Light Up Lancaster: Producers promise "minimal queues" after extending festival to three nights

Festival producers of the popular Light Up Lancaster have promised " a more relaxing, comfortable and enjoyable experience" with minimal queues - thanks to extending its usual two days.
Light Up Lancaster takes place from November 2-4.Light Up Lancaster takes place from November 2-4.
Light Up Lancaster takes place from November 2-4.

Not only that, but guests can expect to see something very special on the sides of the castle.

Light Up Lancaster is returning next month to take visitors on a journey through the city's squares and enchanting alleyways, creating an immersive world of light art installations and captivating performances of music, art, and dance.

Due to its popularity, the festival is extending its usual two-day duration and Creative Director George Harris says he hopes the extra night will hopefully mean a reduction in queuing for everyone who visits.

Dalton Square.
Dear Einstein for Light Up Lancaster in a previous year.Dalton Square.
Dear Einstein for Light Up Lancaster in a previous year.
Dalton Square. Dear Einstein for Light Up Lancaster in a previous year.

He said: "We have got three nights this year as a result of how popular it was last year.

"There can be a tipping point where an event becomes so popular people are having to queue for things.

"A third night means it reduces the circumstances of having to queue to make for a more relaxing and comfortable and more enjoyable experience.

"It is all about the audiences, we put on great art but the audiences judge it - and we want to avoid queuing."

A light installation at the Priory Church in Lancaster in a previous year.A light installation at the Priory Church in Lancaster in a previous year.
A light installation at the Priory Church in Lancaster in a previous year.

Asked why he thinks the festival is so popular he added: "It's the most democratic art form I can think of.

"A lot of people feel uncomfortable going to museums or theatres or galleries. They feel it's not for them.

"With Light Art Festivals, by and large they feel comfortable and welcome. As it is in a public place people feel ownership of the place they are going to see the art in."

Mr Harris says the amount of visitors at last year's event is testament to its amazing popularity.

He said: "We had 58,000 people over two nights.... in November when it is chilly." And he says this year, visitors will be privy to something brand new in way of a fascinating new projection.

He said: "We have some major pieces of work this year. There will be a projection piece on three sides of the castle of a very historic document - the Duchy of Lancaster's equivalent of the doomsday book."

The Great Cowcher Book of the Duchy of Lancaster is an extraordinary medieval text - considered second only to the Domesday book in terms of its importance as a record of places in England and Wales.

It was produced c.1402 on the orders of King Henry IV to record the deeds of the possessions of the Duchy of Lancaster.

The two volumes comprise copies of the Duchy's records up to that point, presented alongside beautiful illuminations that represent the highest quality of medieval artwork. The records of settlements and forests in Lancashire offer vital insights into the medieval history of the county.

Mr Harris said: "We, therefore, hit on the idea of using the Cowcher project as part of Lancaster's Light-Up Festival, projecting the 'story' and visual images onto three sides of the Castle's internal courtyard.

"This will be the first time the general public have had the opportunity to see these images first-hand. And the projection piece by Illuminos, after working alongside Prof Fiona Edmonds, Director of the Regional Heritage Centre at Lancaster University, will bring this amazing historical record to life at Light Up Lancaster."

Illuminos, presenting The Great Cower, promises projections that will capture the beauty, scale, imagination and fancifulness of the artists who embellished the Great Cowcher, more than 500 years ago

Light Up Lancaster has captivated audiences since 2013 and, thanks to generous funding from Arts Council England (ACE), Lancaster City Council, Lancaster BID, and several other esteemed contributors, promises to be an exceptional fusion of art, culture, and history, taking visitors on a luminous journey through the artistic interpretations of words and language as this year’s theme focuses on The Art of Words.

As part of the festival Dalton Square will be lit by imitating the dog, with their project project Dear Einstein.

In an elegy to a great scientific mind, it will playfully ask some of the BIG questions about life’s ups and downs, combining a trademark video design, an original score by James Hamilton and live performance with local singers.

St John's church will feature an interactive, projected tempest – a hyper-real representation of bodies of water as a source of life, and the mysteries they hold within.

Using a live generative particle system, the tempest will be reactive to the viewer's presence, full of surprises, enchantment and encouraging playfulness as audiences move under the ‘curled clouds’ above – the third and final part of the company’s interactive ‘water’ trilogy, all supported and commissioned by Light Up Lancaster.

Mr Harris says his hope for this year is that the audience will be larger and more spread out from all surrounding areas.

He said: "They will get the opportunity to see something they would not do anywhere else."

All are welcome to celebrate this remarkable expansion of one of Lancaster's most cherished traditions.

For the full line up of events visit .

The festival will take place November 2 to 4, from 5pm - 9pm.

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