first foray away from their home base in an old ribbon (strichka) plant.

According to PR manager Alisa Mullen it was a gamble.

What’s in a Name?

Mullen says the name was almost a no-brainer for organisers. “We knew it was a brave thing to do, and once we had arranged the factory the name just came to us.” It was not easy however. “It took some years to build this festival and it needed a huge budget,” Mullen says. Marketing was an issue as was finding sponsors. “We were afraid people would think it was a rave.”

But build it and they will come as the saying goes and the rest is history. Mullen believes the strength of the festival is down to the fact it is something completely unique.

The event still has a very DIY feel, Mullen says. As she tells it Brave! is less about money or ticket sales, and more about bringing an audience together with the best DJs. Word-of-mouth and developing partnerships have been key success factors and giving those partners a stake in the event has meant it is now anything but underground.


Chris Liebing (DE)
Claro Intelecto (UK)
DJ Bone (US)
Floating Points (UK)
Fred P (US)
Hidden Orchestra (UK)
Ic3Peak (RU)
Kangding Ray (DE)
Mykki Blanco (US)
Pantha Du Prince (DE)
Squarepusher (UK)
Titonton Duvante (US)
Yves Tumor (US)
Voin Oruwu (UA)
Shakolin (UA)
Stanislav Tolkachev (UA)
Konakov (UA)
Andrey Kiritchenko (UA)
Vova Klk (UA)
Roman K (UA)
Mykyta (UA)
Igor Glushko (UA)
Ponura (UA)
Lazy Speaks (UA)
Na Nich (UA)
Monoconda (UA)

Alexandra (UK)
Anna Haleta (UK)
Apollonia (DE)
Binh + Nicolas Lutz (US)
Darkstar (DE)
Jane Fitz + Carl H (UR)
Melina Serser (IS)
Dj Stingray 313 (UK)
Nikolaienko (UA)
Ptakh_Jung (UA)
Chillera (UA)
Philipp Markovich (UA)
Pavel Plastikk (UA)
Pahatam & Ivan Dorn (UA)
SE62 (UA)
Bambu (UA)
Timur Basha & Karine (UA)
Trippsy (UA)
Borys (UA)
Lobanov (UA)
Alex Savage (UA)
Shyvkin (UA)
Noizar (UA)
zolaa. (UA)

What’s Involved

The festival encompasses six spaces spread across 50 000 square metres in the functioning metro carriage plant Kyivmetrobud. For a truly immersive experience alongside the music, art installations and pop-up cafés are also on site, Mullen says.

Don’t expect stages, she adds. Instead the existing parts of the factory are taken over to create the separate spaces, everything from warehouses to a machine hall are transformed into performance spaces and galleries, walls become huge canvases, concrete platforms form concert stages.

They will accommodate different music genres, including experimental music, live multi-instrumental concerts, and video-shows, Mullen says.

The line-up is impressive for anyone with knowledge of techno, with acts such as Alexandra, Apollonia, Binh, DJ Bone, DJ Stingray, DVS1, Fred P, Jane Fitz, and Nicolas Lutz.

Others include Carlo Intelecto, Floating Points, Kangdin Ray, Mykki Ray, Panthu Du Prince, Tolkachev, and Yves Tumor performing live.

Dubbed a “festival of unbound music and art”, come along and find yourself unbound.

Brave! Factory Festival
25 August at 21.00
26 August at 10.00
Kyivmetrobud (Svitlohorska 2/25)
1 815 UAH

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