'This is just what Lowestoft needed' - First Light Festival kicks off under blue skies
PUBLISHED: 16:26 22 June 2019 | UPDATED: 08:57 23 June 2019
Copyright: Archant 2019
A new beach festival has kicked off in Lowestoft.
And what better way to enjoy the inaugural First Light Festival, which celebrates the longest day of the year, than under bright sunshine, blue skies and warm temperatures.
Locals and visitors thronged the town's long esplanade on Saturday afternoon (June 22) on their way to the south beach, where the festival runs for 24 hours non-stop, from 12pm today to 12pm on Sunday.
Teepees erected on the beach have been hosting craft workshops and yoga sessions while in another children sat listening to stories.
One was hosting a craft workshop while in another children sat listening to stories.
In a larger marquee partygoers were led in old-school dances like the Charleston and swing, while jazz played.
Earlier, on the main stage, Talvin Singh, who plays a fusion of Indian classical and electronic music, had opened the festival.
Enjoying the show were Wymondham couple Nick and Kay Southgate, 56 and 54 respectively.
They heard about the festival a few months ago when its organiser, Wayne Hemingway, was interviewed on BBC Radio 6 Music.
"We thought it would be a really nice event," Mr Southgate said.
"We've been waiting for it for a while."
Mrs Southgate said the festival had a really good website.
Her husband said they had come for Talvin Singh's midday show and their plan was to later get a few hours sleep before waking at 4am for the sunrise.
"One of the things that really appealed to us was to see music on the beach," Mrs Southgate said.
"It's nice and democratic," she added.
"Because it's free, everyone is here."
Ojay Jones, 65, Claire Taylor-Haigh, 52, Maxine Johnston, 51 and Donna Oram, 53, are all volunteers at the festival, showing visitors where to find particular shows or amusements.
They all agreed the town needed the festival.
Ms Taylor-Haigh said: "This is just what Lowestoft needed, because nothing here happens that much."
She noted the "community vibe".
"It's quite chilled," she added.
Some visitors had travelled from as far as from Hackney in London, having driven the two and a half hours on Saturday morning.
The festival celebrates the first light of midsummer's weekend in Britain's most easterly town and is a concept which evolved from the ongoing Lowestoft South Beach Vision project - a collaboration between internationally renowned designers Hemingway Design, led by Wayne Hemingway, East Suffolk Council and other local partners and businesses.
Arts charity FlipSide are delivering the festival in partnership with Hemingway Design.
The bulk of the funding for the event has come from a £100,000 award from Arts Council England and £80,000 from East Suffolk with further contributions from the council in subsequent years.