Festivals are fun. Unfortunately, festival season won't really start for a few months, with a whole bunch of cool options usually happening between spring and fall. Winter, it seems, is just too cold for some people to plan cool outdoor events that don't involve skiing, skating, or other snow-based "-ings." But fret not lovers of arts, music, and snow, for the folks behind Brite Winter understand that February is actually an awesome time for people to party outside.
Brite Winter, a one-day music and arts festival held in Cleveland's Ohio City neighborhood, will offer up plenty of treats from 4 to 11 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 21. The sixth-year celebration was an idea with small plans that just kept getting bigger. The event's first run was expected to have roughly 80 attendees and ended up with 500 eager audience members listening to three bands. This year's version is expected to see over 20,000 people flock to Ohio City for over 60 bands and several engaging art displays while the wintry setting provides a pretty unusual gathering place.
What's really cool about Brite Winter - apart from the weather, of course - is that the event is free thanks to donations, grants, and partnerships, so you can party throughout Ohio City and listen to Erie Reader-approved headliner Maps & Atlases and check out a burning art piece for zero dollars. And if you do like spending money, there are plenty of tasty options from accessible food trucks and beer vendors, which are things that are worth buying!
It's not often you get to see a music and art celebration of this size in February, partially because of the reason that makes Brite Winter so intriguing in the first place - the weather. Still, Brite Winter will go on, whether there is snow or more snow.
"It does make things more challenging," says Brite Winter Executive Director Brian Horsburgh. "But we want it to snow. The biggest challenge was last year when it went down to 10 degrees. All of our sound syetems outside were run on iPads and things like that, and at about 17 degrees, all of that stuff stops working. All of our credit card machines stopped working. The only thing that stayed on was our generator, so the music went on and people built bigger fires."
Of course, non-functional machines is a bit annoying, so Horsbaugh pointed out that there would be twice as many heaters this year, as well as more wood for fires, which should keep things operational and help warm up the average festival attendee at Brite Winter's wonderland. Given that it is a free event, the folks at Brite Winter have started a small Kickstarter campaign as well to help provide even more goodies for festival goers, so click here to donate. More details on Brite Winter can be found at the festival's website. Check out Maps & Atlases playing "Winter" in short sleeves below.