All about The Brighton Festival

All about The Brighton Festival

Festival is a very common term often used by many people, but it has different meanings for everyone. Each one of us has their own religious festivals which we all celebrate with full excitement and vigour. But according to me i always feel that the main meaning of a festival has always been uniting people or bringing in people together for the simple cause of spreading happiness. Festivals are not bound to any age, caste or religion. Everyone celebrates his/her festival according to their own wish.

Festivals are the most wonderful and expressive way to celebrate heritage, culture, and traditions related to a place. They are all filled with the common goal of celebrating special moments, feelings in our life with our beloved ones. They all play a very important role in bringing out the message of unity and harmony in a society, and help us connect to people of all religions and backgrounds. They give us the much-needed break from our daily day to day life routine and give us memories that we can cheer all throughout our life. The historical importance of festivals was to pass on the ancient traditional practices, knowledge to the next generation to follow. The basic and most important aim of a festival is only to bring happiness, love and strengthen the feeling of unity in a society.

One such festival is the Brighton festival. Which is the widest and most celebrated annual multi-arts festival in England. It is basically a celebration which involves music, theatre, dance, circus etc. And the venue for this occasion is the city of Brighton and Hove in England. This festival takes place every May. This festival from time in memorial has the reputation to be known as one of the largest arts festivals in England; due to which this festival has found a place in the International Cultural calendar.

This festival is no ordinary it is a very spectacular festival all together with its reputation soaring high every year. It has become so popular from the very year it started that the year 2016 marked as its 50th anniversary year. Now, let’s roll back in the pages of history to find out that how this festival come about.

History of The Birghton Festival

As the name says, Brighton, the festival is always remembered as one of the most important, essential development that took place in the 1960’s. Its history is quite a wide one with many beliefs that the first time it started was a festival which was staged by six farmers at the Brighton College as a part of a fundraising activity during the college’s annual Arts-Rag week. If we go according to history many say that this idea was first proposed in 1962 by Lewis Cohen (politician, property developer and Mayor of Brighton 1956-57). This festival had its first launch party held in his old home in the Dyke Road Avenue. But if there is a true fact to be believed then a program for such was submitted by Ian Hunter, the eventual Artistic Director for conducting festival in Brighton thus establishing the Board of the Brighton Festival.

The first festival held in this event was a great delight in itself it was held from 14th to the 30th of April 1967 and its logo was an “all-seeing eye”. The opening night of the festival saw an International wine festival, and, a visit from the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra and a gay arts ball at the Metropole Hotel. The ticket that grabbed the most visitors was for “the Dance of Death” at the Theatre Royal, with the star being Sir Laurence Oliver. Also present there was Pink Floyd who played during most of the nights of this festival at the at the Kinetic Area Discotheque on the West Pier, with an admission of 5/-. And if there was anyone not interested for the Pink Floyd then there were some other option available for them too in the form of other ‘pop’ acts, including The Who, Cream and Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames. And for all those lovers of jazz , the foremost lure was Cleo Lane and John Dankworth.

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The other main events in the programme included the ambitious (and doomed) plan by artist William Mitchell which was about painting a huge Union Jack on the surface of the sea; concrete poetry installations; a raft moored between the piers which had three pylons on it bearing the words ‘LOVE’, ‘PASSION’ and ‘BEAUTY’ in large (gradually wilting) letters; and, on the beach, a ‘Bonfire of the Vanities’ fuelled by whatever people considered ugly! And thus due to all these mind-blowing events and a tremendous response by the people this festival was adjudged as a huge success and an annual event was born.

The second festival took place in May, 1968 which was a great extravaganza in which a total of 100 events were promised in the time span of 16 days with its main aim being to attract the townsfolk and the visitors to take a look at the arts and allow them an opportunity to seek the new development in the field of culture. Another major attraction that lured the people towards this event was the science fiction which turned out to be the major theme which was discussed in a weekend conference and was reflected majorly in the form of poetry readings, music, and film. Another major concert there was a theme the big opening concert was ‘Belshazzar’s Feast’ performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and conducted by Sir William Walton.

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Also apart from all these attractions, there were also some new waterborne attractions which were 150 foot high ‘Seatotems’, inflatable tubes anchored to float in a cluster between the piers which didn’t prove to be a disappointment like last year. And, for the children, an aqua-pneumatic trampoline, built over the paddling pool near the West Pier and filled with coloured liquid. If the programme of pop concerts is concerned there was, jazz and which was then called ‘light music’ included Sandie Shaw singing that year’s Eurovision winning song – ‘Puppet On A String’.

This show has always been a major center of attraction right from the time it has started, in fact every year the bar of the show has been raised to such a high level that the audience and people visiting from different countries and left mesmerized by this sparkling event. Last year this event completed 50 glorious years with each year being a huge success in itself. The ranking and fame increasing every year in leaps and bounds. So if you have also started feeling an ultimate urge to visit this event So, It’s time for you to stop ogling over the brochures and get yourself out there and enjoy to the fullest, who knows you may be also able to witness something amazing.

This Blog is written by Mr. Ajay Dhanda. If you like this article please comment and share below. Thank you So much.