Who better to hear about the momentous event then from the producer himself? Our guest Blog Post from Producer, Robert Batson will guide you through Brighton's solstice festival.
Brighton's Winter Celebration: A Spectacular Event by Same Sky
Brighton is gearing up for a spectacular winter celebration that promises to be a feast for the eyes and a heartwarming community event. Same Sky, a renowned community arts organisation, is set to host its largest lantern parade for the annual winter solstice celebration on 21 December, 2023. This event, known as "Burning the Clocks," has become a beloved tradition in Brighton, bringing the city together to mark the shortest day of the year and offers a delightful alternative to Christmas festivities.
The Biggest Lantern Parade Yet
After the resounding success of Burning the Clocks 2022, the event organisers at Same Sky have gone the extra mile to make the 2023 edition even more remarkable. They've extended a warm invitation to additional community groups, expanding the parade to the largest procession ever. This year's celebration promises to be the most significant and vibrant yet.
The Theme: A Tribute to Time
The heart of Burning the Clocks lies in its ever-changing themes, and this year, it’s going back to its beginnings with "Clocks." The theme is a reflection of our evolving perception of time's passage, a notion inspired by the event's triumphant return last winter.
Artistic Director John Varah eloquently describes this year's festivities as a
"great reset, an opportunity to pass the time with ticking distractions, delightful nonsense, and a thousand illuminations. It's a chance to render a few dark, silent hours even stiller, creating a unique and magical atmosphere in the heart of Brighton"
Community Involvement: The Key to Success
The community's involvement in Burning the Clocks is a cornerstone of the event's success. A staggering 2,300 Brighton and Hove residents have dedicated their time and creativity to craft handmade lanterns that will illuminate the parade. As the event garners more and more attention, an estimated 28,000 people are expected to line the streets on 21 December to witness the breathtaking procession and the grand finale of fireworks lighting up the beach. The parade kicks off at New Road and concludes on Brighton seafront near the Sea Lanes.
Welcoming New Groups to the Parade
This year, Burning the Clocks is set to welcome new community groups that have never been part of the lantern parade before. Organisations such as Sikhs of Sussex, Tarner Community Project, Manor Road Gym in East Brighton, Unified Rhythm, Rap 'n' Rhyme, Ledward Centre, Afrori, BARCO, and Hummingbird, along with Making our Mark from Whitehawk, will join the festivities. They will be joined by familiar faces, including participants from Woodcraft Folk and local Guides and Scouts groups, adding a rich tapestry of diversity and creativity to the event.
A Spectacular Celebration: Words from Executive Producer Robert Batson
Same Sky Executive Producer, Robert Batson, shares his excitement for this year's event, promising a
“spectacular celebration that will feature incredible new puppets, music, and performances representing every corner of the vibrant Brighton community. The parade's artistic expression knows no bounds.”
Highlighting the Windrush Replica
An added highlight of this year's Burning the Clocks is the debut of a Windrush replica, a poignant artwork displaying a critical evaluation of the UK's immigration policies and failings. Created in partnership with Same Sky, Afrori Bookstore, and Brighton Anti Racist Community Organisation (BARCO), this artwork coincides with the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the HMT Empire Windrush, a ship that brought one of the first large groups of post-war West Indian immigrants to Britain.
Supporting the Celebration
To make this grand celebration possible, onlookers watching the parade are encouraged to contribute funds into donation buckets and use card readers along the route. Additionally, a crowdfunding campaign offers a chance to support the event while receiving exciting rewards, including personalised lanterns, limited-edition prints, and the opportunity to lead the procession. Limited edition original prints by regular artist Graham Carter, who has designed a brilliant poster for 2023, are available to commemorate the event. Hand Brew Co has also brewed a delightful pale ale for the occasion, donating 20p per pint sold to support the community group’s materials costs. “Lume”, a bright sessionable ale that is inspired by the lume-sticks used in the parade, is available at the Hand in Hand in Kemptown, and pubs all over Brighton and Hove.
Funding and Support
The success of Burning the Clocks would not be possible without the support of Arts Council England and the Chalk Cliff Trust, who have contributed to cover the rising costs of materials, labour, and transport. In-kind contributions from Moshimo Restaurant.
Getting Involved with Burning The Clocks
For those who want to take an active part in this year's Burning the Clocks, lantern kits can be purchased starting from November 5. These kits, available in various stores across the city, including the Booklovers store in Jubilee Library, Infinity Foods Coop, HISBE supermarket in York Place, Stanley Road Store in Hanningtons Lane, and the Book Nook in Hove, cost £40 (including VAT) and contain materials for crafting two lanterns, construction instructions, and four wristbands that allow participation in the parade.
For those who want to immerse themselves even deeper in the magic of Burning the Clocks, Same Sky is actively seeking volunteers to join the parade and support the bucket donations team. If you have a few hours to spare on the evening of December 21, your participation is most welcome.
Burning the Clocks 2023 promises to be an extraordinary celebration of art, community, and the spirit of togetherness. With its enchanting lantern parade and the grand display of fireworks, this event will illuminate the darkest night of the year and usher in the winter solstice with a sense of wonder and unity. Don't miss your chance to be part of this magical experience in the heart of Brighton.
How to Join This Year’s Burning the Clocks
Purchase a lantern kit - available for £40 at Stanley Rd Store, HISBE, Infinity Foods Co-op, Book Nook, and Jubilee Library. Kits include two lanterns and four wristbands to join the procession.
Purchase a poster from Graham Carter who is commemorating his 10 years of creating the wonderful posters of Burning the Clocks this year.
Donate to the crowdfunder - and reap some benefits such as VIP passes, custom lanterns, and posters from previous Burning the Clocks
Volunteer - this event runs on community power and is nothing without the 100-strong Same Sky volunteer corps. If you have a few hours to spare on the solstice and want to support the biggest solstice event in England, get in touch.
Buy a Beer - Lume, the beer brewed Hand Brew Co is available at the Hand in Hand in Kemptown and pubs around the city. Ever pint purchased donates 20p to Burning the Clocks
Sponsor this year’s Burning the Clocks - Don't miss the chance to be a part of Brighton's most enchanting winter celebration! Sponsor Burning the Clocks and align your brand with a spectacular event that brings the community together to celebrate the winter solstice in a unique and magical way.