First Light Festival set for 2021 return as council pledges £140,000
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2019
A commitment of £140,000 has been made for the return of the First Light Festival to Lowestoft next year, after coronavirus forced this year’s event to be cancelled.
East Suffolk Council’s cabinet on Tuesday night agreed to pump the six-figure sum from retained business rates into delivering next year’s festival, following the success of the inaugural 2019 event.
The festival, held on the beach last summer, attracted more than 30,000 people and brought around £900,000 into the town’s economy, according to organisers.
MORE: First Light brings £900,000 to Lowestoft economyCouncillor Craig Rivett, Conservative cabinet member for the economy and deputy leader, said it was “a great example of where we have put Lowestoft on the map”.
The 24-hour event was meant to be held on the summer solstice weekend, but the Covid-19 pandemic and associated social distancing meant it was not possible to hold again this year.
However, organisers instead put on a series of 15 live events streamed through social media channels, watched by nearly 17,000 people, to help keep momentum going.
Conservative council leader Steve Gallant said: “There was really really good stuff that came out this year – clearly nowhere near as good as it would have been had we been on the beach.
You may also want to watch:
“It was a great disappointment to us all that it couldn’t continue in the way we wanted it to, but it absolutely makes sense to me to put this [money] forward to next year and come bouncing back even better and stronger than it was before.”
The council is hoping that next year’s event will be even bigger, attracting between 40,000 and 50,000 visitors for the live entertainment, activities, stalls and food and drink.
- 1 Coleman on Cook: 'If that's indication of his fortune as Ipswich manager, they can book a place in the Championship'
- 2 Popular Woodbridge restaurant set to close
- 3 'Please don't believe everything you read in the media' - Ipswich Town owner Evans addresses takeover reports
- 4 Marcus Evans on Paul Cook: 'He has shown a great desire to become our next manager'
- 5 Ipswich case rate rises, other Suffolk districts among lowest in England
- 6 'The time is not right to fiddle when Rome burns' - Evans outlines Lambert 'disagreements'
- 7 Man taken to hospital with serious leg injuries following collision
- 8 Anger over loss of habitats after pond drained and trees felled
- 9 'Hard work starts now' as East Anglian Freeport gets green light
- 10 'I have no doubt Ipswich will be successful' - Richardson doesn't rule out joining Cook at Town
It also aims to help boost the profile of the town as an attractive tourist destination, as well as encourage economic growth and aid local businesses.
The council’s report said it helped identify Lowestoft uniquely as the first place to see the sunrise in the UK.
Peter Byatt, Labour group leader at the council was among the volunteers for the 2019 event, and said: “It’s a tremendous event and a tremendous thing to advertise Lowestoft as a [visitor] destination, and really proud to be hosting it.”