A carnival-style atmosphere will return to the streets of a coastal town next summer.

For the first time in more than a decade, a traditional procession will again take centre stage in Lowestoft.

Eastern Daily Press: The Lowestoft Carnival parade in 2005.The Lowestoft Carnival parade in 2005. (Image: Archant)

It comes as Lowestoft has been selected as one of six towns and cities nationally that will benefit from "a landmark nationwide project".

Historic England has announced that next summer the future of our high streets and shopping areas will be celebrated in partnership with Emergency Exit Arts (EEA).

Eastern Daily Press: The LTFC float at the Lowestoft carnival in 2010.The LTFC float at the Lowestoft carnival in 2010. (Image: Archant)

With EEA - the pioneering outdoor arts company famous for their celebrations at The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Pageant - teaming up with Historic England and First Light Festival CIC, it will see "a unique carnival parade to celebrate Lowestoft" being created.

A Historic England spokesman said: "Hi! Street Fest is an ambitious collaboration project spanning two years, aiming to bring life and vibrancy to shopping areas in six places across England, including Lowestoft.

Eastern Daily Press: Lowestoft carnival day in 1964.Lowestoft carnival day in 1964. (Image: Archant)

"Through street parties and parades, Hi! Street Fest will bring a touch of carnival to each town and city, encouraging local people to come together to create performances that let their creativity loose."

It will see EEA working with First Light Festival to collaborate with people in Lowestoft to bring their unique brand of unforgettable events and participatory experiences to the town.

The project aims to reimagine the shopping district, attract visitors and bring people together to celebrate Lowestoft’s culture.

Eastern Daily Press: Thousands lined the streets for the Lowestoft Carnival on August 10, 1975.Thousands lined the streets for the Lowestoft Carnival on August 10, 1975. (Image: Archant Library)

With the concept of Hi! Street Fest open and flexible, it gives room for co-creation in each place.

Eastern Daily Press: A Disco Turtle Carnival of the Bauble in 2021 overseen by Emergency Exit Arts.A Disco Turtle Carnival of the Bauble in 2021 overseen by Emergency Exit Arts. (Image: Emergency Exit Arts)

The spokesman added: "In 2023, after weeks of outreach and community workshops the project will culminate in a free, spectacular, home-grown procession in Lowestoft on Saturday, June 17 2023."

As part of the project, there will be an open call for three local Community Producer Trainees to take part in a 10-week online training program with EEA, starting in January.

Eastern Daily Press: A scene from the Spring Rising lantern parade in East Dulwich, overseen by Emergency Exit Arts in 2018.A scene from the Spring Rising lantern parade in East Dulwich, overseen by Emergency Exit Arts in 2018. (Image: Emergency Exit Arts)

These Community Producers will learn how to put on projects and events in their area, and apply what they’ve learnt directly to Hi! Street Fest, with further details about the roles in Lowestoft at eea.org.uk


Genevieve Christie, CEO of First Light Festival CIC, said: "Our vision is to shine a spotlight on the incredible talent, creativity, landscapes and communities we have here in Lowestoft, and Hi! Street Fest will give the whole town an opportunity to do just that.

Eastern Daily Press: Genevieve Christie, the director of First Light Festival in LowestoftGenevieve Christie, the director of First Light Festival in Lowestoft (Image: Sarah Lucy Brown)

"As well as the brilliant hands-on creative opportunities the project will offer audiences over the coming months, the resulting parade will be a sensational, carnivalesque opening to our 2023 festival, providing the astonishing street theatre that Emergency Exit Arts have come to be so known for, whilst strengthening ties between Lowestoft’s shopping district and our festival site on South Beach.”

Supported using public funding by Arts Council England, Duncan Wilson, chief executive of Historic England, said: “Hi! Street Fest will give communities from six high streets across the country the chance to connect with their local places and get creative to celebrate what makes them special."

Daniel Bernstein, CEO of Emergency Exit Arts, said: “We are determined that there are opportunities for hundreds of local people in each place we are working with to get engaged in the culture of their high street and help make a real long-term difference to their place.”


For more than 40 years an annual street procession regularly attracted thousands of people to Lowestoft with the parade a major summer spectacle on the town's calendar.

The last street carnival parade in Lowestoft organised by the Friends of Lowestoft Hospital was held in late September 2012.

Back then, the parade was held in September to avoid the Olympic Games - but sadly it rained.

In 2013 - with less than four weeks to go before the planned procession in August - organisers reluctantly said the 2013 procession would not go ahead due to a lack of entrants.

With the committee of the Friends of Lowestoft Hospital organising the annual procession through Lowestoft for decades, they called time on their support for the carnival in March 2014.

A walking ‘Parade on the Prom’ event was held in 2016 as part of the Lowestoft Summer Festival.