Food, Days Out and Travel stories from Brighton, London and the Rest of the World


Days Out - Brighton Festival 2017

May is less than a month away so it's about time I mentioned this year's Brighton Festival. Known as one of Europe's leading arts festivals, they commission artists and companies to produce innovative work such as the amazing light show by Dr Blighty. This year there will be 146 events covering music, theatre, dance, circus, art, film, literature and debate. With a number taking place outside, as well as some designed with families in mind and others that are free, the choice is pretty diverse.

Days Out - Brighton Festival 2017

Last year one event, in particular, captured the city's imagination with the most spectacular show. Open to all, this show transformed the exterior of Brighton Pavilion with a light and music display that was truly magical. I spotted it the first night it was running on my way home and I noticed a few people had gathered to watch the show from within the grounds of the Pavilion. The exotic music began to play while pinks and yellows, elephants and birds floated across the undulating shapes of the onion dome and minarets. I couldn't believe what I was looking at, neither could my Welsh One while we stood shivering in the evening chill. Neither, in fact, could the kids waiting at the bus stop or the people peering out of the top deck of a bus going by. We were all transfixed and so it seems was everyone else who found out about it because, by night four, the lawn area was so packed with people that you could hardly see any blades of grass. People lined the outer wall and on the other side, the loud speaker was making requests for people to step off the road. It was extraordinary. Dr Blighty had left his mark and Brighton Festival had come up trumps. I captured a small part of it on my iPhone and posted it on YouTube. Take a look and see what you think. I could watch it over and over again.

So, that was last year. I can't predict what'll cause such a furore this year but I can pick out a few highlights that you might like to check out. A word of warning popular events get booked up quickly and the events that I've booked tickets for are heading that way too.

Art - Walter and Zoniel, SPECTRA: Cast

Days Out - Brighton Festival 2017, Art - Walter and Zoniel, SPECTRA: Cast

We're invited to throw coloured stones onto Brighton beach as part of an art installation. The pebbles will be colour coded and used to register views on a variety of subjects by casting them onto the beach. The effect will be to create a vibrant mass of colour, transforming the seascape into a giant canvas. Part-performance, part-installation, this sounds like it could be an incredible experience and it's free to take part.

Fri 12 May, evening preview, Sat 13 – Sun 14 May 12pm – 5pm, The Beach, Doughnut Groyne

Circus - Circa: Depart

One of this year's Brighton Festival co-commission's and set in the atmospheric Woodvale Cemetery, Depart sounds fascinating. Inspired by the legend of Orpheus and Eurydice, Depart is a journey through the underworld led by Circa's Yaron Lifschitz. Using a creative team that includes electronic musician Lapalux, this ethereal collaboration brings together acrobats, aerialists, choral singers and video artists for an outdoor circus experience that has been described as ‘mesmerising', ‘hauntingly beautiful'and ‘pure magic'.

Thu 25 – Sun 28 May, 8.30pm & 10.15pm, Woodvale Cemetery

Song - The Big Song

Days Out - Brighton Festival 2017, The Big Song

An insider tip-off (a lady singing in the chorus) has described the writing by Heathcote Williams as fabulous. Praise from a lady whose opinion I value highly. Join The Big Song to discover sound and voice as an elemental experience. The night starts with sounds that represent the resonance of the earth within the solar system and expands into showing how our bodies are in tune with the earth's tones and rhythms. The theme continues with the evolution of voice from raw cries of fear to a mimicry of animals for entrapment and finally into a mechanism used to form communities and song as a means of protest.

Mon 22 May Brighton Dome Concert Hall

Photography - Eddie Otchere: The Bright Room

Days Out - Brighton Festival 2017, Photography - Eddie Otchere: The Bright Room

Part of this year's programme includes the chance to have a go at hand printing photographs using traditional processes in a darkroom. Group workshops are only £5 for an hour and will be run by Photographer Eddie Otchere. Known within the hip hop scene, this event will see Eddie working with vintage cameras supplied by Films Not Dead, with participants invited to capture their Brighton and hand print pictures in a darkroom. Afterwards, the results from the workshops will be displayed in the Gallery.

Workshops Tue 23 – Fri 26 May, 4 – 7pm, 114 Church Street. Gallery Sat 27 and Sun 28 May, 11am – 11pm

Poetry - An Evening with Picador Poetry

Days Out - Brighton Festival 2017, An Evening with Picador Poetry

Picador's best Poets are collected for a night of thoughtful, inspiring and probably emotionally stirring performances. The line-up includes the Guest Director, Kate Tempest and another name that keeps coming up, Holly McNish. If you need some more concrete persuasion then head to Hollie's YouTube channel where her videos have been viewed over 4 million times!

Fri 19 May, 8pm, Theatre Royal Brighton

This is just a flavour of what to expect, so pick up a programme to find out what else will be going on, or click here to go to the Brighton Festival website.

This year there is also a chance through a new initiative to donate £5 on top of your ticket price, match-funded by Brighton Festival, to enable local people on limited incomes to enjoy the Festival too.

Best wishes

Sarah xx

Sarah Agnew
Blogger, Modern Bric a Brac

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