Bristol Light Festival 2022

Bristol City Centre BID presents to you the return of Bristol Light Festival.

Bristol City Centre BID presents to you the return of Bristol Light Festival. From 1st-6th March, the festival will bring together a showcase of renowned light artists and installations from across the UK, featuring the best of Bristol’s talent, to fill the city with colour and vibrancy.

This year the festival will feature world premier works, brand new for Bristol, alongside some of the best of the UK’s talent, all making their Bristol debut at carefully selected locations across the city. Visitors can wander and explore the city’s streets to see the light art works come to life and enjoy Bristol’s wonderful retail and hospitality businesses along the way.

From 5pm-10pm, the installations will shine a light in a few unexpected places as well as illuminating some of Bristol’s most iconic landmarks around Park Street, Queen Square, St George’s Bristol, Cabot Circus, Castle Bridge, Temple Gardens, College Green and the Harbourside.

This year’s festival will benefit from a successful grant application from the Arts Council England which will support the delivery of a selection of daylight and green energy installations, adding a new dimension to the event and the opportunity for those visiting and working in the city to experience some of the artworks throughout the day. By day and night, the event is the perfect opportunity for friends, colleagues, and families to meet.

This is the second festival brought to you by Bristol City Centre BID, supported by 760 local businesses. This year’s festival is also in partnership with Redcliffe & Temple BID, Arts Council England, Bristol’s City Centre & High Streets Recovery and Renewal programme,  which is funded by Bristol City Council and the West of England Combined Authority’s Love our High Streets project and Cabot Circus.

The safety and wellbeing of visitors is a priority, and a series of COVID-19 safety requirements will be implemented including social distancing, hand sanitisation stations, the inclusion of artworks that can be viewed from a distance and an increased event duration to spread visitor numbers across six days and evenings.

“We are delighted to bring Bristol Light Festival back to the city this year and hope it will be a marker of change to brighter times ahead. The Festival is a key part of the recovery programme to help support businesses back to full strength after the challenging last two years, by encouraging people to explore and spend leisure time in the city centre”

Vicky Lee, Head of Bristol City Centre BID

Today, Bristol Light Festival announces a selection of artists and installations that will be part of this year’s event.

Bird spotting at St George’s and Temple Gardens

Internationally renowned audio-visual artist, Kathy Hinde will present two nature inspired creations at this year’s event. Based in Bristol, Kathy is an active member of film and sound collective, Bristol Experimental Expanded Film, and a resident at Pervasive Media Studio, creating much of her work here in the city.

One of Kathy’s installations will feature in the garden at St George’s Bristol (just off Park Street) and give a new meaning to bird spotting! The light and sound sculpture, ‘Chirp & Drift’ is a flock of illuminated instruments that look like birds and that chatter in morse-code messages. As visitors walk beneath, the gentle tones and harmonies made by accordion reeds hidden inside each ‘bird’ can be heard in a delicate and gentle way.

‘Luminous birds’ will feature in Temple Gardens, the animated flock of traditional origami-style birds will suspend overhead. Each bird has a slightly different wing position to create a sequence similar to a stop-motion animation with accompanying sounds adding to the artwork.

Somewhere over the rainbow…

Lighting designers Toy Studio will bring their colourful and immersive daylight installation to Bristol for the first time. ‘Circle of Light’ will encircle the equestrian statue in Queen Square and create coloured shadows that extend and contract depending on the time of day, angle, and intensity of the sun.

Visitors can experience ‘Circle of Light’ from a distance, taking in the rainbow of colours spanning the square, or can walk through each colour shadow and see the city in a different light. The installation will also be part of the evening programme when it will light up and again bathe the square in a spectrum of colour.

A waterfall of light

One of this year’s new commissions for Bristol Light Festival is being created by Squidsoup, a group of internationally renowned artists, designers and technologists.  ‘Cascade’ is an exuberant fountain of energy, light and sound, that will emanate from the top of Left Handed Giant brewpub creating waves of sound and light as it cascades into the river below.

Named after one of the original variety of hops, ‘Cascade’ is the latest incarnation in Squidsoup’s ongoing explorations into the immersive possibilities of spatialised light and sound. Each light orb is designed and hand built by Squidsoup, creating a highly immersive experience sure to surprise and delight visitors to the festival.

Lucid Creates at Cabot Circus

Multi-disciplinary design Studio, Lucid Creates, will bring two light installations to Bristol for the first time, showing at Cabot Circus . ‘Exponential’ is a seemingly-floating, kaleidoscopic mirrored cube, encased in endlessly moving patterns of light, triggered by an hour-long ambient soundtrack, ‘Crossroads’ is an immersive space in which audiences experience illusions that can reveal everything from how they process space and time to their perception of consciousness. Lights move in sync with a transportive ambient soundscape by Canadian artists “Exist Strategy” to create an hour-long immersive AV experience.

Lucid Creates specialises in interactive and spectacular art pieces, their installations at Cabot Circus are not to be missed. 

Updated: Friday 20 February 2021

Bristol Light Festival 2021

It’s been a whole year since we launched the first-ever Bristol Light Festival that bought our city so much fun and joy.

Under a National Lockdown and putting everyone’s safety first, it is with a heavy heart that we have accepted the Festival cannot go ahead this year.

Although the Light Festival won’t illuminate Bristol in 2021, we will be working with our #BristolTogether partners to bring fun and excitement as everyone returns to a re-energised city centre. Watch this space!

Updated: Thursday 20 August 2020

Artist call-out for 2021 *Now closed*

Expressions of interest for the 2021 Bristol Light Festival have now closed.

We received over 150 applications and were overwhelmed with the quality of responses.

If you missed out this time round, you could submit a portfolio to bristollightfestival@gmail.com and we can keep your work on file until the 2022 Festival is being programed.

Updated: Thursday 20 August 2020

Bristol Light Festival says cheers to the city’s frontline workers

The iconic ‘Cheers Drive’ sign, one of nine light installations that featured in this year’s inaugural Bristol Light Festival, has been permanently installed at the city’s bus station on Marlborough Street as a thank you to Bristol’s frontline workers and their commitment throughout the pandemic.

The four-foot neon sign welcomes visitors, workers and residents into the heart of Bristol, whilst also showing gratitude to the thousands of key workers in a highly visual and creative way.

Three men stood in front of a blue sign saying 'Cheers Drive'

Updated: Monday 2 March 2020

The First-ever Bristol Light Festival spreads light across the city

The first Bristol Light Festival has been a huge success!

In a fantastic result for a first-year, approximately 100,000 visitors made their way into Bristol’s city centre, from Thursday 27th February to Sunday 1st March, to visit the nine light installations created by internationally renowned and local artists, despite the wintry conditions.

The festival provided Bristolians and visitors to the city with artworks to interact with and enjoy, whilst also experiencing the great food and drink offer at restaurants and bars across the city centre – some of which experienced their busiest winter weekend of the year.

The Bristol Light Festival was the first of a three-year series presented by Bristol City Centre BID, programmed by creative directors, Katherine Jewkes and Vashti Waite, and delivered in partnership with Bristol City Council and the University of the West of England.

This year, all but one of the installations were powered by the grid, using less power than it takes to use an electric kettle. The remaining installation was powered by a generator using bio-fuel. We have also set out an ambition to be carbon neutral by 2022 and aim to achieve this by carbon offsetting the festival’s minimal footprint through other activities.

For more information on the festival, the installations and the artists involved, visit bristollightfestival.org.

Updated: Thursday 13 February 2020

The full programme of artists announced for Bristol Light Festival

Seven new and exciting artists of light have been added to the programme of local and international talent as part of the Bristol Light Festival, taking place from Thursday 27th February to Sunday 1st March.

Frame Perspective by Olivier Ratsi will transform Millenium Square with a 30-metre-long luminous installation of repeating frames and LED lights. It will give off both bright light and sound creating an interactive experience that alters the surrounding environment.

MilkBottle by Jack Wimperis is a specially commissioned series of light sculptures made out of recycled milk bottles with the aim to raise awareness about single-use plastics. Supported by Cabot circus, Milkbottle Cages will see a sculpture of the recycled milk bottles with embedded LEDs. Milkbottle Screen is a screen of 600 hanging one-pint milk bottles, situated on Castle Park’s bandstand.

Nimbes and Nebulae by Joanie Lemercier will take visitors on a unique journey following an artistic interpretation of a voyage through time and space. Nimbes is a fulldome piece that was created in 2014 In partnership with composer,  James Ginzburg. The installation will be a 15-minute show screened in the Planetarium at We The Curious and will be immediately followed by Nebulae, created in 2019.

Wildlife on the Waterfront by Bristol charity, Send a Cow, will tell the tale of the people and wildlife in Uganda’s oldest national park. In partnership with Bristol’s award-winning Limbic Cinema, the piece will be projected onto the Arnolfini as part of the Living with Wildlife appeal to protect the people and wildlife in Uganda.

Neighbours is an installation created by a collection of local artists who are working together to create a unique piece of light that will pay homage to Bristol’s graffiti culture. It will be revealed as a final surprise on the opening of the festival on Thursday 27th February.

The new artists will join Pink Enchantment by Tine Bech on Castle Bridge, Wave-field Variation Q by Lateral Office and CS Design in Queen Square and Overheard in Bristol consisting of a four metre neon sign installed by Cascade Steps featuring the well-known Bristol saying, ‘CHEERS DRIVE.’

For more information and updates about the festival please visit www.bristollightfestival.org.

Updated: Friday 17 January 2020

First three installations announced

City Centre BID has launched the new Bristol Light Festival website and announced the first three commissions for the festival. They include light art installations that are visiting the South West for the first time as well as brand-new installations created exclusively for this first edition of the festival.

Pink Enchantment by international artist Tine Bech will shroud Castle Bridge in bursts of atmospheric pink mist as walkers and cyclists cross the water.

Wave-Field, Variation Q by Lateral Office will transform Queen Square into a playground of giant seesaws that burst into joyful music and light when played with.

Overheard in Bristol will depict a famous Bristolian phrase in four-foot neon beside the Cascade Steps. It’s sure to become a favoured selfie spot.

A further three art installations will be announced ahead of the festival, so keep checking here for details.

Updated: Wednesday 4 December 2019

Invite: Wednesday 15 January 2020

Join us on Wednesday 15 January, 2020 when we’ll be hosting a levy payer event to introduce the team behind the Bristol Light Festival, share opportunities on how businesses can get involved and celebrate this exciting new festival for our city. More details coming soon.