The aim of the Brighton Festival is to stimulate townsfolk and visitors into taking a new look at the arts and to give them the opportunity to assess developments in the field of culture where the serious and the apparently flippant ride side by side.
– Ian Hunter, Artistic Director; introduction to the 1968 Brighton Festival programme
Brighton Festival is a celebration of music, theatre, dance, circus, art, film, literature, debate, outdoor and family events, which takes place in various venues around Brighton and Hove each year. It was established in 1967. The Who performed at Brighton Dome on 21 April 1967, setting the scene for the first Brighton Festival: it has now become the country’s largest annual multi-arts festival.
The Spiegeltent is always a festival favourite, with its own prime site at the Old Steine Pleasure Gardens. As well as hosting interesting acts and excellent Fringe events, the Spiegeltent gardens are a wonderful place to hang out and savour the atmosphere.
1980s Bruckl STC Super Trick Cycle
The first time I ventured into the Spiegeltent with a bicycle at the Brighton Festival was in 2013, when I took my 1918 Harley Davidson bicycle to photograph it in their gardens. This year I decided to take a bicycle that was more appropriate to circus performance: a 1980s Bruckl Trick Bicycle. It’s essentially a unicycle with an extra wheel and handlebars, and is similar to the American ‘Swing Bicycle’.
Spiegeltents were originally travelling dance halls so most of the entertainment was in the form of travelling dance organs and live dance bands. They travelled with the fairgrounds, which came to villages once a year. They are free-standing structures that can be erected on soft or hard surfaces. Their circular structures are decorated in an Art Nouveau style with bevelled mirrors, wooden booth seating with glass partitions, a false ceiling of velvet canopies and a dance floor.
This year, the Tivoli is being used – a replica of the original 1920 Tivoli spiegeltent.
1918 HARLEY DAVIDSON BICYCLE
50 YEARS OF BRIGHTON FESTIVAL