Friday, 29 October 2010

Halloween in Brighton

Ever had the urge to dress up as a zombie? Well now's your chance. From zombies at Beach of the Dead to White Night and Halloween Balls, why not check out these Halloween ideas for some gruesome fun...?

Brighton Zombie Walk by Jonathan Stewart

Beach of the Dead IV - 30 October Now in its fourth year, the annual Brighton Zombie Parade begins at 3pm from Brighton Station and ends 2 hours later on Brighton seafront.

Sussex Beacon Halloween Ball – 31 October
B Movie Horror meets Halloween at The Sussex Beacons Fancy Dress Ball.

Halloween Party at Hotel Pelirocco – 31 October
Join one of the funkiest hotels in Brighton for shockingly ghoulish music and an Acoustic set from the Invisible Dead. Mw ha ha ha.

White Night - 30 October
A fantastic array of night-time cultural events and ‘happenings’ across the city to mark the end of British Summer Time. This year’s theme is ‘Illumination’ and major attractions including the Royal Pavilion stay open into the wee hours.

Halloween 3-a-side Tournament - 31 October
Throw on your costumes on for the annual Halloween 3-a-side tournament at Yellowave Beach Sports. Winning prizes for the best individual and team costume. Early entry is recommended as this one always gets booked up. £30 per team.

Preston Manor Ghost Tours - 30 and 31 October
Tour Brighton’s most haunted house on the creepiest nights of the year!
Friday 29, Saturday 30 & Sunday 31 October at 7–8pm. Repeated 8.30–9.30pm & 10–11pm. £12 per person, please book in advance.

Brighton Rock presents Halloween Party - 30 October
Do your best grusome boogies at this fancy dress party, plus bands, at the Hydrant.

Revenge Kinky Dangerous Halloween Ball - 30 October
The Biggest clubnight for Brighton and Sussex LGBTQ societies, dress up and get gory across 2 floors of ghoulish d├ęcor. Run by students, for students, expect the unexpected, plus pop to electro and drum n bass, alternative and dubstep.

For more ideas on things to do in Brighton, check out our What's On section.

Happy Halloween!


Tuesday, 26 October 2010

VisitBrighton Win Best Destination Marketing Award

Well, it's not everyday that you get to meet a stig and win a top accolade from Tourism South East, but last Thursday was one of them...

Up for Best Destination Marketing Award at The Beautiful South Awards, the VisitBrighton marketing team donned their glad rags and jumped aboard their salubrious carriage ( a Brighton & Hove bus) for Mercedes Benz World in Surrey.

Fashionably early, we quaffed a couple of drinks and got our picture taken with a stig. You try talking to a man in a suit with a visor - you can't see or hear him - its most disconcerting. Especially when you are asked to move, like I was, because the photographer couldn't see 'the suit'. Ur yeah, thanks for that.

Anyway, after a rather scrummy dinner of locally sourced food and drink the awards began. Brighton were up for quite a lot of awards and the Destination Marketing Award was up almost last! Kept quiet with petit fours and local wine, the award approached and the Gold Award Winner was, ahem, drum roll please...VisitBrighton!

John our Marketing Manager and me secretly love going up on stage so we didn't need much encouragement to run up to collect the award from the BBC's Nicholas Owen and Mike Bedingfield from Tourism South East. In fact we were so chuffed we forgot to watch our overhead video that we had slaved so laboriously over.

Oh and it was at that point that John and I were quite glad we hadn't followed through on the bet to swap clothes. I.e. me in a DJ and John in a dress.

A great night was had by all and in all seriousness, this is a fantastic recognition of what we do. It shows we must be doing something right and it feels great to know we're at the top of our game in the South (and hopefully further afield too!).

Congrats to John for heading up our small but deadly team and also congrats to all the winners and nominees on the night including:
You can see all the winners on the Beautiful South website.

Here are a couple of pics from the night.


Thursday, 21 October 2010

Beach Tennis

There really is no such thing as an average day in our office as we end up having to do a variety of weird and wonderful things, which is why on a fresh October morning I found myself heading down to Yellowave to play beach tennis!

Perhaps I should try and offer some sort of explanation.... A few weeks ago we started working with a local tennis holiday organiser - Pure Tennis Holidays - in order to arrange a press trip for some European journalists from Tennis magazines. Kasia from Pure Tennis Holidays had been doing some research into Beach Tennis which is apparently very popular in Italy and America but it is currently not available in the UK. We agreed it would be very exciting if Brighton could be the first place in the country to host the sport.

Working with Katie at Yellowave, Kasia managed to source the equipment and arranged a taster session. So here is a group shot of the first people to play beach tennis in the UK (should probably add a disclaimer to say as far as we know). From L - R: Kasia Chmielewska - Pure Tennis Holidays; Damo Sulc - Yellowave; Alastair Williams - International Tennis Federation; Julie Pullen - Pavilion & Avenue Tennis Club Head Coach:

And here are a couple of action shots starting with our Marketing Manager John really going for it!

I have to confess I am not naturally the most sporty of people but I genuinely really enjoyed it, it's good fun and the sort of game that anyone can join in and have a go at. Although next time I play I'll have to try and a) return more balls and b) return them inside the court! Anyway we'll let you know what happens and if Beach Tennis does take off remember you saw it here first...

But in the meantime if we've put you in the mood for some beach sports fun then check out to see the range of activities already on offer including a ghoulish fancy dress Halloween tournament.


Monday, 18 October 2010

Another reason to visit Brighton

One of our lovely hotel partners - Brian Snow of the Avalon - e-mailed me to ask if he could write a guest post as he feels there is an attraction near the city that some visitors may not realise is so easy to get to from Brighton. So here's Brian to tell you more...

People come to Brighton because of the sea. And alongside beach life, the City is one of the most diverse cultural centres in the UK. Add to that the thriving restaurant and club scene and you have the perfect place for a break – almost!

There’s something else on Brighton’s doorstep and if you’re not looking out to sea it can only be inland - the South Downs National Park.

In just over 10 minutes by car or bus from the bustling city centre you can be striding up a chalky ridge to some of Southern England’s most glorious scenery. There are rare plants, birds, ancient fieldworks and burrows, beautiful flint cottages, thousands of sheep and little villages nestling in valleys with stunning old pubs in which to rest and get refreshed.

Tom and I have taken afternoons off from the Avalon to walk the Eastbourne to Alfriston stretch, then the Alfriston to Newmarket Inn (A27 near Lewes) stretch. Virtually all stages along the first half of the South Downs Way (about 50 miles) are reachable in a day, there and back, from Brighton by public transport or by car. Some accommodation providers such as ours will lend you maps and can suggest walks / transport. It’s also a great place to take your dog if he or she is on holiday with you (but remember to respect the livestock!).

Then in the evening, instead of staying miles from anywhere, you can return to the city for all it has to offer.

Thank you Brian for today's post and if you have felt inspired you can found out more about the South Downs countryside on our website or by chatting to our lovely visitor information centre staff.

And for more information about Brian's guest house the Avalon go to:

Friday, 15 October 2010

Simply the (Brighton) Best

Hooray! We’ve got Brighton Racecourse, Brighton Dome and of course Brighton Pier; but now we’ve got Brighton Best! No, for once I am not just bragging about the fact Brighton is the best city as I know you are all aware of that fact by now ;). In actual fact the title of today's post refers to a new beer which was officially launched in the city last night.

Brighton Best is a local beer in every sense in that it has been produced by a Sussex brewery - W J King - and has been brewed especially for, and only available in, Brighton & Hove pubs. But while it has been made and is sold by local people of course visitors are very welcome to drink it too!*

I didn't make the launch event last night and so I haven't had a chance to try the new brew yet, however when I asked my manager John for his review he declared that it was “really lovely – a great tipple” Thanks John for your “expert” analysis however I can't help feeling it is somewhat lacking so instead here is a quote from Head Brewer Ian Burgess: "Colour is light to golden amber. The aroma of Brighton Best combines an astonishingly complex blend of floral hop to light malt with a hint of crystal malt. The mouth feels clean and well balanced with a lingering after palate." Now that's a proper review!

Brighton Best is a light ale which can be enjoyed all evening and of course by buying a pint or two you'll be supporting local business which is great news for everyone. Cheers!

* VisitBrighton supports responsible drinking at all times.


Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Horses Brawl at Brighton Early Music Festival

The Brighton Early Music Festival starts later this month and so for today's post we are handing over the reigns to guest blogger Adrian Lever the guitarist with Horses Brawl to explain what goes on behind the scenes when organising an event during the festival....
So the Brighton Early Music Festival gig is fast approaching and its an exciting time for us at Horses Brawl, as we're venturing into a new project that has its debut at St. Bartholomew's Church, Brighton.

The story of the project goes back to spring this year when our idea of an extended line-up became reality with the news that the Arts Council grant we'd applied for was 'in the bag'. Brilliant news!!! .... But now we had to make it happen.

Because of the nature of the way we work - magpie-ing tunes from all over Europe whether folk, medieval, renaissance or baroque, borrowing phrases, repeating fragments, changing notes, playing two tunes on top of each other to create new 'pieces' - everything develops out of improvisation. There is no score, no defined orchestration, so it all had to be dreamed-up.

The original idea that was pitched to BREMF was a 7-piece line-up that would consist of lots of medieval fiddles and an extra guitar. A few brainstorms later and we'd arrived at (quite literally!) a paired-down version, with me and Laura (Horses Brawl) and Arngeir Hauksson and Rebecca Austin-Brown of the Bardos Band on guitar/lute and recorder/medieval fiddle respectively.

The idea was that both mine and laura's instruments had a double, and with some effective arrangement we could achieve a much more expansive sound with only two extra players. This line-up was then duly sent to BREMF to go in the festival programme...

...but things are never quite that simple!!

We were still hearing other sounds in our heads. Maybe we were just going mad? Or maybe we needed all those fiddles after all.

We wanted a snappy, powerful and concise sound. But we also wanted to explore some sonic landscapes, timbres and textural effects that weren't quite possible with the quartet.

Cue Alexis Bennett (The Early Music Experiment, Dufay Collective) and Jim O'Toole (Joglaresa, La Serenissima, English Touring Opera). Both fiddlers have wide experience playing early, folk and contemporary classical music, and were up for jumping on board and delving into some sonic experiments with us.

So, a 6-piece was born, and we were getting closer to realising the sounds in our head ... except we didn't feel they were satiated just yet ... Cue the gongs!

Through her Performance Masters at the University of East Anglia, Laura forged links with the Sonic Arts department and entered that whole sound-world, creating pieces for solo recorder and computer using Ganassi-style improvisation, and commissioning a piece for tape, voice, electronics and recorder quartet.

Her partner, Andre Bosman, and friend Alex Sanders were both on the course and we knew they'd be on the right wavelength when it came to adding the extra sonic effects we were looking for. We'd watched Alex's band 'Transcept' using gongs to great effect, and decided that was the way forward.

So the two gongs jumped on board, and we've been working at a mix of rhythmic and textural bowing and soft beaters to give eerie sparkle to some of the slower material and some dramatic depth to some of the faster pieces, completing the 8-piece Brighton line-up.

The whole group will come together on the 17th of October for an intensive day rehearsal at Raveningham church, Norfolk, for fine tuning (and lots of other tuning - around 50 strings altogether!) and getting the whole thing to really gel.

I'm really excited to hear it all together - a culmination of lots of organising, work ... and fun! Also to hear how the various pieces reflect the moods and seasonal rituals we've identified them with for the Harvest Queen programme.

The program consists of brand new material for our forthcoming album and some pieces from our last album 'Wild Lament'. We reflected on all the music and came up with the concept, which takes themes, rituals and personal journeys from points around the whole yearly cycle with the harvest as its axis as fundamental in sustaining life throughout the year. Each musical piece reflects a piece within this cycle.

St Bart's has an amazing acoustic that is both immediate and clear and at the same time richly reverberant, so I think it'll be the perfect place to debut the new project- and at one of our favourite festivals! I hope to see you there.

Horses Brawl and their extended line up perform Harvest Queen at St Bartholomew's Church, Ann Street, Brighton, 7.30pm on Sunday, 24th October. Tickets: £6-£15 from (no fee for etickets) or Brighton Dome Ticket Shop: 01273 709709 (£2.25 transaction fee)

Friday, 1 October 2010

Brighton Photo Biennial 2010

It's the launch of the Brighton Photo Biennial tonight and I'm getting quite excited about sneaking into some private views. Well not sneaking exactly, we have been invited!

It looks really stunnig this year, so I thought I'd do a quick roundup of what's in store.

What is Brighton Photo Biennial?
The Biennial is the UK’s leading festival of international contemporary photography. For its fourth edition, Brighton Photo Biennial 2010 presents 'New Documents' this year, guest curated by the internationally renowned photographer, Martin Parr. Which is quite a coup in itself as a well as a reflection of the gravitas of the event.

Its the first ‘frame free’ photography exhibition
'New Documents' will also be the world’s first frame free photography festival. Yep, that really means no frames. So it'll be interesting to see how all the photos look.

What's on show?
The 2010 Biennial will be informed and inspired by the diverse communities and contexts of Brighton & Hove.

'Queer Brighton' at the Lighthouse
There are loads of exhibitions, but personally I'm really looking forward to the Queer Brighton exhibition at the Lighthouse, which will document the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer communities of Brighton & Hove, exploring a range of experiences including the mundane activities of everyday lives.

With such a diverse and long standing lesbian and gay community its surprising no-one has done this before really, so it will be great to see the outcome of the project.

'New Ways of Looking' at the old Co-op building
I'm also looking forward to the New Ways of Looking exhibition at the old co-op building. Having seen 'Before I Sleep' as at the co-op building during the Brighton Festival, it will be really interesting to see how they've used the space of this slightly jaded but incredible building and all its quaint nooks and crannies.

Check out our roundup of the key photo exhibitions or visit for full details. Brochures are also available from the Brighton Visitor Information Centre.

Brighton Photo Fringe
This year, the Photo Biennial will also be supported by the Brighton Photo Fringe, which will bring together a city-wide festival of exhibitions and events that runs alongside the main Biennial.

Both the Photo Biennial and the Brighton Photo Fringe run from 2nd October to 14th November, so you've got loads of time to explore everything on offer.