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Bristol Light Festival dazzles visitors and businesses with most popular edition yet

10 mesmerising light artworks, including four world premieres, deLIGHTed 275,000 throughout the festival’s 10 day run

19/02/2024

The city centre shone brighter than ever before between 2 – 11th February, as 10 show-stopping Bristol Light Festival light installations – including four stunning world premieres – lit up the dark evenings, with 275,000 dazzled by the spectacle.

With installations from giant wildlife roaming around Finzels Reach, to huge glowing flowers in Queen Square and an astronaut floating amongst a cosmos of flowers in St Stephens Church, visitors of all ages came out to play amongst the city-wide lights. Saturday 10th February was the festival’s most visited day on record, with 80,000 visitors mesmerised by the lights.

Bristol Light Festival brings together installations from world-renowned artists and the best of South West talent to create an event that attracts visitors from across the region and beyond. After four successful editions founded by Bristol City Centre BID and delivered in partnership with Redcliffe & Temple BID, it now has a firm place on Bristol’s event calendar and is nationally recognised as a project that puts creativity, art and culture at the heart of the city to drive footfall into the city’s  businesses, supporting recovery and the long-term success of the high street.

Vicky Lee, Head of Bristol City Centre BID said:

“This year’s event marvelled at every turn; the lights transform the city into a true sight to behold. Bristol Light Festival visitors drive footfall and revenue to our many restaurants, bars, shops and other businesses in the city centre, which is of course particularly important in the current economic uncertainty. We love that this very special event gets more popular every year, and we didn’t let the rain dampen our spirits as people still turned out in their hundreds of thousands across the 10 days and two weekends. It's a real showcase for the city, celebrating everything that makes ‘Bristol Always A Good Idea’!”

Rebecca Bozeat-Manzi, Regional Director of Sales at Holiday Inn Bristol City Centre, said:

“In my view as a hotelier, the Bristol Light Festival offers a rich cultural interactive experience drawing visitors both local and from all over the UK and beyond. Art has always been at the heart of Bristol, and the festival of light is a much-needed artistic boost during the month of February; both for residents and visitors in the otherwise dark and dull month, but also for the local economy, in a typically quiet period of the year. Due to the festival, the hospitality sector experiences increased foot traffic and revenue during the event. Additionally, the increased profile of the area due to the marketing and visitor reach will hopefully lead to increased tourism.”

Katherine Jewkes, Creative Director of the Bristol Light Festival, said:

“What a fantastic 10 days. Bristol is such a Creative City, and it was wonderful to celebrate that through the programme this year. We are delighted by the reception from our audiences, who came out rain and shine to enjoy the lights. I’m delighted that we were able to present four world premiers of new work, as well as showcase artworks by local artists for the first time in their home city. I can’t wait for next year!”

James Taljaard, Head of Trading at Watershed, said:

“We created two Bristol Light Festival cocktails, which sold very well. We saw an increase of families coming in to use the café and bar in the early evening; buying hot chocolate and warm spiced apple drinks, as well as the cocktails. Generally the festival is a great asset to Bristol and its night time economy and the art this year was fantastic!”

By encouraging people to spend leisure time in the city centre – eating, drinking, and shopping in local businesses along the way – Bristol Light Festival has resulted in a crucial financial boost to businesses during a typically quieter time of year. This summer, Bristol Light Festival organisers will be doing a call out for artists to apply as part of the 2025 edition of the festival.

All installations were powered from the grid using existing power sources across the city as well as energy-efficient lighting. The festival also provided over 80 jobs to local industry professionals, and volunteering and mentoring sessions for young adults from the city.

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