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Festival premieres light art spectacles

If you thought Light Up Lancaster was just about fireworks – think again.

This free festival, making a welcome return after a year’s absence due to Covid, takes place over two nights on November 5-6, giving residents and visitors the chance to experience art as they may never have seen it before.

And as the theme for 2021 is Flights of the Imagination, anything could happen!

“It just seemed ideal, given how everyone has had such a tough time and been restricted during the pandemic, to throw off the shackles and let our imaginations take us to places where there are no boundaries,” explained the festival’s creative producer, George Harris.

“Imagination can take you anywhere and we invited artists to do just that and transport us all into a magical never never land of light art. They have up come up with fun, playful and beautiful installations that audiences are going to be enchanted by.”

Some light installations will be seen for the first time at Light Up Lancaster including Karl Wilby’s magical light-based animated sculptures - Zomotion zoetropes -   which will ‘fly’ in Storey Gardens.

Also brand new is And Then I Slipped, a waterfall of light, inspired by waterfalls seen in classic children’s films including Jungle Book and The Lion King. Created  by awardwinning digital art and performance company, idontloveyouanymore, this installation can be seen in Lancaster Priory.

And a rare combination of light art, robotics, inflatables and puppeteering produced by Air Giants will take over Sun Square when an imaginary new creature, Luma, comes to play among a garden of weird and wonderful plants.


New for this year’s festival will be an Art Fair where families can try traditional crafts including Islamic paper art, paper lantern-making and henna art. This multi-cultural arts celebration is brought to the city by Preston City Mela who will ‘pass the light’ to Lancaster as Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights, draws to a close.

And there will be a chance to explore Lancaster’s new High Street Heritage Action Zone when Sound Intervention’s Projector Bikes take visitors on a short tour of the Mill Race area, following a trail of animation, projection and live music in the footsteps of a young Afghan refugee as she searches for fellow creative spirits among the darkened city streets.

All the light installations are within walking distance of each other and are completely free.  They can be viewed from 5-10pm on November  5 and 5-7.30pm on November 6. The festival culminates with the Fireworks Spectacular which can viewed from across Lancaster from 8pm on the Saturday.

A Light Up Lancaster Trail can be downloaded from the free LoyalFree app via the App Store and a printed map will be available a couple of weeks before the event from Lancaster Visitor Information Centre, also the information hub for any festival queries (01524 582934).

Light Up Lancaster is organised by Lancaster City Council, Lancaster BID and The Dukes.  It is funded by Arts Council England, Lancaster City Council and Lancaster BID.

Last updated: 04 October 2021

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