Interview: Designer Wayne Hemingway on Lowestoft's First Light Festival

Interview: Designer Wayne Hemingway on Lowestoft’s First Light Festival

We caught up with the co-founder of First Light Festival Wayne Hemingway – designer and placemaker – to talk about rejuvenating Lowestoft, 2024 festival highlights, plans for the summer, and Things To Do in London!

First Light is a great, free festival which takes place around the summer solstice every year on Lowestoft Beach. The outdoor festivities on the beach are free and un-ticketed, while a parallel programme of ticketed events take place from dusk in nearby venues (including the fab East Point Pavilion). Last year we pitched the To Do List tent in the wild camping area (requires a reservation) and rose with the sun on the Sunday morning for a spectacular dawn programme!

First Light Festival 2024 | Lowestoft | 22-23 June | FREE

Interview: Designer Wayne Hemingway on Lowestoft's First Light Festival 3
Wayne Hemingway. Image: withlove.studio

Hi Wayne, thanks for taking the time to chat with us. Perhaps you could start by telling us the inspiration behind the First Light Festival?

It came out of a Vision for The Lowestoft seafront that HemingwayDesign were doing in 2016/2017. We knew that this somewhat forgotten, but wonderful seafront and beach deserved recognition.

What response have you had from the local community in Lowestoft and beyond?

It very quickly became the most loved event in the town and arguably the region. The tens of thousands that attend and the hundred’s that play a role are testament to this. Last year we saw record attendance of over 40,000 people which was brilliant to see.

We had a great time at the festival last year, camping on the beach and rising with the sun. What are your programme highlights this year? 

It’s hard to know where to start. The whole Hemingway Family and all the grandkids decamp to Lowestoft and we have such a blast. The Sunlight Stage on Saturday alone is totally fab with DJ’s and bands that are full on “beach”  and demonstrate the outward looking flavour of the music:

17:45 – 18:30 Young Gun Silver Fox

19:00 – 20:00 Colleen Cosmo Murphy

20:30 – 21:30 Another Taste

But it’s all the surprise stuff that is worth seeking out: the ‘Cosmic Pirates’ zone is full of family workshops and activities which are magical, and we have to get to the brill DJ’s in The Dunes.

The best thing to do is just to get round it all: the Charity Super.Mkt on the beach, the Community Catwalk, the Visual Arts programme and installations, the dance classes and wellbeing, the talks and debates and all the rest of the uplifting content in Kensington Gardens… I could go on! There is a lot to get round, and it might take a few visits over the next few years to experience it all.

Beyond First Light, what else is on your Summer To Do List?

Spend some time at our house by the coast with our grandkids, walk the dog and run miles and miles, all in between working!

What are your favourite Things To Do in London?

Chillin’: Hampstead Heath, Horsenden Hill and Granary Square fountains with the grandkids.

Runnin’: I love running through London – 15 miles seems to go in a flash.

Dancin’ and shoppin’: The Classic Car Boot Sale and The Urban Village Fete, even if I say so myself – they are ace!

Head East for a fun weekend on the beach – First Light Festival awaits!