Lowestoft’s ‘First Light Festival’ announces full line-up with female-first headliners at the UK’s only free beachfront festival.

First Light Festival have announced this year’s full line-up & event programme spanning music, art & culture, comedy, science and much more, returning to Lowestoft’s South Beach across Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 June 2024.

Championing local and emerging talent alongside a plethora of international artists with inclusivity and sustainability at its heart, First Light is making its name as the ultimate showcase for cosmopolitan creative talent, accessible to all.

This year sees First Light shine a light and showcase a programme of incredible female-led talent including headliners from across the music and entertainment industry with, DJ and broadcaster Colleen ‘Cosmo’ Murphy, one of the country’s finest comedians Shaparak Khorsandi and award-winning poet Hollie McNish.

2024 also sees their first partnership with Latitude festival, whereby one chosen act from those selected to perform on the New Dawn stage at First Light, will be given the opportunity to also perform at Latitude festival.

As Lowestoft is the most Easterly point of the UK (gaining the first light of the day), this year’s festival takes inspiration from the Cardinal Points to allow a strong focus on our location. The theme of north, south, east and west will be threaded through the artistic programme, with a strong international line-up with a very cosmopolitan flavour.

The festival will run from 12pm noon to sundown (9.30pm) on Saturday, and from 10am – 4pm on Sunday, with a Dawn sunrise programme from 3.30am on Sunday morning. Additional late-night events will take the celebration to several different Lowestoft venues.


SUNLIGHT STAGE: The musical hub of First Light, right on the beach, enjoy international names alongside emerging new talent with the sand between your toes:

Headliner, DJ Colleen ‘Cosmo’ Murphy: A pioneer of the resurgence of vinyl and true music aficionado, Colleen’s standing in the global dance music community has never been higher. She will be playing an evening set on the Sunlight Main Stage on Saturday 22 June. On Sunday 23 June, Colleen Cosmo Murphy will bring a Balearic Breakfast set to the Dawn programme as we welcome the early morning sun, on Lowestoft’s South Beach.

Another Taste: Rotterdam based, Another Taste, takes to the stage for the final sundown session to close the first day of the festival’s beachfront programme. Is it boogie? Is it 70’s funk? Obscure disco? Or an ode to Burgess? It’s neither and it’s all. Indefinable yet universal.

Spirit of Sundaze Ensemble: Spirit of Sundaze Ensemble is a live music project led and curated by Secretsundaze, a party, record label and dance music community founded over twenty years ago by DJ/production duo James Priestley and Giles Smith.

Coco Maria: One of the most unique and uncompromising DJs in the world, Mexican born Coco María is a selector, curator and radio host with impeccable taste. Specialising in Brazilian, South American, Central American and Caribbean Wax.

Young Gun Silver Fox: One for the ever-growing ‘AOR’ audience out there, (for those not in the know, ‘Adult-Oriented Rock’ is one of the fastest growing music sectors right now) and this set is the epitome of what has led their audience to love this genre. The forces behind Young Gun Silver Fox are Andy Platts and Shawn Lee, two of the UK’s most prolific and versatile pop music linguists.

Slambovian Circus of Dreams: Hailing from New York, Slambovian Circus of Dreams has been colouring ‘outside the lines’ of the Americana genre with their fantastic stories and performances since forming 20 years ago in the Hudson Valley. Their Woodstock-tinged psychedelia has a hint of southern rock, Celtic and British folk combined with solid song writing.

Hackney Colliery Band: ‘One of the greatest live bands that we have in this country’ (BBC Radio 2) hits the main stage for a powerful set of fun, accessible yet adventurous music. Bringing the party to the beach, this 9-piece juggernaut of brass, drums and electronics sounds like no brass band you’ve ever heard.

Karma Sheen: Hailing from London and making a big impression on the East Anglian music scene, KARMA SHEEN is spearheaded by Sameer Khan. Having released their debut self-titled album in 2023, the group have solidified their reputation for captivating performances fuelled by a plethora of electrified folk instruments.

Amaraterra: Based in London, fast-paced dance-crazy party-driven pizzica and tarantella roots band from Salento and Southern Italy.

DJ IN THE DUNES: Female-led line-up of formidable DJ talents all playing in the Dunes stage, including: Purple City, Ben Osborne – Noise of Art, Bamboo DJ’s, Pillow Princess ft Effy Mai & Alina, The Hemingways, Thomas & Vialli and curator, Levi Fruits.

NEW DAWN: Young and Local Musicians Invited to Play at First Light & Latitude Festival, a new collaboration for 2024.
Building on the success of the New Dawn project, now in its third year, the festival has once again invited young musical talent-from Lowestoft, Suffolk and Norfolk aged 14-25 to apply to play over the solstice weekend. The selected New Dawn musicians will perform on the New Dawn Stage and at the East Point Pavilion, with a chosen act on the Sunlight Stage, the festival’s main stage. First Light’s new collaboration with Latitude Festival will offer the exciting opportunity to a chosen New Dawn & Playbreak act to perform at Henham Park over the weekend of 25-28 July.

PLAYBREAK SHOWCASE: This year’s Playbreak headline act and recipient of Latitude performance opportunity, Cam T, is gearing up for plenty of new song releases and sold-out shows – definitely one to watch.

FIRST WORD: Comedy, spoken word and performances curated by acclaimed poet Luke Wright.

Headliner, Hollie McNish: After a run of sold out shows up and down the UK, the award-winning poet, writer, performer and bestselling author of Slug, Hollie McNish is back with a brand-new book, ‘Lobster and other things I’m learning to love’; a book written out of both hate and love for the world. The Sunday Times bestselling author’s live readings are not to be missed, expect strong language and adult content, gift-wrapped in gorgeously crafted poetry.

Elf Lyons: Award-winning comedian, clown and theatre practitioner. Elf aims to create work that pushes the relationship between comedy, theatre and performance art. In 2023, Elf was listed as number 25 in The Telegraphs ‘50 Best Comedians of the 21st Century’ and was nominated for the Deaf Action Award for Deaf Excellence for her comedy show Heist which she developed with the visual vernacular performer, Duffy.

Raymond Antrobus MBE FRSL: Established author & poet, in 2019 Raymond became the first ever poet to be awarded the Rathbone Folio Prize for best work of literature in any genre.

Jay Mitra: The British Indian punk poet, and non-fiction writer will be taking to the First Word tent on Saturday afternoon. Their poetry explores the human condition with wit, grit, and sensitivity. Credited as ‘one of 40 Future Voices in Poetry’, featured on BBC Radio 6 and winner of the Creative Future Writers’ Award in 2023, this is one not to miss.

NCW with Daljit Nagra: Award-winning poet, witty and culturally alert, Daljit will be reading from his poetry collections all published by Faber & Faber. ‘In partnership with the National Centre for Writing’.

Luke Wright: Following the smash hit success of his Silver Jubilee show, Luke returns with a new set of poems that get to grips with the idea of JOY. The poet writes urgently and warmly about family, fatherhood, and the joy of language itself.

Josh Weller: A self-confessed failed musician turned comedian, viral content maker, comic book author and podcast host. As seen on ITV2 Stand Up Sketch Show, with his high energy brand of cleverly self-deprecating stand-up. Josh has developed a loyal fanbase for his viral musical videos and online content, with views in the millions which includes mockumentaries, sketches, animated stand-up comedy shorts, and more.

Joe Wells: Describing himself as ‘Comedian, not a person with Comedy. Autistic, not a person with Autism’, in 2020 Joe wrote a stand-up routine about his (severely) non-autistic brother. A video of the routine went viral, gaining over 4.5 million views. This is a show about identity, neurodiversity and the pressures of finding social media fame. Author of Wired Differently: 30 Neurodivergent People Who You Should Know. “One of my favourite comics” – Frankie Boyle.

Brigitte Aphrodite: The critically acclaimed neurodivergent punk poet, Gig theatre-maker & intersectional feminist show-woman will open the First Word programme on the Saturday.

Maria Ferguson: An award-winning poet and theatre-maker, Maria’s debut one-woman show ‘Fat Girls Don’t Dance’ sold out performances across the UK, including at the Edinburgh Fringe, and won a Saboteur Award for Best Spoken Word Show. Her debut poetry collection Alright, Girl? was Highly Commended and her poetry has been widely published. She will be sharing work from her upcoming collection ‘Swell’ out with Penguin in 2024. The poems follow one woman’s journey into motherhood through pregnancy, miscarriage birth and beyond, charting a journey through loss and wilting houseplants toward recovery, empowerment and renewal.

Toria Garbutt: Spoken word artist, author of poetry album, ‘Hot Plastic Moon’, and her first book, ‘The Universe and Me’. Toria has performed extensively across the UK and Europe, including The London Palladium, Glastonbury Festival, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and BBC’s Contains Strong Language Festival. Toria’s new collection ‘Another Time in Space’, published by Wrecking Ball Press, is out now.

Alexis Dubus (Marcel Lucon): Flâneur, raconteur and bon-viveur, Marcel has toured the world over the past 15 years with his award-winning blend of wry observations, deadpan wit and premier erotic poetry.

SUNDOWN EVENTS: Continuing the party throughout Saturday night are a series of events to please all attendees, a selection of these are ticketed events.

Shaparak Khorsandi: One of the festival satellite venues, The Seagull in Pakefield, is to host a late-night comedy gig “Scatterbrain” with the incredible comedian, author, speaker, and advocate for human rights. Expect a fast-paced, celebratory hour from this much-loved Fringe institution and the author of recently published, Scatterbrain, how I finally got off the ADHD rollercoaster.

Coco Maria Afterparty – Join Coco Maria for Future Latin, global dancefloor cuts, high energy Latin and Afro-Caribbean vibrations in the festival Afterparty at Lowestoft’s legendary Mossy’s nightclub.

‘Deep Sea Get Down’ Silent Disco: The glass East Point Pavilion on the seafront hosts this year’s Silent Disco with a Deep Sea theme for a night of dancing on the virtual waves of the ocean. With Purple City and Alina & Friends transport us to faraway lands and new sonic heights for a transcendent night of dancing amongst the stars.
Jazz Unlimited: The relaxed vibes of American jazz of the 50s & 60s is the signature style of Jazz Unlimited taking place in the characterful Arts and Crafts seafront Norfolk & Suffolk Yacht Club.

MOONDANCE: From energising contemporary dance, eastern european style ceilidh to the heat of cuban salsa and the much loved ‘Boogie for babies’, Dance East’s curates a line-up across the weekend at the Moon Dance Tent not to be missed!
Programme includes: Baby Loves to Boogie, Playground Editions: Mughal Miniatures: The Elephant and the Drummer, Olive Branch, Joe Garbett Dance: Get Lost; Klezmer Keilidh and Latin Dance with Cubanda.

DAWN PROGRAMME: Celebrating Dawn in the most easterly place in the UK is unique to First Light Festival. As the first light of day gleams through the twilight, First Light opens the dawn programme by saluting the sun with daybreak yoga, new music by Alex Groves and our first ever Balearic Breakfast music and feasting experience with Colleen ‘Cosmo’ Murphy.

‘COSMIC PIRATES’: Kids zone encompassing storytelling, art & interactive activities.

PLANET POSITIVE: Planet Positive moves to the beach for a 2024 programme of investigation, conversation and intriguing science including Interstellar Ideas on the Beach talks tent, Messums East Cultural Hub, the Making Waves workshop and our brand new Charity Super.Mkt zone. Here you can find out about the latest climate and environmental science, listen to writers, researchers, creatives and thinkers and get your passion for sustainable fashion pulses racing by shopping from a curated collection of quality, second-hand fashion, and accessories, brought to you by the nation’s best charity retailers.

WELLBEING: Hugely popular, accessible programme of meditation, yoga, breathwork and movement that takes place on the shore.

MOONLIT SOUNDSCAPES: Step into a world of Moonlit Soundscapes and immerse yourself in a programme of late night music with an atmospheric mix of classical and acoustic, from electronic to opera at St Peter and St John Church.

FOOD & DRINK: A plethora of local independent traders will create a street-food market offering delicious artisan offerings from around the region.

First Light is the brainchild of CEO, Genevieve Christie, originally an Producer and writer in TV, she subsequently formed her own independent production company. She is a true champion of future talent and has created First Light to spotlight Lowestoft and put it on the cultural map, creating a unique and must-attend festival that is uniquely free to attend.

Genevieve Christie, CEO of First Light Festival CIC, said: “We’re very excited to be back on Lowestoft’s South Beach this June, to celebrate the Midsummer with another packed programme inspired by our unique most easterly location. We look forward to welcoming everyone to this year’s festival and encourage you all to get involved, whether it be through the New Dawn callout, as a volunteer or by taking part in our upcoming community projects – see you on the beach!”

CHARITY SUPER.MKT: Also, on-hand will be fabulous fashion advisers and up-cyclers to take your garms to the next level, and you can wear your treasures on the ‘Community Catwalk’ at the end of each day. Charity shops are the biggest circular, sustainable retailer on the British high street, doing really impactful things with their profits. Shopping at Charity Super.Mkt ensures that every pound you spend is a ‘good pound’, with your money going towards a range of brilliant causes. By shopping with us you’ll actively reduce carbon emissions, avoiding new production and supply chains through buying only second-hand fashion. Also working in partnership with Norwich University of Arts – MA Textiles and original projects.

For full programme timings and details on all ticketed events, please visit https://firstlightlowestoft.com