Lancaster helps to light up the north

When Light Up Lancaster illuminates the city’s streets and skies this November, it will be playing its part in lighting up the North from Leeds to Durham and Salford to Blackpool.

Tuesday, 12th October 2021, 12:30 pm
Updated Monday, 18th October 2021, 11:06 am
Entwined Light which will be in The Storey is one of the installations funded by the SHINE programme supported by four Light Up The north festivals.

The two-day Lancaster festival is part of the Light Up The North network and partnership which organises light festivals in cities across the North of England.

Coun Sandra Thornberry, Lancaster City Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for arts and culture, said: “Light Up Lancaster has been a member of Light Up The North network since it was launched and has benefited from sharing and learning from collective experiences and by joining forces on various projects - whether this is supporting emerging light artists or joint commissioning light artwork by acclaimed artists from around the UK and internationally.

The network has also allowed organisers of Light Up Lancaster to visit other light festivals and gather ideas for new and innovative artworks that will delight visitors to the event from both near and far.”

Spot Lasertonic on the outside of Lancaster Castle. It's one of the installations funded by the SHINE programme supported by four Light Up The North festivals.

This year, the first city to kick off the Light Up season is Leeds from October 14-16 with the UK’s largest annual arts and light festival – Light Night Leeds.

Even in the middle of a pandemic last year, Light Night Leeds went ahead as Laser Light City allowed a socially distanced public to control lasers mounted on seven of the city’s iconic buildings.

If anywhere is famous for lights, it must be Blackpool and its Lightpool festival began in 2016 to celebrate the illuminations by bringing contemporary light and fire artists to the resort.

This year, Lightpool takes place from October 15-30 while the illuminations continue shining until January 3.

The Judges Lodgings garden will host the Digital Playground, one of the installations funded by the SHINE programme supported by four Light Up The North festivals.

Just as Lightpool ends, Lancaster joins in the fun from November 5-6, promising captivating light projections, fantastic film, colourful robotic inflatables and magical giant lanterns, at various city centre locations, ending with a spectacular fireworks display over Lancaster Castle.

Light Up Lancaster grew from a partnership between Lancaster City Council’s annual fireworks display and a pilot event celebrating art and light in 2012.

The intention was to create a small but magical after-dark multi-artform trail the night before the fireworks. The pilot event caught the public imagination and attracted thousands.

From there, Light Up Lancaster gained further funding and support to become a weekend festival of art and light incorporating the annual fireworks.

Light Up Lancaster is also one of four of the Light Up The North festivals which have joined together this year to support the SHINE programme. This aims to nurture and develop new talent, giving artists the chance to exhibit or perform new work so some of the installations around the city will be seen for the very first time.

Later in the month, from November 18-21, Durham takes on the Light Up mantle with its Lumiere, a biennial event which is now the UK’s leading artist-led light festival, and Salford Quays host the finale of the Light Up The North season with Lightwaves from December 3-12.

* Light Up Lancaster takes place from 5-10pm on November 5 and 5-7.30pm on November 6. The festival culminates with the Fireworks Spectacular from 8pm on the Saturday. For festival queries contact Lancaster Visitor Information Centre on 01524 582394.