'A real buzz': First look at food hall vision for iconic seafront pavilion

Directors and some of the First Light Festival CIC team East Point Pavilion Lowestoft

Directors and some of the First Light Festival CIC team inside the East Point Pavilion in Lowestoft as work continues. - Credit: Mick Howes

A new food hall featuring four vendors, a bar, DJs, live music and a small stage area will transform an iconic seafront pavilion.

The East Point Pavilion in Lowestoft, as work continues.

The East Point Pavilion in Lowestoft, as work continues. - Credit: Mick Howes

Work is under way at the restyled East Point Pavilion with a scheme of works set to create a "unique destination" for Lowestoft seafront.

An artists impression of the restyled East Point Pavilion in Lowestoft.

An artists impression of the restyled East Point Pavilion in Lowestoft. - Credit: East Suffolk Council

With £720,000 from the government’s Towns Fund being used for its restoration, work to repurpose the building into an "exciting" community and events space started last month.

Promoting the East Point Pavilion in Lowestoft, as work continues.

Promoting the East Point Pavilion in Lowestoft, as work continues. - Credit: Mick Howes

Lowestoft contractors PJ Spillings started work on Monday, January 17 as part of "a process of minor demolition" ahead of "the fit-out of the building".

An artists impression of the restyled East Point Pavilion in Lowestoft.

An artists impression of the restyled East Point Pavilion in Lowestoft. - Credit: East Suffolk Council

And for the organisers of Lowestoft’s First Light Festival - who were unveiled as the new operators for the pavilion in November last year - "a massive change" has already been seen.

Genevieve Christie, First Light Festival C.I.C director, said: "Its going to be such an amazing space in a beautiful setting."

Work is under way inside the East Point Pavilion in Lowestoft.

Work is under way inside the East Point Pavilion in Lowestoft. - Credit: Mick Howes

With the East Point Pavilion set to be the perfect spot to enjoy the sea view, while enjoying delicious food and drink, the building is being redesigned internally to create a food hall featuring a mix of traders.

First Light CIC will also use the "newly renovated" pavilion as an office base, with an "Easter opening" earmarked.

Directors of the First Light Festival CIC team with staff East Point Pavilion in Lowestoft

Directors of the First Light Festival CIC team with staff at the East Point Pavilion in Lowestoft as work continues. - Credit: Mick Howes

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Mrs Christie said: "Its going to be a food hall, somewhere you can go and eat, with the chance to also sit outside.

"There will be four different food offers, a bar and with First Light CIC having a base here we will be able to put together a regular programme of live music, DJs and performances, alongside community-led workshops, events and a programme of outside activities.

Work is under way inside the East Point Pavilion in Lowestoft.

Work is under way inside the East Point Pavilion in Lowestoft. - Credit: Mick Howes

"It is not a music venue, instead its a food hall where the music will be free to support the atmosphere and create a real buzz."

With the First Light team busy curating the applications from start-up businesses, traders and producers for the four food vendors, the restyled pavilion will also be a base for the First Light Festival CIC - a not for profit organisation.

Directors of the First Light Festival CIC team with staff at the East Point Pavilion in Lowestoft

Directors of the First Light Festival CIC team with staff at the East Point Pavilion in Lowestoft as work continues. - Credit: Mick Howes

With the team currently seeking to appoint an operations manager to run the newly renovated pavilion, Mrs Christie added: "Everything we do is woven into the wider plans for the town."

The East Point Pavilion in Lowestoft, as work continues.

The East Point Pavilion in Lowestoft, as work continues. - Credit: Mick Howes

The pavilion building, which is owned by East Suffolk Council, opened in May 1993 and has housed a tourist information office and a children’s play area over the years.

It effectively ceased operating in April 2016 in the main, with only a small portion of the building used in recent years for café space.

First Light Festival

With the 24-hour, non-stop multi-arts and science festival returning to Lowestoft this year, events will begin on the South Beach at noon on Saturday, June 18 and run continuously until noon on Sunday, June 19.

Some of the crowds at the First Light Festival in Lowestoft in 2019.

Some of the crowds at the First Light Festival in Lowestoft in 2019. - Credit: Mick Howes

After the inaugural festival was held for the first time in 2019, the unique non-stop, 24-hour programme featured more than 160 free events as it attracted more than 30,000 people.

The 2022 festival programme will be launched at the end of March, and Mrs Christie said: "The Festival programme will be unveiled next month, ahead of the pavilion opening in April and First Light in June.

"The idea with us being in the pavilion when it opens is that its the team behind the First Light Festival - we will be creating the buzz of the festival in the pavilion all year round.

"Its really exciting and allows us expand the footprint of the festival."

With festival directors keen to make the 2022 festival "a fantastic occasion for all" the aim is to "re-establish" with the community after the coronavirus crisis.

Mrs Christie said: "We were thrilled to have had 30,000 plus people attend the festival over the 24 hours as the community really got behind it in 2019.

"This is all about Lowestoft, its about place, its about the experience - after the two years we have had, we really want people to enjoy the surroundings and see the sun rise with friends.

"It is all very exciting and we will be having up more camping spaces available for camping on the beach this year and we are also promoting sustainable transport."

Visit the First Light CIC website for details of the festival and for more on the East Point Pavilion.