A QUEUEING system is to be introduced for one of Durham City’s most popular public events.
About 40,000 people a day converged on the central area for the last two Lumiere festivals in 2009 and 2011, leading to crowd congestion.
Organisers say they have listened to concerns to make this year’s Lumiere in November much more user-friendly with an earlier start – 4.30pm instead of 7pm – to make it more accessible to young families and the elderly.
There will also be a ticket system until 7.30pm and entrance controls for the central area, to allow organisers to keep a close eye on numbers.
Ian Bone, of organisers Artichoke, said: “We have worked hard to address the crowd concerns of previous Lumieres. The one-way system has been abolished because people did not like it.
“Tickets will be free, but will have to be obtained in advance.
“Anyone who doesn’t wish to get a ticket can decide to visit after 7.30pm.”
Among the new attractions is a fish tank in one of the traditional red phone boxes which used to stand in Market Place and a Christmas tree made of carrier bags in the Prince Bishops shopping centre.
The majority of Lumiere’s £1.5million budget is met by Durham County Council and the Arts Council.
Council leader Coun Simon Henig said: “We have shown the economic benefit of Lumiere 2011 to be £4.3million. What we have not been able to put a price on is putting a smile on the faces of visitors.”
Lumiere takes place on November 14-17.
For more details, visit www.lumiere-festival.co.uk.