brightlingsea festival

Our summer season of music festivals

6 August 2013

music festivals

Last Sunday we drove to a small seaside town, just south of Colchester, to perform at the Brightlingsea Festival. I’ve always thought there was something quite poetic about travelling to the very edge of the country to play music – and the whole experience was made all the better by the fantastically warm welcome we received when we got there.

Brightlingsea Festival is a brilliant community event. Run by enthusiastic, music-loving volunteers, as you can see from the photo above it attracts a buzzing crowd, as well as a wide range of musical styles (we were preceded by jazz and bluegrass bands, and followed by a swing band!).

This was our third appearance at Brightlingsea, and we hope to be back again sometime in the future. In the meantime, here’s a reminder of the other outdoor gigs we have coming up this summer…

Astoria Park Concert Series

If you’re in the New York area, catch us at Astoria Park on Thursday 15 August. Our first Astoria show was in 2010, to a crowd of 2,000 people on the banks of the East River. Magical! Can’t wait to get back. Click here to read more.

Burlington Amphitheater

The Burlington Amphitheater in New Jersey is one of our favourite venues in America. Their concert series is well-known in the community and we always get the chance to meet some tremendous people when we play there. We’ll be back again on Sunday 18 August. Click here to read more.


Back in the UK, we’ll be headlining the Piano Bar stage at Brownstock in Essex on Saturday 31 August. This year’s main stage headliners are The Fratellis, Mark Ronson and DJ Yoda, so there’s plenty of top-drawer musical shenanigans to keep you amused before and after our set. Click here to read more.

Chris Lightyear

Lightyears to play Brightlingsea Festival

6 April 2013

brightlingsea festivalWe’re excited to announce that we’ve been added to the bill for this year’s Brightlingsea Festival, taking place on Sunday 4 August.

Brightlingsea (near Colchester, Essex) is one of the UK’s best-loved small festivals and has been running for twelve years. Organisers have a stellar event planned for 2013, with a varied and exciting line-up of bands rolling out over the course of three days.

Previous shows at Brightlingsea Festival

Our first appearance at Brightlingsea Festival was back in 2006, and we followed this with a repeat performance two years later in the summer of 2008. I wrote the gig up in my tour diary, and LYTV recorded our experience behind-the-scenes – check it out in the video below:

Our Top 20 Moments Of 2008

23 December 2008

George, Danny, Tony & Chris at the 2008 INDY AwardsSo, as 2008 draws to a close, I thought I’d send out a festive greeting to all our fans. Y’know, kinda like The Queen’s Speech.

2008 has been an unpredictable year. We’ve never known quite where we’re gonna end up from one month to another but it’s been a pretty exciting ride all told. 

We have big plans for 2009. Our new album “London, England” is coming out in the New Year and we have a feeling you’re gonna like it! Plus next year is gonna be all about you – the fans – and we’ll be spending our time creating music, media and all manner of delectable treats intended for your voracious consumption. More about that after Christmas… 

In the meantime, we’d like to thank Lightyears fans everywhere for your continuing support of the band. Wherever you are and whoever you’re with, have a disgracefully Merry Christmas and a calamitous New Year.

In the meantime, here are our Top 20 Most Memorable Moments Of 2008:

  1. Performing at London Road stadium to thousands of people (twice!)
  2. Being played on XFM
  3. Being name-checked in The Guardian newspaper
  4. Selling out The Troubadour
  5. Performing in front of Barry Fry and the Mayor of Peterborough
  6. Reaching #45 in the iTunes Plus Top 100 with charity single “Posh We Are”
  7. Touring to Ireland to play at the launch of national music magazine State
  8. Making the short-list for Best Pop Act at the INDY Awards
  9. Presenting the award for Best Female Solo Act at the INDYs alongside Feargal Sharkey and Mike Rutherford
  10. Playing London Astoria 2
  11. Drinking a toast in a Korean jacuzzi at 7am after one of the best gigs of our lives

  12. Performing twice at Glastonbury Festival
  13. Supporting the Mystery Jets at a packed Barfly
  14. Fans at Brightlingsea Festival singing all our lyrics back to us on a hot August evening
  15. Flying Business Class to New York!
  16. Headlining the Time Out Festival in Union Square, Manhattan
  17. Releasing our EP “At Midnight” in the USA and being nominated as “Single Of The Day” at Amie Street
  18. Filming a music video for “Obama Republic
  19. Recording our new album “London, England”
  20. Buying a bitchin’ new van!

Here’s to 2009!

Chris Lightyear

One of the highlights of my summer…

14 August 2008

The Lightyears play Brightlingsea FestivalI am writing this from an idyllic rural paradise in the South of France. Herman & The Hermits are on the stereo, the sun is beating down from high in the blue sky and I am sipping from a glistening, chilled bottle of The Greatest Beer On The Planet – Desperados, a terrific French lager flavoured with tequila. Things are, I think it is safe to say, going pretty well.

However, I digress. I’m not just writing to you to show off about how sweet my holiday is. I did actually have a purpose in mind…

Last Saturday we played a tremendous little festival near Colchester called the Brightlingsea Festival. Brightlingsea’s only a small town but they throw a heck of a party every August – and everybody in the local area comes along. The organisers book a line-up of local and national acts and if the weather’s good, which is usually is, it goes down a storm.

We played for the first time in 2006 and this year we’d been placed near the top of the bill (the only out-of-town band amongst the four final acts), due to hit the stage at 5.30pm. George and I turned up at around 4pm, about twenty minutes after Danny, who is always early. We’d brought Emily with us too, as she’s recently started selling her line of hand-made dresses at LYs gigs and was manning the merch table for us that day. No sign of Tony though. I called him, out of curiosity, just to find out where he was.

“Hello mate. Just thought I’d give you a quick buzz to check everything’s OK. Weather’s looking beautiful – should be a good one…”

The level of concern in his reply was not particularly encouraging.

“Umm… yeah. Look, erm, we are on at 6 o’clock right? Might be just a tad on the late side.”

“No mate – 5.30. Why? Where are you?”

“Well… it’s just I may have very slightly underestimated how long it’s gonna take me to get to Brightlingsea. Where are you now?”

“Brightlingsea. Where are you?”



“I’ll put my foot down.”

I’ll be honest, at that point it wasn’t looking good. George and I sat down to write the set-list and had to come up with a back-up plan to cover the very likely eventuality that Tony didn’t make it in time i.e. vamping on acoustic tunes until the drummer put in an appearance. 

When we filtered onstage at around 5.25 for sound-check, there was still no sign of him. The bill was running about 10 minutes late so we still had some leeway – but not much. Danny set up the drum-kit and then dashed out to the sound-desk to start setting the levels. 

Would we have to start the show with twenty minutes of acoustic numbers? Would Tony cause a massive traffic pile-up on the B1029 to Brightlingsea? Would The Lightyears give the people the show they deserved?

Fortunately, the answer was yes.

George signing CDs at Brightlingsea FestivalAt 5.37, three minutes before we were to due to play our first number, the T-Boss turned up. He was immaculately dressed in black shirt, black tie, black jacket and black shades – but if you knew him well enough, you could detect an air of mania beneath the cool exterior. This man had just pushed through the burn and come out the other side barely intact.

It’s perhaps not appropriate to fully outline some of the sacrifices Tony made in order to reach Brightlingsea in time, but let’s just say that his bladder was tested to its very limits. When you’re as late as he was and you’re doing 90 down the motorway, you can’t really stop for leisurely toilet breaks. That’s just not cricket.

Anyhow, enough of the drama. With The Lightyears’ line-up complete, we were ready to rock. And, I have to say, I thought we played a pretty killer festival set. We opened with She’s The One, Beat Alive and Sleepless to set the tone, and then started knocking out our more anthemic numbers like Run and Brightest Star. The moment when we hit the Brightest Star coda (“You’re the brightest star in the morning light”) and the sun came out – and I could see people in the crowd singing along to a song they’d never heard before – was one of the highlights of my summer. 

Having said that, the thing I loved most about playing this gig was discovering that Brightlingsea has its very own LYs fan club – a group of teenagers who obviously saw us here in 2006 and seemed to know the words to almost every song. They were requesting Banana Republic from the very beginning and so, a few numbers from the end, we gave them what they wanted. A triumphant moment.

If you’re ever in the Colchester area during the first weekend of August, check out the Brightlingsea Fest. It’s a cracking event and a shining example of how British festivals should be.

And now, if you don’t mind, I’m off to the fridge for another bottle of Desperados.

Chris Lightyear