Summer in the city: what’s happening in and around Brighton
We’re moving from Birmingham down to the South Coast to give you the low down on some of the exciting events that have taken place in Brighton since May.
The city comes alive during the summer, and after two years of uncertainty and cancellations, the whole area was more than ready to show the world exactly how thrilling it is to live here during the warmest months of the year. That feeling of relief, coupled with the unprecedented heat, has made 2022 one to remember down on the coast. There is only one place to start when it comes to summer events, and that is with the return of Brighton and Hove Pride.
Firmly established as the UK’s most popular international Pride Festival, Brighton and Hove Pride attracts a diverse audience from across the globe and is singularly the most popular visitor attraction in the city’s events calendar. The sole ethos of the weekend event is to promote tolerance, diversity, inclusion and education within the community. This year’s triumphant return proved to be an overwhelming success. As well as the endless number of events that were spread across the city, the bombastic street parties and the power of the protests, We Are Fabuloso, in Preston Park, featured standout performances from headliners Christina Aguilera on the Saturday and Paloma Faith on the Sunday. It felt so good to witness it once more, after a two-year absence.
Staying in the world of huge events, The Great Escape was back with a bang this year and it didn’t disappoint either. Back in May, the summer kicked off the way it should with The Great Escape giving audiences the opportunity to discover the best of the UK’s underground music scene. A true Brighton and Hove staple, the sprawling festival showcased the best of the city’s music venues, theatres, pubs, bars and street corners.
A whole host of students from BIMM University – our close creative partner – performed across the city as part of The Great Escape. Lime Garden played Amazon’s New Music Stage, one of the biggest stages at the whole festival, Working Men’s Club played Chalk and Phoebe Green performed at the seafront’s Coalition. Other acts booked throughout the weekend included DITZ, Edie Bens (pictured), Orchards, Penelope Isles, The Elephant Trees, The Hara, Thumper and many more. BIMM even had their own stage at Brighton’s iconic Hope and Ruin, which saw ARXX, Bicurious, Phoenix Laoutaris, Mantra, The Nu and Freddie Lewis all perform there.
Speaking of music, one of the most talked about events on the calendar was Fatboy Slim’s double-whammy beach extravaganza that helped to celebrate the famous Big Beach Boutique’s 20th anniversary. On July 13th 2002, UK music history was made when 250,000 ravers flocked to Brighton Beach for a party unlike anything seen before or since. Although the July 2022 gigs were a little more intimate, the Hove-based DJ certainly still knows how to whip the crowd up into a frenzy and the gigs were lauded as a total success and a worthy tribute to that famous weekend back in 2002.
From music back to film, and Brighton Rocks International Film Festival returned to the city over the weekend of 22-24 July, screening 125 films to an audience of more than 500 attendees and received funding and support from nonother than the BFI. Their Guests of Honour this summer included the director Ben Wheatley, the actor and director Gareth Tunley as well as the screenwriter William Nichols. In their own words, BRIFF is a young festival with big ambition: to become the UK’s main festival for indie and underground cinema. They embrace the philosophy that the city of Brighton is a mecca for artists and creatives from all walks of life but it is also a state of mind, an attitude, a spirit. If any budding filmmaker has an idea that embodies those ideals and aspirations, they want to help it get the recognition it deserves. The 6th Annual Festival is scheduled for 21 – 25 June 2023, and they are welcoming submissions for it already.
There was so much cultural activity and events in and around Brighton and Hove this summer, we have only just scratched the surface. How could we forget the triumphant England Women’s football team taking to the turf at the AMEX stadium and thrashing Norway 8-0? That mammoth victory set them up on their road to glory. The outstanding ‘This Is The Modern World,’ exhibition took over a large part of the city in July and August. Showcasing the biggest ever collection of Mod memorabilia spanning two decades of Paul Weller’s career launched in its spiritual home of Brighton, in Valley Gardens. Adjacent to St Peter’s Church, the month-long event was in the heart of a city which was the location featured on the cover artwork of seminal Jam album Setting Sons and made legendary by the 1979 cult film Quadrophenia.
Colourful events of celebration, peaceful protests, film festivals, high-level sport and live music aplenty, this is what Brighton stands for: diversity, activity, creativity and endless choice. This summer it was back to something like business as usual for the sunny seaside town, and it was a joy to be part of it for everyone at Screen and Film School Brighton.