Everything you need to know about Lowestoft’s new First Light Festival
- Credit: Archant
Lowestoft is gearing up for 24 hours of fun and entertainment as they a stage a multi-arts festival to celebrate the midsummer solstice. We take a look at the events lined up for the groundbreaking First Light Festival
Lowestoft will be packed with revellers on June 22-23, celebrating the midsummer solstice: dancing, playing music, being entertained by a brand new, 24-hour, multi-arts festival to celebrate the midsummer weekend.
The First Light Festival is to be staged in Britain's most easterly town, the first place in Britain to enjoy the first rays of the summer sun. The festival takes place on the sands of Lowestoft's South Beach. It will open as the clock strikes midday on Saturday June 22 with the beat of a drum and an energetic procession of people and percussion leading the crowd through the site to join Mercury award-winning musician Talvin Singh at the main stage.
This kicks off 24-hours of excitement, exploration, creativity and discovery, with over 100 activities taking place non-stop during the day, through the night and on into the morning beyond. The festival closes at midday on Sunday June 23.
From rolling sand dunes and moonlit sea, to grassy gardens and a traditional British seaside promenade, this is a festival specially created to celebrate a unique position in time and space in a stunning Suffolk setting.
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First Light is described by organisers Wayne Hemingway and Genevieve Christie as an action-packed festival for thinkers, for dreamers and for fun-seekers. It will feature big names in music, film, books and science such as Danny Boyle, Gilles Peterson, Simon Mayo, Talvin Singh, Dr Kevin Fong and the Natural History Museum.
You will get the chance to see world-renowned musicians, dance with the sand between your toes, watch an award-winning film on the big screen, take a moment to yourself in a well-being tipi, peek inside the beach huts to find works by our artists-in-residence or simply wander and see what you discover.
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It is also a festival for shared experiences. Let the kids stay up and watch the sun set together as a family. Spend the hours of darkness with friends on the beach, see the stars, have a midnight feast, do something different, and get ready to welcome the dawning of a new day together.
To plan your visit, see the full line-up, timings and venues go to www.firstlightlowestoft.com
Enjoy the sounds of summer
With live music from Mercury prize award-winner Talvin Singh, the vibrant new First Light Ensemble led by Jonathan Morton - artistic director of the Scottish Ensemble, Balearic House pioneers A Man Called Adam, The Fontanas with their infectious samba soul that will have you up and dancing, renowned folk musicians The John Ward Band, contemporary jazz band the Horn Factory and Italian pianist and composer Federico Albansese.
Dancing in the moonlight
On the hour, every hour, one of 24 dancers ranging in age from 8-80 years will perform a short solo on the beach as part of acclaimed choreographer Rosemary Lee's Circadian. Or dust off your flip flops and get dancing at the Moon Dance Silent Disco (headphone hire required), Body Percussion, Dance Through the Decades, Tea-Time Tea Dance, Baby Loves to Boogie and Dance Like Beyonce.
Go Balearic on the beach
With BBC 6Music legend Gilles Peterson, Flying Mojito Brothers, Faze Action, Jack Hemingway, Ben Osborne and Luna Cohen Solal.
Little ones go wild on the beach
Become a cosmic pirate with Jonny Duddle's pirate stories and Gareth P Jones' Aliens in Lowestoft, listen to stories of Lowestoft Folk and make the beach your playground with Suffolk Wildlife Trust's wild beach activities.
Grab a spot on the beach and put on your headphones for Academy Award winning director Danny Boyle introducing his epic sci-fi film 'Sunshine' (ticketed event) at the Screen on the Sand. Enjoy three inspiring and thought-provoking short film programmes from Suffolk Shorts, curated especially for the First Light audience, plus Arena Night & Day's 24-hour film.
Soothe body and soul with 24 hours of yoga, meditation, hand and head massage, reflexology,
Kinesiology, health checks, plus singing and writing activities.
Night market/Maker's market
The East of England's creative community showcase their artisan skills in jewellery, print, ceramics and a wide variety of crafts and different art work.
Sunrise on the beach
As the dawn draws closer immerse yourself in Federico Albanese's latest work, By the Deep Sea, Talvin Singh's magical reworking of 'Light' and then re-tune your senses for a beach installation of Mike Challis's Dawn Chorus recording from Carlton Marshes and a special performance of Vaughan William's Lark Ascending by the First Light Ensemble.
Aurora science dome
Explore Lowestoft's ancient coastline and deep ocean with the Natural History Museum and Cefas's science stations and spotlight talks, solar and moon-gazing with the Norwich Astronomical Society and learn about and make rockets with Rocket Man…
Artists and workshops
Check out the Art in the Huts installations and The Library of Limited Resources on the beach, watch as sculptor Tobias Ford installs Pakefield Man before symbolically setting it alight, have a go at a beach Cyanotype and be part of a festival communal weaving collaboration.
Interstellar Ideas on the Bowling Green
Explore the moon and cosmos with Dr Kevin Fong and Professor Carolin Crawford, seaside couture with Amber Butchart, ideas of Doggerland with Julia Blackburn, crime fiction with a local connection with Harry Brett plus late night open mic and improvisation. Well-loved radio presenter Simon Mayo will join the festival on Sunday morning to talk about the importance of place in his writing.
Sport by the shore
Arrive early on Saturday and be part of Lowestoft Park Run movement, then have a go at volleyball, ultimate frisbee and surf life-saving before joining in Sunday's Speed of Light 5K (requires registration).
Watch Sylvia, one of the short films brought to First Light by Suffolk Shorts, a story about love, loss and a car, based on a heartbreaking true story from the American Midwest that has just won Best Emerging Short Film at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival.
Burst is a collection of monologues from the men and women who've frequented Lowestoft seafront throughout the last 150 years. Written by local actor and writer Charlotte McGuinness and produced by HighTide Theatre company, the stories paint a vivid portrait of local characters.
Author, illustrator (of the Harry Potter book covers) and former real life pirate Jonny Duddle will take the audience into his pirate world and tell all about sailing the seas of Britain - climbing the rigging, walking the gangplank, finding buried treasure as well as live drawing and brilliant storytelling.
Join Richard Haugh, the longest-serving presenter of BBC Radio Suffolk's Introducing programme - one of many distinguished DJs taking part in the Silent Disco on the Moon Dance Stage, including a special soul set by the festival's co-founder and acclaimed designer Wayne Hemingway. Dance until the small wee hours to the best in Northern Soul, Afro House, Electro, Swing, Jazz Fun, Latin and Disco….
See in a new dawn with Mike Challis's Dawn Chorus recording from Carlton Marshes whilst enjoying a breakfast of breakfast of rolls warmed in the beach oven and local fish.
First Light is an almost entirely free festival, but a few events are ticketed (Gilles Peterson club set and headphone hire for the screening of Danny's Boyle's film Sunshine and for the Silent Disco).
To book headphone hire/tickets go to https://firstlightlowestoft.com/whats-on/club-dj-set-with-gilles-peterson/ and https://firstlightlowestoft.com/whats-on/sunshine-introduced-by-danny-boyle/ and https://firstlightlowestoft.com/whats-on/the-moon-dance-silent-disco/
To register for the Speed of Light run go to https://firstlightlowestoft.com/whats-on/speed-of-light-5k/
Travel and Parking:
The festival is a short walk from Lowestoft train station.
Greater Anglia has advised that there are no engineering works taking place over the festival weekend on the lines from London, Chelmsford, Colchester, Manningtree, Ipswich, Cambridge and Norwich. There are regular services from London Liverpool Street to Lowestoft on Saturday, with a change at either Norwich or Ipswich. Festival goers are advised to plan their journeys in advance by checking train and journey times at www.greateranglia.co.uk.
Parking in the area is very limited so if you are able to, please take the train, catch a bus or walk to the festival.
Festival Car Parks are:
Kirkley and Pakefield Football Club, NR33 7LE: £8 for the day (midday to midnight/ midnight to midday) £12 per car for the weekend
Pakefield Church, NR330JZ: Saturday ONLY 10.00 - 23:30. £10 per car for the day
In addition, the following pay and display car parks are in the vicinity of the South Beach:
Claremont Pier, NR33 0BS
Pakefield Street, NR33 0JS
Royal Green, NR33 0QL
Clifton Road, NR33 0HF
Kirkley Rise, NR33 0HB
Usual opening hours and charges apply
All parking is on a first come, first served basis.