Thousands descended upon Lancaster at the weekend to enjoy this year’s magical two night festival of light and art in the city.
Delivered by Lancaster Arts City, Lancaster City Council and Lancaster BID, the city’s seventh Light Up Lancaster event drew inspiration from this year’s theme ‘Into the Skies’ to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the moon landing.
Lancaster’s heritage buildings, public spaces and community corners were transformed through art commissions, video mapping, music and performance as local and national talent rubbed shoulders with international artists.
This year’s programme saw the artwork Museum of the Moon by Luke Jerram take centre stage. With a diameter of seven metres, the artwork featured 120dpi detailed NASA imagery of the moon’s surface. This magnificent installation was hosted in the medieval Lancaster Priory with a fusion of lunar imagery and moonlight with an enveloping soundscape by BAFTA and Ivor Novello award-winner Dan Jones.
Further cosmic related highlights of the 2019 edition included Lightscape by Italian arts company, mammasONica, presenting an immersive multi-layered experience, in the captivating setting of Lancaster Castle, and the newly commissioned Sun by Alex Rinsler and Professor Robert Walsh which dominated Sun Square.
As in previous years, visitors could seek shelter from the wintery weather by exploring a fantastic array of more intimate pieces inside Lancaster’s museums and public buildings. The Storey invited visitors to lay back and journey into the skies in a specially commissioned film of Lancaster’s sky at night with Heavens Above and imitating the dog presented Lancashire Electric with archive footage of Lancashire.
Once again, Lancaster University fielded a team of committed and enthusiastic staff to present a wide range of exhibits at Lancaster Library. Families could explore the breath-taking Aurora, immerse themselves in planetary sounds and sights, learn about our atmosphere, discover just how important seabirds are, and get to grips with coral reefs through Minecraft.
Saturday daytime offered a programme of family-friendly craft workshops, after which the festival finale – the annual Fireworks Spectacular – was launched from the grounds of Lancaster Castle, attracting thousands from across the district to view the uplifting display.
Richard Hammond, the council’s Arts Development Manager, said: “It is clear from the number of people that turned out at the weekend to enjoy the city’s Light Up Lancaster that the event is growing in size and reputation as one of the most popular light festivals across the North of England. This must-see festival is a highlight in Lancaster’s annual calendar of events and provides a significant boost to the local visitor economy.”
Tony Johnson, Lancaster BID Manager, said: “We were delighted to be one of the core partners involved in Light Up Lancaster again this year. Once again, it was great to see the city centre bustling with both locals and visitors to the city. Footfall in the city centre throughout the Saturday was 30% up on the week before with the busiest period showing a 200% increase and I was delighted to hear the positive feedback from businesses saying how busy they were as a result of what was another spectacular offer for everyone to enjoy.”
• If you attended any of the Light Up Lancaster events and would like to offer your feedback, you can complete an online survey at www.lightuplancaster.co.uk/feedback. Everyone completing the survey will have the chance to be entered into a prize draw to win high-street vouchers worth £100
Light Up Lancaster has been kindly funded and supported by Arts Council England, Lancaster University, The Duchy of Lancaster, University of Cumbria, Printing.com – Lancaster, Aparto Student Accommodation, UCLAN, Lancaster Judges’ Lodgings Museum Trust, Lancaster Priory, Confucius Institute Lancaster University, Science and Technology Facilities Council, Arnside and Silverdale AONB, The Areti Charitable Trust, BFI Future Film, The Elizabeth & Richard Wilson Charitable Fund, Atkinson’s and supported by The Dukes and Pennine Events and Robin Zahler Design + Photography.