On an unusually warm night in February, a few friends and I went down to the Flats West Bank to experience this year’s Brite Winter Art + Music Festival. Thousands of people gathered to enjoy event tents, food trucks, local breweries and music all for the free price of admission.
The festival hosted a bevy of artists including Wesley Bright and the Honeytones, The Modern Electric, Ottawa and The Lighthouse and The Whaler, who rounded out the night with an encore of their song “I Want to Feel Alive.” Flurry, Brite Winter’s own blue dancing Sasquatch mascot, accompanied the band for a memorable closing performance.
Adjacent to each stage were tents that hosted local food stands and artists, including an art installation devoted to the life of Frida Kahlo. Each tent was uniquely adorned with decorations that celebrated Cleveland’s diversity and cultures from Latin America to Asia. In one tent, I found my feet covered in sand from an aquatic-themed dance party, while in another I found myself in the middle of a frozen fiesta complete with a mariachi band.
Brite Winter truly captured the spirit of the city. Each bar hosted local band performances while local breweries set up shop next to some of the city’s best food vendors. An outdoor disco ball illuminated the entire street, situated next to a larger-than-life retired Navy ship. Marshmallows roasted over fire pits as hand painted murals served as a backdrop. For one night, Cleveland helped us forget that winter isn’t over yet.