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Lumiere festival

Lumiere is the UK's largest light festival.[1] The festival, produced by London-based creative company Artichoke, debuted in Durham in 2009.[2] The festival was part inspired by the Fête des lumières in Lyon.[3] Hosted in winter time, and free to attend, the festival typically comprises a number of light art-installations, as well as illuminating iconic buildings and locations.[4] The festival takes place biennially in November in Durham,[5] and since 2013 has occasionally toured to other locations, both reusing popular illuminations from Durham and creating new bespoke installations.

Lumiere festival
Lumiere festival logo.png
Status active
Genre light art
Frequency Bi-Annually in Durham, Occasional elsewhere
Location(s) Durham and touring
Country United Kingdom
Years active 2009–date
Established Durham, 2009
Most recent London, 2016
Organised by Artichoke



The projection display on Durham Cathedral during the 2011 Lumiere festival

The first Lumiere festival took place in Durham in 2009 and has been recommissioned by Durham County Council every two years since then. 75,000 people attended the four-day event in 2009, the central exhibit of which was Durham Cathedral illuminated with projected images from the Lindisfarne Gospels.[6] The festival returned to Durham in 2011 at a significantly larger size, attracting more than 150,000 visitors and generating GB£4.3 million for the local economy.[7] A further event was held in 2013 with crowds of 175,000 and highlights including a 3D projection of a walking elephant installed over the Elvet Bridge.[8] The festival returned to Durham for the fourth time in November 2015, and has been scheduled to return for November 2017.[9]



In 2013 the light show was taken to Derry in Northern Ireland where almost 180,000 people visited 17 separate art installations around the city, including illuminated sculptures placed around the Peace Bridge and projections on Austins department store.[10] For the four nights of the festival, a fire garden was held at St Columb's Park.


In January 2016 the festival was brought to London for the first time, with light installations sited around Piccadilly, Grosvenor Square, and King's Cross.[11] The front of Westminster Abbey was illuminated with coloured light projected onto statues by artist Patrice Warrener.[12] 3-metre-high (9.8 ft) neon letters from the top of the Centre Point building were temporarily set up in Trafalgar Square and in Leicester Square a 'Garden of Light' was created by French artists TILT, centred around the statue of William Shakespeare.

On the Saturday, some installations had to be temporarily switched off and King's Cross station was evacuated due to overcrowding caused by the festival.[13][14]

List of festivalsEdit

  • 2009: Durham
  • 2011: Durham
  • 2013: Derry
  • 2013: Durham
  • 2015: Durham
  • 2016: London
  • 2017: Durham



External linksEdit