Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Lancaster Lights Up in Spectacular Style!

Photo courtesy Lancaster City Council
The skies, streets and waterways of Lancaster were lit up in spectacular style during a four-day festival in the city that has earned plenty of praise for local arts organisations, Lancaster Castle and the Council.

From the traditional yet always impressive firework display over the castle to the innovative projections in its courtyard and an illuminated aerial artist suspended from the Lune Aqueduct, Light Up Lancaster made lasting memories.

Aerial artist Tink gives an illuminating performance while suspended from the Lune Aqueduct during Light Up The Waterways. Photo courtesy Lancaster City Council
Thousands of people poured into the city to enjoy Light Up The Waterways by The Dukes last Tuesday and Wednesday; Light Up The Streets, commissioned by Lancaster City Council and presented by Lancaster Arts Partners on Friday and the city council’s Light Up The Skies on Saturday – all for free.

Following a busy programme of daytime activities, the annual fireworks spectacular exploded from the roof of Lancaster Castle for the second year running attracting more than 12,000 people viewing the fireworks from the official viewing areas alone. Many more watched the drama unfold from other vantage points around the city and beyond and tuned into BBC Radio Lancashire's live coverage of the event from Quay Meadow.

But for the first time, this display was preceded by three more evenings of imaginative events.

The Lune Aqueduct gets lit up. Photo courtesy Lancaster City Council
Light Up The Waterways saw the Lune Aqueduct thrust into the spotlight, illuminated and animated with music, dance and charming light effects.

Light Up The Streets showed off some of Lancaster’s finest buildings as they had never been seen before.

Crowds made their way from the visually stunning performance of The Breaking Light at Lancaster Castle onto the beautifully sung Rule of Law outside the Judges Lodgings with surprises at every window.

Breaking The Light projections in Lancaster Castle's courtyard as part of Friday's Light Up The Streets. Photo courtesy Lancaster City Council
Other highlights were Ignition One and Two in Market Square combining contemporary dance with drama, light and music; Wandering Of Souls music, film and images in Sun Square; and Reading Lights where illuminated poems were displayed on the bookshelves of a darkened Lancaster Library.

A scene from Ignition 1 outside Lancaster City Museum during Light Up The Streets. Photo courtesy Lancaster City Council
Shopped Out, an unusual series of installations by local artists, brought some of the city’s empty shops to life too.

From a variety of viewpoints, the entire festival showed Lancaster in a new and fantastic light.

Lancaster's Visitor Information Centre welcomed a record 1620 visitors to the centre during the week.

Coun Ron Sands, Cabinet member with responsibility for leisure, culture and tourism, said:  “This year’s combination of events was a phenomenal success and showcased  how local art and culture can be used to illuminate the history and heritage of our small city and show off its big story.

“The number of people arriving in our city from all around the country to enjoy elements of the festival will have had a huge impact on our local economy as well as putting Lancaster well and truly on the map.”

Suzi Bunting, Lancaster BID Manager, said:  "It was excellent that thirty plus shops including independent shops within the city centre took part in the unusual and inspirational installations including some of the empty shops, which sprung into life with artists.  Visitors to the city were enthralled and captivated by music, dance and performance, magically showcasing many heritage venues.

"It was a spectacular way of engaging business with the arts and the heritage venues with the city centre shopping precincts.  Lancaster’s Business Improvement District being delivered by Lancaster Unlimited were delighted to support the whole festival of Light Up Lancaster ensuring we have a city centre that is alive with culture and vibrancy.

"The cafĂ© culture that stayed open into the evenings were able to serve hot chocolates, coffees and warming food and drink providing a warm winter welcome to Lancaster.   This is what the business community wish to support throughout the winter months in the city – and what better way to have set the scene than by engaging with last week's festival which has certainly helped to and will continue to keep Lancaster on the cultural map.’’

Jerry North, Manager of St. Nicholas Arcades, said: "Feedback from city centre retailers on the Light Up Lancaster festival has been very positive.  Town was very busy all day and well into the evening on Friday as people arrived to enjoy the stunning Light Up The Streets element of the festival.  Despite the weather, there was a great festival atmosphere on the Saturday as visitors arrived early to enjoy shopping and dining in the city before the firework spectacular in the evening.  Many businesses did very well this year especially the food and drink outlets.”

• If you attended any of the Light Up Lancaster events and want to offer your feedback, you can complete the on-line survey at www.lancaster.gov.uk/lightuplancaster. Everyone completing the survey will be entered into a prize draw to win £50 of high street vouchers.

Light Up Lancaster is a partnership between Lancaster City Council and Lancaster Arts Partners and has been made possible with support from the Duchy of Lancaster, Arts Council England, Lancashire County Council, BBC Radio Lancashire, The Canal & River Trust, Lancaster Unlimited, Market Gate Shopping Centre, societies from Lancaster University and AXA Insurance.

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