Lancaster dazzles for two day light festival

Lock and Key display at Lancaster Castle for the Light Up Lancaster Festival. Picture by Darren Andrews.
Lock and Key display at Lancaster Castle for the Light Up Lancaster Festival. Picture by Darren Andrews.

Thousands visited the city at the weekend to witness Lancaster light up in spectacular style.

Around 7,000 people gathered for Light Up Lancaster Festival which saw interactive art and a host of illuminations around the city centre.

Illumaphonium display at Light Up Lancaster Festival. Picture by Darren Andrews.

Illumaphonium display at Light Up Lancaster Festival. Picture by Darren Andrews.

Brought to you by Lancaster Arts City Partners - a consortium of local arts organisations, Lancaster City Council and Lancaster BID, the event drew

“It’s great to see Light Up Lancaster and other festivals in the district growing year on year,” said Coun Darren Clifford, responsible for leisure, culture and tourism at Lancaster City Council.

Inside Lancaster Castle, visitors had to work together to crack a musical code in ‘Lock and Key’ underneath a backdrop of a large scale interactive projection which told the story of the castle as a prison and fort.

Visual Artist Steve Messam, in a finale of a series of commissions across Lancashire presented ‘When The Red Rose’ - a mass of red balloons hoovering above the ground within the Storey Gardens.

Artists from France literally brought visitors closer together encouraging them to touch and link hands in order to bring the front of the Judges’ Lodgings alive with colour and sound.

Local dance organisation Ludus presented Light Rain, a playful and atmospheric piece of movement, projection and sound in Sun Square in a reference the torrential rain experienced at previous festivals which thankfully held off during this year’s event.

And in a first for Lancaster, artists from Valencia brought their unique Falla to Lancaster.

‘D is for Dinosaur’ was Valencian artist Mario Gual del Olmo’s reflection on the history of Lancaster and went on display on Friday before being set alight the following night at a local bonfire display.

Las fallas’ traditionally sees hundreds of sculptures paraded through the city’s streets over five days in Valencia then burned in ‘las cremàs’ (the burnings).

Arts organisation Green Close, led by local artist Sue Flowers, brought the tradition to Lancaster.

Accompanying the falla sculpture was a delegation from the Valencian Falla Committee, representatives of Valencian tourism bodies and the ‘Fallera Mayor’ Raquel Alario, the Queen of the Fallas festival.

The Valencian delegation was welcomed by Lancaster Mayor Richard Redfern, city council leader Eileen Blamire and county councillor Lizzi Collinge, a fluent Spanish speaker who has lived in Spain.

“The atmosphere in Dalton Square was splendid, with the presence of the Valencian band and the enjoyment of our best-known dish, paella,” said Montse Català, vice president of the Falla Committee.

On both Friday and Saturday, Lancaster’s City Museum was open to illuminate and animate the unheard voices and untold stories from the King’s Own Royal Regiment. Further down on the Lancaster Canal, The Dukes presented a floating sculpture and lantern display that local schools produced with lantern artists.

On Saturday night, following a programme of workshops and tours, the finale of the annual fireworks spectacular was launched from the towering keep of Lancaster Castle and attracted thousands to view the dazzling display from across the city.

This year, Lancaster and Morecambe Lions Club joined the event as they collected donations from visitors. The thousands raised will go directly towards future festivals as well as support local charities like St John’s Hospice and Lancaster and District Homeless Action Service.