Bundle Up on February 18 for #Brite17

What’s next? 

Cleveland has had quite a year. The Cavs. The RNC. The Tribe. Public Square. Accolades from near and far. For once, we’re not saying, “Well, there’s always next year.” It IS next year. For those of us born and raised here, it’s odd. We’re always waiting for the other shoe to drop, always looking for what will go wrong next.

But maybe…

Maybe what’s next is good.  Maybe what’s next is up to us to determine.  Maybe what’s next depends on our ability to adapt and use what is at hand to our best advantage.

This year will be our eighth annual Brite Winter. We spent two years in the Flats near what is now Merwin’s Wharf.  We literally weathered a blizzard our first year and found out the hard way that yes, you need to cover bands if you want them to play in the snow; and a rear-wheel drive U-Haul van is tough to drive on unsalted brick roads.  Year 2 was cold and dry, and started our exploration of programming outdoor, indoor, and “quasi-indoor” spaces.  We are now happy to see the Metroparks, one of the best park systems in the nation, reclaiming that underused bank of our crooked river and turning it into a place where people access their natural environment and gather in friendship.

The next four years were spent in Ohio City.  Wow, has that neighborhood become a powerhouse.  Craft beer and food are thriving, housing is booming, and artisans are bustling.  Our time there saw a range of weather from those snow bands barreling across Lake Erie and dumping inches upon inches of fluffy white stuff on us; to two years in a row of temperatures so cold that we actually had to heat the beer in order to keep it flowing.

Year 7 was lucky indeed. Our move back to the West Bank of the Flats was one that ended up being supported heartily by Mother Nature.  We had record-breaking high temperatures of 66 degrees in February (!), which apparently encouraged record-breaking crowds to come out of hibernation and enjoy Brite.

Seven years spanning 3 locations, hundreds of thousands of guests, hundreds of bands and artists, and temperatures as low as 8 and as high as 66.  When we ask, “what’s next,” we really don’t know. But that’s kind of the beauty of Brite Winter – and of Cleveland.  We don’t know what hand will be dealt to us on any given day, in any given year. But we do know we’ll be ready for the challenges and opportunities that life in Northeast Ohio present.

So, what’s next for us…  We are thrilled to be returning to the Flats on Saturday, February 18, 2017.  This is a neighborhood also in the midst of a positive transformation.  We are changing the way we make decisions about the musicians and artists involved in Brite Winter, asking up to 50 members of the community to help us make programming decisions, and involving more people just like you in making art. We continue to reach out and try to get more individuals and more communities involved in our little winter festival.  And more than anything, we wait in wonder with a healthy dose of anxious excitement, looking for what Cleveland will give us next.