I have lived in Brighton - well Hove - for five years, and for five festivals.

I am not a learned person and that, coupled with a certain reckless "let's go for it" approach, makes the Brighton Festival so exciting for me.

My first festival took me to an event with a naked man in a fish tank full of water, and another had me being bought a drink in Russian by an actor in full character as part of the play.

2008 was no different in being special, exciting and stimulating. What was different for me was I had some time off work.

We started with toe tapping, laughter and exciting music from the Seckou Keita quartet followed by the brilliance of Andrew Marr chairing a real challenge to make it a conversation with a reticent Gore Vidal.

The following day brought an extraordinary journey through lesser-known poetry and song from the First World War with Andrew and Kate Kennedy and Julius Drake - a very moving and clever way of bringing musical and learned talent together.

Then the innovative, funny, clever and moving Story Of A Rabbit, with Hugh Hughes and best friend Aled, and then to Fabrica for the most extraordinary dance with music, light and so much more in a performance of Glow.

Then came the sad waving to my friends as they went back to London and a realisation that the 2008 festival came, was enjoyed by many, and finally went.

I guess it is back to the programme makers for presumably another year of incredibly hard, courageous and bold work and decision-making.

Here's to the Brighton Festival 2009.

  • Fi McKinlay, Wordsworth Street, Hove