To bring joy to the Cleveland community through arts and music.
Once upon a time, a couple of friends were sharing a pitcher on a patio at the end of the summer. Conversation turned to two things: what can younger people do to get more involved in the community; and what are things you’ve always wanted to do. We decided that Cleveland really needed to embrace winter and have fun with it. We would have been content to have a keg of Christmas Ale in someone’s backyard in a snowstorm. Instead, we ended up finding an enormous amount of support in the community and way too many things to show off in this town. Our first event consisted of 800 people listening to music, building snow forts, and sliding around on ski-bikes in an urban park. Year 2 lead to even more partnerships and fun.
We called Ohio City home from 2012 through 2015, eventually establishing a festival village that drew up to 20,000 visitors. (See the Plain Dealer’s Writeup: "I can’t wait until next year.") Brite Winter turned a normal, winter Saturday into one of the most popular and profitable weekends in an already bustling neighborhood.
In 2016, we returned back to our roots – back to the Flats. Mother Nature smiled upon us with high temperatures in the 60’s, allowing 20,000 visitors to enjoy music, art, views of Cleveland’s magnificent bridges, and each other. In 2020-2021, we shifted gears and used virtual spaces to continue to bring joy to our community through the arts, even during a pandemic. And now, we are looking forward to returning to the Flats again to celebrate Cleveland in person in February 2022.
Twelve years spanning three neighborhoods (and in virtual spaces), 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 we know we love Cleveland - our musicians, our artists, our local businesses, our neighborhoods, and our people. We are honored to be Cleveland's music and art festival.
Over the past few years, we have changed 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. We continue to reach out and try to get more individuals and more communities involved in our little winter festival. We use our voices and mission to support racial and social justice. And more than anything, we wait in wonder with a healthy dose of anxious excitement, looking forward to whatever Cleveland will deal us next.