Brite Winter Shines
Cleveland's coolest festival is gearing up for another big year
By Annie Zaleski, Image by Cody York
Clevelanders never let frigid wind chills keep them inside, especially when there's fun to be had.
In fact, one of the city's most popular festivals will be cooler than ever when it returns to the Flats West Bank on Feb. 24, 2018.
Now in its ninth year, Brite Winter—which drew 20,000 people in 2017—will boast an eye-popping (and ear-pleasing) mix of indoor and outdoor activities for attendees of all ages.
“As always, we'll have bonfires, S'mores, warming tents, ice carving, food trucks, hot chocolate and plenty of Platform beer," said Brian Horsburgh, executive director of the nonprofit Brite Cleveland, which presents Brite Winter.
The three warming tents will be of particular interest to those who enjoy Brite Winter's showcase of local artists, Horsburgh added: “Emily Appelbaum [artistic director of Ingenuity Cleveland] and her team are creating an intergalactic journey through the lands of fire and ice.”
This year's musical entertainment is spread over seven stages, with five indoor venues (upstairs and downstairs at the Music Box Supper Club, as well as at Mulberry's and McCarthy's) and two outdoor spaces, the CoverMyMeds Main Stage on Elm Ave. and the Stage Under the Bridge.
Even more impressive, the lineup features headlining national act Atlas Genius—a high-energy indie-rock band fond of synth accents and pop hooks—along with the crème de a crème of local musicians. The diverse roster spans hip-hop (FreshProduce), eclectic soul (Mourning a BLKstar, Marcus Alan Ward), indie-pop (Seafair, Poro), punk (Sonder Bombs), rock (Herzog, Falling Stars, Ray Flanagan & The Authorities) and singer-songwriters (Shawn Brewster, Holden Laurence).
And because Brite Winter knows that rocking out and exploring games and art will make attendees work up quite an appetite, the event has booked an abundance of dining options. Food trucks slated to sling grub so far include Wholly Frijoles, the Manna Truck, Barrio, Graeter's Ice Cream, Brewnuts, Beckham's B&M Bar-B-Que and Krav Food Truck.
Incredibly, Brite Winter is free, although there are two VIP ticket packages available. The $45 "Heat Me Up" option includes perks such as private restrooms, access to a VIP heated tent with an exclusive bar, viewing close to the stage and bottomless hot chocolate, while the $195 "Let It Snow" package adds on a room at the Aloft Cleveland Downtown, shuttle service to the festival and a Brite Winter "welcome basket" with cozy hats and koozies.
Brite Winter is slated for Saturday, February 24, on the Flats West Bank, and runs from 3 p.m.-1 a.m. (Outdoor programming ends at 11 p.m., with Atlas Genius taking the stage at 10 p.m.) For more information, visit Brite Winter's official website.