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Fri, 19 May



Fail Better Presents: Bigger is Better - Spiegeltent Takeover!

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Fail Better Presents: Bigger is Better - Spiegeltent Takeover!
Fail Better Presents: Bigger is Better - Spiegeltent Takeover!

Time & Location

19 May 2023, 10:00 – 20 May 2023, 02:00

Brighton, 55 Old Steine, Brighton BN1 1EH, UK

About the Event

Fail Better have curated a multi-venue party to keep you dancing until the early hours, with live music from Brighton's very own fast talking Latin-funk/progressive-zumba-core genre-defiers Town of Cats and Klezmer-Punk Lunatics Buffo's Wake, plus so much more, we will be taking over the hallowed stage of the Spiegeltent for one night only! Joined by an eclectic mix of musicians, circus and cabaret performers, comedians, DJ's, interactive mini-venues, electro-ceilidh callers, poets, posties, solo-singers and sixty-strong choirs - hosting all manner of creative weirdness to get involved in, spread across all 5 venues of the famous Spiegeltent!

The live line-up includes Paranoid Void, Around About Dusk, Jorge's Hot Club, Dr Bluegrass, Nine Dead Mice, and Fukushima Dolphin; and we have DJ's taking you into the early-hours playing everything from global-funk, Balkan-beats, drum n' bass, Latin anthems and 80's bangers - all accompanied by a circus sideshow of aerial performers, fire-spinners, stilt-walkers, contortionists, jugglers and hooper's!

Join your hosts Thunder-Tunnel in the 'After-Hours Cabaret' for an assortment of acoustic oddities, including songs and stories from the Burning Glass and Andy Twyman, ragtime and musical saw duets, poems from Chris Parkinson (Brighton's Famous poet!), possibly some songs about kebabs, swordplay, and seemingly inhuman contortionists!

Or why not try your hand at sea shanties, musical Street Fighter, 8-bit karaoke, or a competitive silent-disco?

Postal-Posse will be on hand in the Tipi Village to deliver your important messages and yearning love-letters across site (provided there's no industrial action), and the vintage cinema bus will be playing host to a plethora of comedians, VJ's and a selection of visual delights.

On top of all this, we are throwing open the Spiegeltent for a host of free daytime activities - including baby and toddler music classes and student recitals led by the Under the Bridge Studios team, Sea-Shanty workshop and session (for all levels) hosted by Homeward Bound Shanties, and performances of Khorovod songs by the London and Brighton & Hove Russian Choirs, accompanied by the world-famous Merlin and Polina Shepherd Duo! All of these free daytime events will be run on a 'pay as you feel basis' - with all proceeds going towards the RNLI, Medecins Sans Frontieres and Sunflower Relief who are providing humanitarian aid to warzones in Ukraine.


Spiegeltent (Evening): From 7pm, the Spiegeltent will throw open its doors and welcome you lovely people into its sweaty bosom!

Ceilidh Boom - Kicking off proceedings is Ceilidh Boom's inimitable electro-folk dance workshop. Grab your partner and swing 'em round!

Paranoid Void (Japan) - Back in the UK after last Summers performance at ArcTanGent Festival (and a very special show at the Prince Albert) we are extremely excited to welcome Paranoid Void and their unique blend of cinematic jazz and cerebral math rock back to the UK for their first show of their 2023 tour.

Around About Dusk - Original songs with influences ranging from musette, New Orleans jazz, old time, and European folk traditions delivered by this Bristol quintet of virtuosic performers.

Buffo's Wake Big Band - Klezmer-punk and macabre silliness from Brighton's veteran musical eccentrics. Musical backgrounds ranging from Drum n’ Bass DJ’s to classically trained string players, punks to funk players and poets to showmen, you’re never quite sure what to expect next - with influences from Abba to Zappa, Buffo’s Wake are guaranteed to leave you dancing like a man possessed!

Town of Cats - Town of Cats are an ever-mutating municipality of musical misfits, grown in Brighton’s grubby and fertile Petri dish. To hear them is to be transported by the transformative power of the best parties. The ones that set fire to your zero-hour contract and remind you that change, real change, can come from the most ordinary of places. ��Their intricate wordplay careens between raised-brow punnage and righteous indignation at the state of the nation. Funk rhythms dare you not to dance, coloured by boiling blasts of brass and a guitar that warps from crystalline chicken-scratch to face-melting prog. Whether the keys belong to some sleazy lounge act or the Mothers of Invention is up for debate...

DJ Maria Turme - Hailing from Madrid, Maria Turme is one of the best known Balkan and World Music DJs in Europe. Starting in 2012, and motivated by her love for International music, Maria´s style ranges from Reggae to Hip-Hop, from Drum & Bass to Cumbia, Ska, through to Ghetto Funk & Electro Swing. Combining these influences creates a high energy, roller-coaster ride of good vibes, that will excite and thrill you from the beginning.

DJ Bassie Gracie - Balkan Beats, electro-funk and unexpected mashups!

DJ Aunt Fish Aunt Fish plays an eclectic mix: disco, funk, 80s boogie, Philly soul, classic house... pretty much whatever she likes to get you on the floor. You should be dancing yeah.

DJ RohBustagroove - Be prepared to feast your ears on some Ragga Jungle mixed in with some DnB to get you skanking into the early hours!


The Greenhaus: The Greenhaus will be hosting an array of your favourite local guitar strummers and Brighton street performers:

Jorge's Hot Club - Brighton's very own Gypsy-jazz syndicate, taking you to a 30's Parisian night club, via the Blues Brothers and 50's calypso's.

Dr Bluegrass - Born with a banjo for hands and violin bows for arms, this bluegrass conglomerate have been entertaining and appalling audiences around the UK for nearly 15 years!

Fukushima Dolphin - Blurring the lines between euphoric 90's dance music, acoustic street busking, psychedelic rock guitar solos and casio keyboards, Fukushima Dolphin are the perfect soundtrack for a Brighton seaside sunset.

Nine Dead Mice - Foot-stomping English and Celtic folk trio, using their violin, guitar and cello to somehow make 13th century songs about ghosts sound relevant to the modern day.


The Bosco Theatre - After Hours Cabaret: From 11pm, the Bosco Theatre will play host to the After Hours Cabaret - a selection of the weirdest and most wonderful acoustic performers that Brighton has to offer!

Thunder Tunnel - Hosting proceedings are Brighton's favourite stand up comic/character performer/songwriter/film maker/inappropriate burper - TT has been described as the Kae Tempest of comedy, and their insatiable need to be the centre of attention means they arrive hungry to grab the mic and make you giggle.

Chris Parkinson - “Chris Parkinson is the best kind of situationist: someone whose poetic, comic oddity leaks unexpectedly into newspaper articles, anomalous photographs, classified ads and other areas of everyday life. He’s also a fine poet.” – FringeGuru

The Burning Glass - Story-Telling, Star Gazing, Ukulele Agit-Pop - powerful storytelling pop music from Edwin Brooks that tell stories (true and tall), making people laugh, dance and sometimes cry in the process.

Twisted Nymph - Twisted Nymph is a badass contortionist and a seasoned veteran of aerial hoop and silks!

Mark Patch and Saw Eyes -

Ragtime and musical saw duo aficionados, playing all your favourite hits from the 40's top 100.

Naomi Wood - Performer, aerialist, writer, artist's model, and purveyor of riotous acts of joyful disobedience...

Xena Flame - Fire, poi and hoop virtuoso Xena will be on hand to light up the night sky.

Aurora Starr - Specialising in aerial, fire and a variety of circus skills, Aurora loves to incorporate danger and decadence - merging her love of circus, Burlesque and variety to create a unique and spectacular stage show. The pyro mistress has mesmerised audiences all over the globe in over 20 countries with her killer moves and daredevil stunts; her unique sultry style and flair for the unusual are not to be missed…

Laura Loops - A classically trained dancer who has discovered a passion for flow arts. She creates magic, with a fusion of technique and mesmerising movement which she incorporates into a variety of performance styles.


Tipi Village - Post Office + Silent Disco:

A bunch of dirty DJ’s, circus freaks, wasted walkabouts, twisted artists and local bin dwellers fired from the Royal Mail!

We are the Postal Posse.

Stamp up and prepare for a service that would make the Royal mail shudder; we're here to incorrectly deliver your messages and confiscate your unauthorised packages. Un-guaranteed next day delivery, our second class service is for all you breakable, fragile and unexplained residents. Ever wanted to open someone else's post? well, here's your chance! You'll certainly know when one of our posties has put something in your box... If you need to be handled with care, or reminded which way is up, we will make you wish you could be returned to sender... but you'll certainly want to lick our stamps..

Our posty crew will be delivering messages incorrectly for the duration of the evening, spreading chaos and inappropriately match matching. Come and write your own lovelorn letters or chaotic communiques, and put them in our mail boxes ready for collection and (possibly) delivery!

Silent Disco Battle of the Bands... DJ's - Clowns Vs Cats - Buffo's Wake and Town of Cats go head to head in a musical battle to capture the hearts and minds of the Spiegel-crowds. A 2-channel silent disco-off, pitting the musical tastes of Brighton's favourite festival acts against each other - Drummer Vs Drummer, Bassist Vs Bassist - two bands enter, one band leaves... Well, maybe two bands.. but one will be a bit embarrassed. Vote with your chocolates, fill up the Piñata of your choice and help to decide... The King of the DJ's!


Vintage Cinema Bus: The beautiful art-deco cinema bus will be your playground for all manner of fun hosted by Brighton comedians Riggs and Alex Mason - settle a score with Street-fighter karaoke, release your inner-Shakespeare, and finally let Harold and Toadie from Neighbours say how they really feel...

Ravine Machine: Summoning landscape and projection rituals with toy harp and rotary candles, RAVINE/MACHINE is an audio-visual fieldtrip like no other. As a duo (sound designer and DIY instrument maker Scott Pitkethly and live cinema artist and geographer Amy Cutler) they play wires, zithers, and holograms. Their audio-visual tools include homemade music boxes, 35mm slide carousels, frosted screens, 16mm reels, floating chiffon, adapted torches, toy harps, shock blankets, the flicker of light shutters, and palettes of micro loops and granular synthesis. Reminiscent of the do-it-yourself style of early projections, their hacked instruments are both lulling and surreal, inspired by reworking forgotten traditions of ‘the live geography show’ for the end of the world.

Tikoda: Tikoda is the brainchild of Bristol-based music producer Theo Passingham. From melodic to industrial, Tikoda creates live analogue techno with their unique audio-visuals that make the mind dance. @its.tikoda


Spiegeltent Daytime Events - May 19th:

Under the Bridge Baby Toddler Class (18 months - 4 years) - 10:00am - 11:00am Under the Bridge Baby Da Capo Class - 11:15am - 12:15pm Under the Bridge Student Performances - 12:30 - 13:30 Under the Bridge Studios have been fostering local musical talent for many many years right in the heart of Brighton. Alongside their tutoring, rehearsal spaces and community events they also run award-winning Baby & Toddler Music Classes, based on the Kodaly method - known as ‘Da Capo’, meaning ‘from the beginning’ - these classes have supported young people developing musically for over thirty years. There will also be a concert showcasing some of the studios incredible piano students! This concert is free entry, but we will be collecting donations, with all proceeds going towards MSF - Médecins Sans Frontières - an international, independent medical humanitarian organisation that provides medical assistance to people affected by conflict, epidemics, disasters, or excluded from healthcare.

Homeward Bound Shanty Session - 14:00 - 15:30 Homeward bound have been running their wild and compelling shanty sessions in pubs all across the city (and further afield) for several years now - if you haven't been in for a sing, you may have heard their raucous refrains rattling the windows of many of Brighton's finest drinking establishments. For total newcomers, Homeward Bound provide an insight into the sea shanties and sailors work songs that were sung on vessels to keep up the spirits and morale of the sailors. YOU DON’T NEED TO BE ABLE TO SING as it is only GUMPTION and a GOOD SENSE O’ HUMOUR that is required. Whether on land or at sea, let’s dress up, have a swig o’ rum (for a bit o’ Dutch courage), sing our hearts out and let Cpt. McKraken send you into the evening with a heart full of song. This session is free entry, but we will be collecting donations, with all proceeds going towards the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) - the charity that saves lives at sea. Powered primarily by kind donations, their search and rescue service has been saving lives for nearly 200 years.

Merlin and Polina Shepherd Klezmer Duo and the London and Brighton & Hove Russian Choirs - 16:00 - 17:00 Khorovod Music from the Steppes and the Shtetl

Follow the Sun from East to West in a circle of traditional music from Eastern Europe. Listen to peasant songs about love, potatoes and Siberian village life. Weep at a Cossack lament for lost youth. Let your heart be lifted by raucous folk songs from the steppes. Add flavours from a Tatar Bazaar, hear the echoes of distant voices shouting "Mazl tov!" at a Jewish wedding in Bessarabia. Join the community singing soulful nigunim - Hassidic songs without words... add a sprinkle of spices from Turkey and the Mediterranean. Finally wash it all down with an Odessa fisherman’s melody.

This heartfelt and joyous programme is presented by the Brighton & Hove and London Russian choirs with an internationally renowned Klezmer duo Merlin Shepherd (clarinets) and Polina Shepherd (voice, piano).

***The Russian choirs are independent community choirs bringing together music lovers of all backgrounds. They promote culture, peace, unity and build bridges through singing.

This concert is free entry, but we will be collecting donations, with all proceeds going towards Sunflower Relief - a grassroots volunteer-led network that aims to connect the immediate needs of Ukrainian locals with immediate local solutions, emergency supplies, services, support, and capture first-hand accounts of the evolving situation on the ground to share with the wider world.


Tickets available from:

Doors for the evening events open at 7pm!


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