by Alex Day
At 4 AM, in Lowestoft, Suffolk, a crowd assembled on the beach. On stage, Talvin Singh performed a 45-minute rendition of ‘Light’, from his Mercury Prize-winning album Ok. Waves of dreamy ambient sound flooded in. With impressive synchronicity, a soft blue light filled the sky.
It was the weekend of the summer solstice, a celebration of the arrival of summer, and the longest day of the year, at Britain’s most easterly point. We were gathered for First Light Festival; an eclectic pageant of orchestras, electronic music, contemporary dance and workshops in honour of our closest star, the Sun. Free to enter and running continuously for 24 hours, First Light included attractions such as Gilles Peterson and Rosemary Lee. On the beach, locals and outsiders fused into a rosy heap under 30-degree temperatures.