‘First Light Festival will celebrate and pay tribute’ to landmark town

Jayne Knight, arts & development manager at Suffolk County Council, Genevieve Christie of Flipside F

Jayne Knight, arts & development manager at Suffolk County Council, Genevieve Christie of Flipside Festival, Wayne Hemingway, and Kerry Blair head of operations & facilities at Waveney District Council in Lowestoft last year to discuss the First Light Festival. Picture: Conor Matchett - Credit: Archant

An 'exciting new festival' is set to showcase a town 'at its very best.'

That was the reaction of councillors and organisers of the 24-hour First Light Festival, which will celebrate Lowestoft's position as the first place that the sun rises in the UK.

With the free multi-arts festival hitting Lowestoft's South Beach across the summer solstice weekend from noon on Saturday, June 22 to noon on June 23, the festival is the brainchild of a team that includes acclaimed designer Wayne Hemingway.

With the full programme to be announced in March, music, dance, film, art, science, talks, walks, sports and workshops will all feature alongside food, drinks and produce.

Mercury prize-winning musician Talvin Singh will open the festival and also perform at sunrise, while BBC 6Music presenter and DJ Gilles Peterson will perform a sundown session and then host an after dark party at the Aquarium at Claremont Pier.

The festival will include a wild beach zone for children, a beach-based dance party, a night market, 24 hours of film, a word and science zone and a beach-based wellbeing zone. There will also be the chance to camp in a designated area of the beach.

First Light director Wayne Hemingway said: 'HemingwayDesign instigate, curate and produce events all around the UK, but First Light is one of the easiest 'sells'.

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'People love and 'get' the concept of a 24-hour multi-arts event on mid summers weekend in Britain's most easterly town. We now just need a small army of positive folk to help us deliver this free festival.'

Genevieve Christie, festival director, added: 'Having developed a raft of community and education projects in the town, I am so excited to now be working with partners to make this exciting new festival.

'Lowestoft is a landmark town and First Light Festival will celebrate and pay tribute to that.'

Michael Ladd, Waveney District Council's cabinet member for economic development and tourism, said: 'We are committed to putting Lowestoft on the map as a fantastic place to visit and experience, and this festival is a brilliant way to show the town at its very best.'

Suffolk County Council cabinet member Paul West said: 'First Light will give everyone an opportunity to celebrate Lowestoft – its unique geography, its cultural assets and warm welcome.

'It will generate huge opportunities for local businesses and entrepreneurs.

'One of our key commitments to Suffolk people is to promote inclusive growth in the area.

'We are proud to have worked closely with East Suffolk Council, Hemingway Designs and FlipSide on this development.'

The Mayor of Lowestoft, Ian Graham, said: 'This is an exciting event that the Town Council is supporting and looks forward to.

'The people of Lowestoft and visitors to Lowestoft will thoroughly enjoy this and it will help build the deserved local tourist economy.'

For further information about the festival, visit www.firstlightlowestoft.com

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