Joy as First Light 2022 is hailed as a ‘weekend to remember’

Thousands descended on Lowestoft for First Light Festival 2022

Thousands descended on Lowestoft for First Light Festival 2022 - Credit: Mick Howes

Britain's only non-stop beach festival made a "fantastic" return as tens of thousands of people descended on Lowestoft.

Organisers and council leaders have hailed the success of the free festival, admitting they were "delighted with how everything went" after the continuing coronavirus crisis had forced the event to be cancelled the past two years.

First Light Festival 2022

First Light Festival 2022 - Credit: Mick Howes

Organised by First Light CIC, tens of thousands of people attended the two-day First Light Festival on and around the South Beach – and, despite challenging weather conditions at times, East Suffolk Council has thanked festival-goers for helping make last weekend one of most memorable in the town’s modern history.

Genevieve Christie, festival director in charge of programming, said: "We are still crunching the numbers but it looks like more people attended than in 2019.

Lowestoft First Light Festival returns for 2022

The First Light Festival returned to Lowestoft for 2022. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

"We are delighted with how everything went and the feedback we’ve received has been overwhelmingly positive.

"The storm certainly posed some big challenges and we did have to shut down everything between midnight and 7.30am - but everybody seemed to be very understanding.

"There were too many highlights. Generally, to see so many visitors, both local and from further afield, enjoy the festival.

Lowestoft First Light Festival returns for 2022

The First Light Festival returned to Lowestoft for 2022. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

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"Lots of children were taking part in the Planet Positive and Norwich University of the Arts tents.

"Folk East Sam Kelly and the Lost Boys were fantastic, Luke Wright in the First Word tent was amazing - and not forgetting the opening of East Point Pavilion!"

Craig Rivett, deputy leader of the council and cabinet member for economic development, said: "Huge credit must go to the First Light Festival company for such a fantastic, imaginative programme, which was enjoyed by people of all ages, both local and from far afield.

“East Suffolk Council is hugely proud of the role it plays in enabling it to take place but it wouldn’t be the same without the vast numbers of people who took part and made it another weekend to remember.”

Cllr Craig Rivett (right) of East Suffolk Council with Wayne Hemingway

Cllr Craig Rivett (right) of East Suffolk Council with designer and co-founder of the First Light Festival, Wayne Hemingway. - Credit: East Suffolk Council

Wayne Hemingway, one of the founders of the festival, said: “First Light Festival has once again proved that there is a clear appetite in Lowestoft and the region for cultural events that can bring thousands of people from all walks of life together."

With organisers keen to continue to progress "enriching the First Light experience", they said talks about its return will be discussed "in due course."