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About the Festival

Welcome to First Light Festival, a brand new, free, non-stop 24 hour long, multi-arts festival that celebrates the first light of midsummer’s weekend at Britain’s most easterly point – Lowestoft in Suffolk.

From rolling sand dunes and moonlit sea, to grassy gardens and a traditional British seaside promenade, this is a festival that celebrates a unique position in time and space in a stunning setting.

The festival opens with the beat of a drum as the clock strikes midday when an energetic procession of people and percussion leads the crowd through the site to join Talvin Singh at the main stage on the sands of South Beach. This kicks off the clock for 24-hours of excitement, exploration, creativity and discovery with over 100 activities taking place non-stop during the day, through the night and on into the morning beyond.

This is a festival for thinkers, for dreamers and for fun-seekers. Pick the brains of some of the UK’s top scientists, authors and broadcasters. See world-renowned musicians at a rare free show, dance with the sand between your toes, watch an award-winning film on our big screen, take a moment to yourself in well-being tipis, peek inside the beach huts to see works by our artists-in-residence or simply wander and see what you discover.

This festival is about shared experiences. Make this the one time you let the kids stay up, and watch the sun set together as a family. Spend the hours of darkness with friends on the beach, see the stars, have a midnight feast, do something different, and get ready to welcome the dawning of a new day together – join us on the beach and see where 24 hours can take you.


The festival team is working closely with East Suffolk Council, Suffolk County Council, Lowestoft Town Council, Arts Council England and other stakeholders, to create and deliver an event that will contribute significantly to the regeneration of Lowestoft and its seafront.  The aim of the festival is that it will be a place making event both regionally and nationally – developing joy, pride and a sense of place through culture and the arts.

The festival grew out of the wider seafront strategy that Waveney District Council commissioned HemingwayDesign to carry out. HemingwayDesign held a series of “design charettes“ with local creatives, entrepreneurs and community representatives . Wayne Hemingway presented examples of some of HemingwayDesign’s other regeneration projects and highlighted the positive  impact that meaningful and individual free festivals ( ie The National Festival of Making in Blackburn , Vintage by the Sea in Morecambe and the Festival of Thrift in Redcar ) were having .   As a result of this it was identified that Lowestoft’s location as the most easterly point of Britain, could be a key part of the narrative of the town.  Already locally known as the Sunrise Coast, group discussions led to the genesis of First Light Festival, to literally shine a light on this unique location, with local stakeholders 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 resident government agency CEFAS, the UK’s foremost marine research organisation.