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All you need to know about Lowestoft First Light festival this weekend





The First Light arts festival, in Lowestoft, returns this weekend for its fourth year, with a packed line-up for visitors to enjoy.

The celebration of the first light of midsummer on the UK’s most easterly beach includes performances from around the world and Suffolk, with the outdoor weekend free, unticketed and suitable for all.

Free events – which include music, dance, film, literature, art, science, talks, sports, workshops, food and drink – will run on Lowestoft’s sandy South Beach, starting from noon on Saturday and running into Sunday.

First Light Festival 2023. Picture: Mykola Romanovsky
First Light Festival 2023. Picture: Mykola Romanovsky

The event kicks off with an opening parade including schools, community groups and magicians, starting at 11am on Saturday, at East Point Pavilion.

The vast majority of the festival is free, with a handful of ticketed experiences available, including wild beach camping and Saturday evening’s sundown events, including ‘moonlit soundscapes’, jazz, DJs and a sea-themed silent disco.

The festival returns to the beach from 3.30am on Sunday for its dawn programme of music, yoga and a Balearic beach breakfast as the midsummer sun rises.

First Light Festival 2023. Picture: Mykola Romanovsky
First Light Festival 2023. Picture: Mykola Romanovsky

Organisers said: “Gather together by the sea and sand dunes to soak up a weekend of brilliant creativity and joyful communal vibes.

“Welcome the midsummer with new talent, new ideas and new experiences.”

Greater Anglia will run an additional late train from Lowestoft to Ipswich at 11.05pm on June 22, to help people get home after the festival.

For onwards connections to Stowmarket and Diss from Ipswich, the 11.30pm London Liverpool Street to Norwich service will be replaced by a bus between Ipswich and Norwich, calling at Stowmarket and Diss.

First Light Festival 2023. Picture: Mykola Romanovsky
First Light Festival 2023. Picture: Mykola Romanovsky

Genevieve Christie, festival organiser, said: “With large numbers of people expected to attend the festival, we would recommend that visitors take advantage of our excellent rail links. Where else can you walk from a station to a festival in less than 20 minutes?”

For the full festival programme, go to www.firstlightlowestoft.com

The festival is organised by First Light Festival Community Interest Company (CIC), a not-for-profit organisation based in Lowestoft.

First Light Festival sunrise. Picture: Adam Barnes
First Light Festival sunrise. Picture: Adam Barnes

Festival timings:

Saturday

Noon-9.30pm: Hit the beach for a free packed first day.
10pm-2am: As night falls, the party moves off the sand and into venues around Lowestoft for ticketed sundown events.

The First Light Festival silent disco. Picture: Submitted
The First Light Festival silent disco. Picture: Submitted

Sunday

3.30am-5.45am: Gather on the beach and join the sunrise celebration for a dawn experience of music and meditation.
10am-4pm: More festivities throughout the day on South Beach.

First Light Festival 2023. Picture: Mykola Romanovsky
First Light Festival 2023. Picture: Mykola Romanovsky

First Light Festival hints and tips:

• Dogs are not allowed on the area of beach First Light Festival takes place on.

• Visitors can still swim in the sea, but lifeguards only cover part of the beach.

• You are welcome to bring your own food and drink, but please clean up afterwards.

• Barbecues and glass iteams are not permitted.

Wild beach camping is available.

• If you are attending the festival with children and young people, visit the Lost Kids Hub in the Cosmic Pirates Zone and pick up a wristband with space for parent or guardian contact details, which children should wear while at the festival.

• Food and drink vendors at this year’s festival will include Aspalls, Churros and Chorizo, Coffee Rush, Jilly’s Jacket Potatoes, Lickety Ice, Tikka Tonic, Sunrise Crepes and more.