For the first time since lockdown the First Light Festival was being held in Lowestoft and the East Anglian Kite Flyers were approached to put on a kite display as part of the event was being called First Kite for which lots of small kites had been sent to local schools and clubs to fly at the event.
The First Light Festival is held over a weekend on south beach Lowestoft to celebrate the summer solstice, Lowestoft is the most easterly point of the UK so sees the rising sun first and the festival runs nonstop (usually) from midday Saturday to midday Sunday, it is a huge event with music, a parade, dance groups and art projects etc. all featured and this year kites.
We were booked to fly from 10am Sunday to midday as part of the closing finale the Suffolk kite flyers were also going to be there, Jonny and Lou (Red Kite Crew and also EAKF) were staying overnight as they had family nearby, myself Pete and Lyn met at McDonalds at 8am so we could travel to the beach in a small convoy of two as roads were due to be shut, we had a reserved parking space on the cliff top near to a steep slope down to the beach.
As we arrived we could see that Jonny and Lou had made an early start and already had a lovely Manta Ray flying held down by some seriously heavy sand anchors, we met Jonny in the car park who was getting more kites from his car, he said there had been some confusion as two flyers from the Beccles Bunch were there having been asked at the last minute if they could attend as we had cancelled !! this is what Donald Trump would call fake news as in fact it was the Suffolk kite flyers who had cancelled, south beach is very big so there was plenty of room for all.
After a bit of early turbulence, the wind settled down to blow along the beach all day towards the music stage, the wind speed was in the high teens low 20’s all day, Jonny and Lou’s display was taking shape at pace having added a spaceman, pink panther, tom and jerry and later joined by a stunning dumbo the Elephant kite having it’s first fly.
I set up a display of rotating items, rainbow wheel, snake wheel, spin sock and a roto box, I also flew a skeleton who at one point had a wander along the beach when little hands removed some of the sand from its anchor (kids don’t you just love em) fortunately it was rescued by the Beccles Bunch before he went too far, they were flying a lobster, sea horse and octopus, Pete soon had up a large trilobite with octopus and mickey mouse attached he also flew a gecko.
We were supposed to fly for two hours but we saw no reason to stop at midday so we flew on until 4pm, kites were changed and new items added to keep the display looking fresh inc Jonny and Lou’s gorgeous Marlin, more octopuses were added along with a ufo sam etc.
We had lots of nice comments and answered lots of questions, as we looked around the beach and prom we saw it was packed, organisers of the event estimated that over the weekend approx 60,000 had attended despite the event having to be paused overnight Saturday due to heavy rain, gale force winds and lighting fortunately that had all passed before we started our display, the organisers said what we had done was simply fantastic, before we started the hard work of taking the kites down the wind had freshened so we had a good work out especially Jonny who must have made fifteen or more trips up and down the slope during the day to fetch more kites from his car.
Who knows after all the great feedback on social media etc we may be invited back next year, both days and a night fly all a possibility, we always say flying kites keeps you young and you are only as old as you feel and we were feeling old after spending all day on very soft sand but we had loved it.
A video of the event can be found here