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First Light Festival in Lowestoft announces 2023 line-up

Lowestoft’s renowned free cultural, community focused event, ‘First Light Festival’ returns to South Beach, Saturday 17th & Sunday 18th June 2023.

After a triumphant weekend in 2022, Lowestoft’s free summer solstice celebration will return for 2023. Inspired by Lowestoft’s location as the most Easterly part of the country and therefore the first to receive sunlight, the festival programme has been curated to celebrate the cycles of the sun with events taking place throughout the weekend from sunrise to sundown. Championing Lowestoft as a growing creative hub by showcasing and supporting new talent within the local community, alongside a full programme of events and activations to engage and excite – First Light Festival is the UK’s only free beach festival.

First Light Festival Kate Ellis


MUSIC – Big names include:
– DJ Paulette – 2022’s Winner of the DJ Mag Top 100 Lifetime Achievement Award
– DJ Luke Una – Cult club culture pioneer and one half of iconic duo, The Unabombers
– Jembaa Groove – 2023 SXSW-approved, Berlin-based 7-piece band
– Eliza Carthy – Folk legend (presented by FolkEast).
First Light also features a strong showcase of local and emerging talent, and a diverse line up of East Anglia’s foremost DJs.

First Light

FIRST WORD – Comedy, spoken word and performances curated by acclaimed poet Luke Wright. Highlights include:
– Linton Kwesi Johnson – World renowned reggae poet and recording artist
– Josie Long – Multi-award-winning comedian and television panel show regular
– Joelle Taylor – 2022 TS Elliot-prize winning poet
– Caleb Femi – Former Young People’s Laureate, director (BBC, Channel 4, Bottega Veneta and Louis Vuitton) and poet
– Harry Baker – World Poetry Slam Champion
– Jasmine Gardosi – Birmingham Poet Laureate and winner of the Out-Spoken Prize for Poetry
– Robin Ince will headline a special evening event at The Seagull Theatre


– UNIQUE DAWN EXPERIENCE – An extraordinary shoreside gathering featuring new collaborative commissions, music and free communal feast as the sun rises

– SHINING A LIGHT ON FUTURE TALENT – Young and local musicians invited to play at the UK’s only free beach festival through New Dawn and Playbreak open calls.

– PLANET POSITIVE – Cross-sector collaboration with Natural History Museum, Cefas, University of East Anglia, and Suffolk Wildlife Trust promotes the latest in climate research through an accessible programme of talks and activities.

First light Festival

– CULTURAL PARTNERSHIPS – First Light Festival will showcase three newly-commissioned works involving many local primary and secondary schools, artists from across the region and a choir of over 100 debuting new works from acclaimed theatre company HighTide. Also for 2023, a partnership with Historic England & Emergency Exit Arts, ‘Hi! Street Fest’, sees Lowestoft selected to launch the project.

– WELLBEING BY THE WAVES ZONE – A hugely popular, accessible programme of meditation, yoga, breathwork and movement that takes place on the shore.

– TIDES, MOONS AND PLANETS – Festival marks anniversaries of 1953 and 2013 Lowestoft floods through imaginative programme of music, installation and large-scale community projects featuring Trinity Laban musicians, acclaimed sculptor Laurence Edwards and renowned climate photographer Gideon Mendel.

– ‘COSMIC PIRATES’ – Kids zone encompassing storytelling, art & interactive activities. Focused on the belief that cultural events should remain available to all, especially with ongoing and extensive cuts to the arts in the UK and the current cost of living crisis; First Light aims to ensure creativity is showcased and actively supported. 2022 saw record attendance of over 35,000 festival-goers throughout the weekend.

First light Festival

FESTIVAL TIMINGS – Opening 12pm noon to sundown (9.30pm) on Saturday and from 10am – 4pm on Sunday, with a dawn sunrise programme of arts from 3.30am on Sunday morning. Additional late-night events will take the celebration to several different Lowestoft venues (details and tickets announced soon).

First Light Festival

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