What you need to know for a great Brite Winter Fest night

The night may be cold, but things will be warming up for Brite Winter on Saturday, February 22nd.

It’s the eleventh year of the seasonal art festival, a unique blend of live music and interactive visual mediums. Normally, the only people you see in the Flats on a February night would be a few hearty souls, getting from one location to another as quickly as possible. But at Brite Winter, the closed-off streets will be filled with people enjoying great music, food, games, and more than a few fire drums and space heaters.

Here’s a look at some of the sights from 2019’s festival. 

Held in the West Bank of the Flats from 3pm until 2am, there is plenty to see and do. But before you show up, here’s some info to make your night the best it can be.

It’s free! But you still need a ticket.

Here’s the deal: it’s a free event, and anyone of any age can go. But you need a ticket.

Firstly, sign up online before you go, and bypass the line at the gate. The ticket site is here.

Second: While the event is free, consider making a donation towards the ticket. While there are corporate sponsors that help get the event running, it’s donations from attendees that ensure that there is a Brite Winter next year. You can even volunteer your time, and work a shift at the festival.

There are several tiers of donations, with $10 getting you a pin and drink koozie, for $25 you get a knit hat, $45 gives you exclusive viewing areas, private bathroom trail access, unlimited coffee and hot chocolate, heated tent access, and a private cash bar, and ponying up $250 will get you all VIP access with one nights stay at a hotel.

It’s going to get cold.

You know this, right? It’s Cleveland, you’re near the water, it’s Winter. You know your body. Plan accordingly. While there are some indoor stages and heating stations, you will be standing around in the elements a good part of the time. Layer up, buy a couple hand warmers to stick in your pockets and shoes. While downing a few cocktails or beers may make you think you’re warmer, don’t let yourself be too fooled. And while we’re on the subject of drinking…

Stay hydrated.

No, it’s not a Summer festival, where sweating makes you realize when you need a water break. But your body is sweating just as much under warm clothes, evaporating into the air. And that breath you see on a cold day? That’s water leaving your body as well. You might not know it, but you need to stay as hydrated in the Winter just as much as a hot day.

You can bring a refillable bottle with you, and stash it in your bag to avoid standing in line just to ask for a cup of water. But don’t lick the ice sculptures. That’s gross.

Know the music acts you want to see before you arrive.

A lot of music genres are represented at the festival, and with six stages of over forty acts in one night, it can be overwhelming to know what to check out. Without a plan in mind of what stage you want to hit, and when, you can wind up wandering around, half-catching acts. To help you find your future favorite local musician, Brite Winter has created a Spotify playlist that includes many of the artists who will be performing. Not everyone playing is on the list, but most of the groups not included have songs online you can easily search.

The headliners for this year are Ra Ra Riot, an indie rock outfit from Syracuse, New York.

Figure out how you’re ending the night.

As anyone who’s driven to or from the Flats on a weekend, getting in and out can be an exercise in patience.

Consider parking in a lot around the Center Street Bridge. Walking to the festival with this close-by bridge keeps you from having to navigate the massive lots that are sure to fill fast. It will still be busy, just not AS busy. The same goes for if you are taking a ride-share car: planning a clear pick-up location ahead of time (Like the nearby Flat Iron Cafe or Mulberry’s) will keep your driver from trying to pick you out of a crowd.