Brite Winter - Cleveland Article

Brite Winter 

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Published Dec 31, 2016
Updated Feb 20, 2017

It’s no secret that Cleveland experiences its fair share of snow and cold during the wintertime months. Thanks in large part to its positioning along Lake Erie, the region gets hit by large swaths of snow via a weather phenomenon known as the Lake Effect.

But don’t be dismayed, though. Cleveland and its surrounding communities won’t shut down or become un-travelable when met with a few snowflakes. To the contrary, Clevelanders tend to celebrate the white stuff.

In fact, the city revels in the season during Brite Winter, a music and arts festival held outdoors right smack dab in the middle of winter (Feb. 18 to be exact).  Believe it or not, the festival is one of the hottest places to be during the winter.

Brite is the idea of a few Cleveland friends who wanted to show locals and newcomers that Cleveland is a fun place to be – even in the wintertime.  The resulting shindig, which started eight years ago, drew around 800 passionate locals who sought great live tunes, grown-up fun in the snow and the awesomeness of imbibing a few local beers.

“You have to remember, Clevelanders are a hearty bunch,” Brian Horsburgh, Executive Director of Brite Winter, said.  “We’re proud of our city and proud that we can enjoy it 365 days a year.”

Today, the free, one-day festival draws more than 20,000 people to its outdoor location in the West Bank of the Flats.  

“Discover new music. Discover new art. Discover new stuff in Cleveland. And, while you’re at it, pop into a bar, go outside to roast s’mores and just keep exploring the festival throughout the day,” Horsburgh said.

The centerpoint of the festival revolves around the many musical offerings. Forty bands are coming from Cleveland, as well as eight surrounding states, with genres including alt rock, R&B, reggae, punk, indie rock and more. 

On top of that, Brite features tons of local beer and food from local restaurants and food trucks.

For adventure seekers, the place is awash with hilarious snow-themed games and activities like a giant outdoor skiball game, ice bowling and Angry Bird cornhole (so big that the ‘beanbags’ are actually stuffed plush animals). On top of that, visitors will have access to 12 firepits to roast marshmallows and warm their hands. Then, there are ice carving demonstrations, as well as the massive fire & ice tower that burns huge flames.

But the million dollar question? Will festivalgoers freeze out there?

“This is an all-weather event. We pride ourselves on crafting the festival and its offerings to be a really cool experience no matter the weather,” Horsburgh says. “Plus, if it’s cold, we have 10,000 square feet of heated art experience tents.”

These unique heated tents do much more than warm their inhabitants. These experiential heating tents, which are each 6,000 square feet in size, feature a melding of both art and music.

One tent, which is constructed on top of the area’s sand volleyball courts, will be themed the “Tiki Tundra.” Another tent, which will be complete with music and art from Cleveland’s Hispanic community, is themed “Frozen Fiesta.” And, a third tent will be taken over by several local artists—one of whom is constructing a huge kaleidoscope. 

For more information on Brite Winter, visit

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