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Biggest yet Burning the Clocks planned for 2023

Community arts organisation Same Sky is planning the largest lantern parade for its annual winter solstice celebration on 21 December 2023.

Following the success of Burning the Clocks 2022, event organiser Same Sky has invited more community groups and expanded the parade by 40% for its much-loved celebration.

Burning the Clocks brings the city together to celebrate the shortest day of the year and provide an antidote to the excesses of Christmas. This year’s theme is Clocks, which will be reflected in the lanterns made by the community for the parade.

Artistic Director John Varah said: “Burning the Clocks is having its great reset, passing the time with ticking distractions, delightful nonsense, and a thousand illuminations; to render a few dark, silent hours even stiller.”

2,300 Brighton and Hove residents with their handmade lanterns are due to take part in the parade and more than 28,000 people are expected to line the streets on 21 December to watch the parade and the end of procession fireworks from the beach. The Parade begins on New Road and finishes on Brighton seafront near the end of the ZipWire.

New community groups involved in the lantern parade for the first time include Sikhs of Sussex, Tarner Community Project, Manor Road Gym in East Brighton, Unified Rhythm, Rap ‘n’ Rhyme, Ledward Centre, Afrori, BARCO and Hummingbird and Making our Mark from Whitehawk. They will be joined by regular parade participants from Woodcraft Folk and local Guides and Scouts groups.

Unique lanterns and puppets each year

Unique new puppets and lanterns are developed every year for the annual parade and this year the Same Sky Artists will present a range of pieces that will come together and be assembled on the beach to reveal a remarkable antique timepiece.

Same Sky Executive Producer, Rob Batson, said: “We’re excited to bring our biggest event and lantern parade to the streets of Brighton this year. It’s going to be spectacular with some incredible new puppets, music and performances from every corner of our wonderful community.”

One new artwork on show for the first time is a Windrush replica displaying a critical evaluation of the UK’s immigration policies and failings – it was created in partnership with Same Sky, Afrori Bookstore and Brighton Anti Racist Community Organisation (BARCO). The artwork was created to coincide with this years’ 75th anniversary of the arrival of the HMT Empire Windrush – the ship that brought one of the first large groups of post-war West Indian immigrants to Britain.

Onlookers watching the parade are encouraged to contribute funds into donation buckets and card readers along the route to help fund the event. There is also a crowdfunder campaign that offers different prizes including personalised lanterns for the parade, limited-edition prints and a chance to lead the procession. People can also receive VIP passes to watch the bonfire and fireworks part of the event from a prime location on the beach. There are also limited edition original prints from regular artist Graham Carter, who has created a brilliant poster for 2023.

Burning the Clocks is supported by Arts Council England and the Chalk Cliff Trust, whose contributions have aided the rising costs of materials, labour, and transport. Moshimo Restaurant, Hand Brew Co. and Sea Lanes have also made in-kind contributions to support the event.

From 5 November, people can purchase lantern kits to take part in the parade from multiple 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.

Lantern kits cost £40 (including VAT) and contain materials to make two lanterns, instructions for construction, and four wristbands which allow you to join the parade.

Same Sky is also looking for volunteers to join the parade and support the bucket donations team and also to support the lantern passing on the beachfront. If you have a few hours to spare on the evening of the 21 December please register your interest here.

You can support Burning The Clocks by volunteering or supporting their crowdfunding campaign here.

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