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Plans for 24-hour beach festival get a funding boost

Plans for the First Light Festival on Lowestoft beach have received a funding boost. Picture: Waveney District Council.

Plans for the First Light Festival on Lowestoft beach have received a funding boost. Picture: Waveney District Council.

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Plans for a new beach festival in Lowestoft which hopes to attract up to 20,000 people to the town while celebrating local and international culture have been given a boost.

Designer Wayne Hemingway, part of the group behind the First Light Festival in Lowestoft. Picture: Nick Butcher.Designer Wayne Hemingway, part of the group behind the First Light Festival in Lowestoft. Picture: Nick Butcher.

Representatives from Waveney District Council, HemingwayDesign and arts charity FlipSide - which are working in partnership on the First Light Festival - met with Arts Council England to discuss the plans, including a wider year-long cultural programme.

And the Arts Council has now agreed to offer an initial sum of £15,000 to begin the development of the festival.

The First Light Festival is a concept which evolved from the ongoing Lowestoft South Beach Vision project; a collaboration between internationally renowned designers HemingwayDesign, led by Wayne Hemingway, Waveney District Council and other local partners and businesses.

The development funding, which will also include £10,000 from Waveney District and Suffolk County Council, allows further work to be undertaken which will consider ideas for the festival and the co-ordination of efforts to secure full funding for the project.

Plans for the First Light Festival on Lowestoft beach have received a funding boost. Pictured from left is Michael Ladd, cabinet member for tourism and economic development, Genevieve Christie, director of FlipSide, Samantha Jones, economic regeneration manager and Kerry Blair, head of operational partnerships at the council. Picture: Waveney District Council.Plans for the First Light Festival on Lowestoft beach have received a funding boost. Pictured from left is Michael Ladd, cabinet member for tourism and economic development, Genevieve Christie, director of FlipSide, Samantha Jones, economic regeneration manager and Kerry Blair, head of operational partnerships at the council. Picture: Waveney District Council.

Michael Ladd, Waveney’s cabinet member for economic development, said: “We are very pleased that the Arts Council have backed our plans with this initial funding. It shows that they like the idea. We know that there is a gap in the town’s cultural offering which an event of this nature could fill and this is a promising step in the right direction.”

As announced in December, the festival will be a 24-hour overnight event staged on the beach that, as the sun rises, celebrates the UK’s ‘first light’ of day at Britain’s most easterly town.

Mr Hemingway said: “It has become abundantly clear that Lowestoft South Beach has the places and spaces - and the town and hinterland has a creative community - that can deliver an event that is totally unique, internationally significant and has elements that will appeal to all the community.”

Genevieve Christie, director of arts charity FlipSide, added: “Recognition by the Arts council that we have a viable idea is extremely important and although there is a long way to go secure the full funding to deliver the event, this is genuine progress on the road to creating something historic and exciting for Lowestoft and the region.”

For more information about the South Beach Vision and festival, visit www.lowestoftsouthbeach.co.uk

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