THOUSANDS of people have snapped up tickets for this winter’s Lumiere festival in Durham City
More than 16,000 free tickets have been booked for the four-day event which kicks off on November 14.
Organisers Artichoke were forced to tighten up access following complaints of overcrowding at the last festival, in 2011.
Tickets will be needed to access the Peninsula between 4.30pm and 7.30pm to see the illuminations, but not after that time.
“Limiting the number of people in this small area during what is traditionally the busiest period for this festival is one of a number of key changes this year,” a Durham County Council spokesman said.
Terry Collins, corporate director for neighbourhood services at Durham County Council, added: “The public response to Lumiere is once again outstanding, with more than 16,000 tickets given away already.
“It’s important to say that these priority tickets are only needed to access the central Peninsula area between 4.30pm and 7.30pm so if you are coming after that time on any of the four evenings you don’t need a ticket at all. Limiting the number of people in this small area during what is traditionally the busiest period for this festival is one of a number of key changes this year.
“We will continue to work closely with organisers Artichoke to ensure Lumiere Durham 2013 offers everyone the best experience ever.”
Only ticket holders will be allowed through gates on Elvet Bridge, Framwellgate Bridge and Claypath from 4.30pm until 7.30pm from November 14 to 17.
Tickets can be collected free from Durham’s Gala Theatre and Durham County Council customer access points in Seaham, Chester-le-Street, Crook, Barnard Castle, Consett, Spennymoor, Stanley and Bishop Auckland.
People living, working or studying on the restricted area can obtain separate passes to gain access.
The full programme will be announced in September, although organisers have said that a fish-filled illuminated telephone box and a Christmas tree made of plastic bags will be among the installations.
Visit lumiere-festival.com for more information.