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'This is just what Lowestoft needed' - First Light Festival kicks off under blue skies

PUBLISHED: 16:26 22 June 2019 | UPDATED: 08:57 23 June 2019

Elise Day, eight, on the back of the dragon, at Lowestoft's First Light Festival. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Elise Day, eight, on the back of the dragon, at Lowestoft's First Light Festival. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2019

A new beach festival has kicked off in Lowestoft.

Lowestoft beach fills up as First Light festival gets in to gear. Credit: Kyle BatleyLowestoft beach fills up as First Light festival gets in to gear. Credit: Kyle Batley

And what better way to enjoy the inaugural First Light Festival, which celebrates the longest day of the year, than under bright sunshine, blue skies and warm temperatures.

Locals and visitors thronged the town's long esplanade on Saturday afternoon (June 22) on their way to the south beach, where the festival runs for 24 hours non-stop, from 12pm today to 12pm on Sunday.

People enjoying Kensington Gardens as part of the Lowestoft's First Light Festival. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYPeople enjoying Kensington Gardens as part of the Lowestoft's First Light Festival. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Teepees erected on the beach have been hosting craft workshops and yoga sessions while in another children sat listening to stories.

One was hosting a craft workshop while in another children sat listening to stories.

Print to the People print First Light Festival items at the Lowestoft festival. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYPrint to the People print First Light Festival items at the Lowestoft festival. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

In a larger marquee partygoers were led in old-school dances like the Charleston and swing, while jazz played.

Earlier, on the main stage, Talvin Singh, who plays a fusion of Indian classical and electronic music, had opened the festival.

People enjoying Kensington Gardens as part of the Lowestoft's First Light Festival. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYPeople enjoying Kensington Gardens as part of the Lowestoft's First Light Festival. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Enjoying the show were Wymondham couple Nick and Kay Southgate, 56 and 54 respectively.

They heard about the festival a few months ago when its organiser, Wayne Hemingway, was interviewed on BBC Radio 6 Music.

Beverley Coraldean of Print to the People teaches Annette Pierson, right, how to print a t-shirt at Lowestoft's First Light Festival. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYBeverley Coraldean of Print to the People teaches Annette Pierson, right, how to print a t-shirt at Lowestoft's First Light Festival. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

"We thought it would be a really nice event," Mr Southgate said.

"We've been waiting for it for a while."

Print to the People printing First Light Festival items at the Lowestoft festival. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYPrint to the People printing First Light Festival items at the Lowestoft festival. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Mrs Southgate said the festival had a really good website.

Her husband said they had come for Talvin Singh's midday show and their plan was to later get a few hours sleep before waking at 4am for the sunrise.

A crowded beach for Lowestoft's First Light Festival, with the Sunlight Stage on the left. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYA crowded beach for Lowestoft's First Light Festival, with the Sunlight Stage on the left. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

"One of the things that really appealed to us was to see music on the beach," Mrs Southgate said.

"It's nice and democratic," she added.

Enjoying the popular Beach Bar at Lowestoft's First Light Festival. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYEnjoying the popular Beach Bar at Lowestoft's First Light Festival. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

"Because it's free, everyone is here."

Ojay Jones, 65, Claire Taylor-Haigh, 52, Maxine Johnston, 51 and Donna Oram, 53, are all volunteers at the festival, showing visitors where to find particular shows or amusements.

Enjoying the popular Beach Bar at Lowestoft's First Light Festival. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYEnjoying the popular Beach Bar at Lowestoft's First Light Festival. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

They all agreed the town needed the festival.

Ms Taylor-Haigh said: "This is just what Lowestoft needed, because nothing here happens that much."

Yoga in the Well-being by the Waves wigwam at Lowestoft's First Light Festival. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYYoga in the Well-being by the Waves wigwam at Lowestoft's First Light Festival. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

She noted the "community vibe".

"It's quite chilled," she added.

In step for the dancing at the Moon Dances Stage at Lowestoft's First Light Festival, led by Grounded Movement. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYIn step for the dancing at the Moon Dances Stage at Lowestoft's First Light Festival, led by Grounded Movement. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Some visitors had travelled from as far as from Hackney in London, having driven the two and a half hours on Saturday morning.

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.

In step for the dancing at the Moon Dances Stage at Lowestoft's First Light Festival. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYIn step for the dancing at the Moon Dances Stage at Lowestoft's First Light Festival. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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.

In step for the dancing at the Moon Dances Stage at Lowestoft's First Light Festival, led by Grounded Movement. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYIn step for the dancing at the Moon Dances Stage at Lowestoft's First Light Festival, led by Grounded Movement. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Yoga in the Well-being by the Waves wigwam at Lowestoft's First Light Festival. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYYoga in the Well-being by the Waves wigwam at Lowestoft's First Light Festival. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Elise Day, eight, on the back of the dragon, at Lowestoft's First Light Festival. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYElise Day, eight, on the back of the dragon, at Lowestoft's First Light Festival. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Eddie Lambert, four, front, with Maya Day, five, and Elliott Barnard, four, inside the dragon on the beach at Lowestoft's First Light Festival. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYEddie Lambert, four, front, with Maya Day, five, and Elliott Barnard, four, inside the dragon on the beach at Lowestoft's First Light Festival. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Children paddle in the sea along with the straw 'Pakefield Man' at Lowestoft's First Light Festival. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYChildren paddle in the sea along with the straw 'Pakefield Man' at Lowestoft's First Light Festival. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Nick and Kay Southgate, 56 and 54, from Wymondham, at the First Light Festival in Lowestoft on June 22. Picture: Daniel Hickey.Nick and Kay Southgate, 56 and 54, from Wymondham, at the First Light Festival in Lowestoft on June 22. Picture: Daniel Hickey.

Ojay Jones, 65, Claire Taylor-Haigh, 52, Maxine Johnstone, 51, and Donna Oram, 53 volunteers at the First Light Festival in Lowestoft. Picture: Daniel Hickey.Ojay Jones, 65, Claire Taylor-Haigh, 52, Maxine Johnstone, 51, and Donna Oram, 53 volunteers at the First Light Festival in Lowestoft. Picture: Daniel Hickey.

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