Brighton’s annual Burning the Clocks event has become a beloved tradition among residents. It’s a magical community event that marks the shortest day of the year. A few nights before Christmas the streets are filled with crowds of people carrying handmade, intricately designed lanterns. They march through town until they reach the seafront. They throw their lanterns into a blazing bonfire and enjoy a spectacular firework display to mark the end of the year.
SameSky is a local charity that organises the Burning the Clocks event. The event will start on New Road at 6:30pm on December 21st and entry will be free. SameSky expects around twenty-thousand people to attend this year. This includes children, families, artists, bands, and community groups. Robert Batson, SameSky Executive Producer, said: “There is so many cool builds that we are excited to bring to Brighton this year.” People can carry their own lanterns that they have made or purchase lantern kits from SameSky. Robert Batson, SameSky Executive Producer, said: “Some lanterns will have names, hopes, or wishes inscribed on them. Something to remember the past year.”
The event was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic. As Covid restrictions have been lifted and we are making the transition back into normal life Burning the Clocks returns. This year its theme is ‘wild’. Robert Batson, SameSky Executive Producer, said: “It has a lot to do with the feeling of being unleashed and uncaged after two years.” SameSky artist Jo Coles designed the effigy this year, and she took inspiration from the uninhibited elements of central European cultures like the wilder men.
The event costs over £45,000 to produce, and SameSky does not receive regular funding. They rely on donations from their Crowdfunder, fundraising, and support from local businesses to enable this event to take place. Robert Batson, SameSky Executive Producer, said: “As long as we know the community is behind us and that there is support out there for this, this event is going to continue.”
SameSky works with different schools and organisations in Brighton. Robert Batson, Executive Producer at SameSky, said: “We are working with the Hummingbird Project which is a refugee group based in Sussex who have been doing tremendous work.” SameSky also works with artistic group Pebbles and The Woodcraft Folk, who try to involve families in the artistic practice.
Burning the Clocks has a long history in Brighton. It began in 1993 and its aim was to provide a cathartic and uplifting escape from the heavy commercial focus of the Christmas season. It also became a way to embrace the community as everyone could celebrate this event regardless of faith.
SameSky has created lantern kits for residents to purchase if they want to take part in the event. They are available at HISBE Supermarket, The Booklovers Store, The Book Nook, Seed ‘n’ Sprout, and Paxton+Glew.
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