Lucky 13: Brite Winter returns to live entertainment this weekend

After last year's virtual programming, Brite Winter, the arts and music festival designed specifically to beat the winter blues, returns to the West Bank of The Flats this weekend for its 13th year.

Photo - Bob PerkoskiThe party begins this Saturday, Feb. 26 from 3 p.m. to midnight. This year has the theme of “Lucky 13,” with 13 art installations, entertainers, 30 musical acts on four stages, plenty of Platform beer, and eight food trucks.

And, of course, Brite Winter’s mascot, Fluri—a fluffy, blue giant—will be on hand to entertain.

Last year, the festival went virtual with free online programming because of the pandemic, but remained true to their vision of giving Cleveland low cost and accessible events that celebrate community, art, and music throughout the winter season.

“I’m really excited to bring this back to the community, and have people experience all the art and music,” says Morgan Passek, Brite Winter programming and marketing chair. “That’s what really connects us.”

Because it’s the Lucky 13th Year, Brite Winter organizers took steps to organize the festival in the safest way possible—by staging everything completely outdoors around The Flats.

This year, more than 400 bands applied to play Brite Winter. More than 50 community volunteers helped choose the lineup of 30 bands—29 of which are from Northeast Ohio. The School of Rock Cleveland Headliners kick the music off at 3 p.m. on Saturday, while the headliner, Nashville-based, independent rock band Colony House will perform on the Hyland Stage at 10 p.m.

“We have everything from alternative rock to hip hop, to a punk band,” says Passek. “There will be a whole variety—everyone can find an artist to listen to.”

Photo - Robert MullerEight food trucks and Platform Beer Co. will be on the scene, including Swensons, Manna Truck, and Wild Spork, just to name a few.

Artists, volunteers, and Ingenuity Cleveland Ingeneers have been busy this week making 13 interactive luck-themed installments at Ingenuity Cleveland at the Hamilton Collaborative. One installment is “Wish Upon A Star” by Cleveland Metropolitan School District students, which is “fluorescent Day Glo and sparkly,” says Passek. “It’s going to be really neat to see. People can write down their wishes and put it on the piece to make it whole.”

Then there’s the “Lucky the Elephant” feeding area by artist educator Melissa Moon, which features a larger-than-life elephant that people can climb into. “It’s a nice place for people to sit in and watch music happening,” predicts Passek. “It’s going to be really neat to see.”

Tickets are $5, while those ages 18 and younger can enter for free using the promo code KIDSFREE (but a ticket is required). “We really wanted to make this accessible for everyone,” says Passek.

Brite Winter runs from 3 p.m. to 12 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 26, and gates open at 2 p.m. For a complete schedule and map, click here.

Read more articles by Karin Connelly Rice.

Karin Connelly Rice enjoys telling people's stories, whether it's a promising startup or a life's passion. Over the past 20 years she has reported on the local business community for publications such as Inside Business and Cleveland Magazine. She was editor of the Rocky River/Lakewood edition of In the Neighborhood and was a reporter and photographer for the Amherst News-Times. At Fresh Water she enjoys telling the stories of Clevelanders who are shaping and embracing the business and research climate in Cleveland.