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'A landmark occasion': First Light Festival will 'shine a light' on town

PUBLISHED: 16:14 18 June 2019 | UPDATED: 16:24 18 June 2019

From front right, Wayne Hemingway, Genevieve Christie, Claire Whittenbury, Andy Greenacre, Charlotte McGuiness and Matthew Bayfield at the launch of the First Light Festival, Lowestoft. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

From front right, Wayne Hemingway, Genevieve Christie, Claire Whittenbury, Andy Greenacre, Charlotte McGuiness and Matthew Bayfield at the launch of the First Light Festival, Lowestoft. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk

A council leader has said that a new festival will give a coastal town an incredible boost.

Speaking ahead of the First Light Festival in Lowestoft - which gets under way this weekend - the leader of East Suffolk Council, Steve Gallant, believes the event provides a landmark occasion for people and businesses in the town.

With the free, non-stop, 24-hour long multi-arts festival running continuously across the summer solstice weekend - from noon on Saturday, June 22 through to noon on Sunday, June 23 - Mr Gallant said that it will put Lowestoft on the map as part of a wider strategy to improve the seafront area and increase visitor numbers.

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.

Mr Gallant said: "East Suffolk Council is committed to a bright future for Lowestoft and investment in this fantastic event is a real statement of intent.

"It has attracted national attention for the town and for the county and we are delighted that so many creative people and organisations are coming together to make this happen.

"Festivals bring new visitors to towns - visitors who contribute to the local economy and if they enjoy themselves, come back again and again.

"Lowestoft has so much to offer and, as a council, we are determined to help it fulfil its potential. This is a landmark occasion providing an incredible boost for local people and businesses."

The First Light Festival will literally "shine a light" on this unique location.

Local stakeholders are co-curating content in a programme that has sunrise as its central focus and which celebrates a sense of place - including Lowestoft's maritime heritage, community of artists and musicians and science connections, notably to large scale renewable energy production and scientific research by CEFAS.

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