Lumiere announces return to light up Durham in 2021

Lumiere, the UK’s largest and most successful light festival, will return to County Durham next year, offering a welcome sign of brighter times ahead.

Tuesday, 10th November 2020, 5:45 pm
Lumiere will return in 2021

The Durham County Council event is set to take place from Thursday, November 18 to Sunday, November 21 next year, and will illuminate the city with works by local, national and international artists.

It is hoped the announcement will lift people’s spirits, while also highlighting the council’s ongoing commitment to championing cultural investment and the economic and social benefits it brings.

The announcement precedes a new online photography exhibition, created by festival producers Artichoke, to mark a year until the free light festival’s return. Available at from Wednesday, November 18, the exhibition will feature photographs of the people in the background who make Lumiere happen, showing a side to the event that is not usually visible to the public.

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Photo by Matthew Andrews

It also comes ahead of the presentation of a report evaluating the success of last year’s festival to the council’s Cabinet next week. Councillors will hear that the landmark 10 th anniversary edition of the festival, which takes place every two years, built upon the positive impact of the council’s sustained investment in cultural activities, boosting the economy by £11.5 million and creating unforgettable experiences for residents and visitors.

While extreme weather conditions affected the attendance numbers, turnout was still high at about 165,000 visitors. This includes the one millionth visitor since the launch of the biennial event in 2009.

Feedback from visitors was once again positive, with 87 per cent of those surveyed rating the festival as either good or very good and 96 per cent stating it was good for County Durham’s image.

Next year’s festival looks set to be equally inspiring, with Artichoke planning a spectacular programme of artworks and installations.

There has been 10 Lumieres so far

Highly experienced in producing outdoor events, the arts charity will make sure appropriate measures are in place to ensure audiences can enjoy the festival safely in accordance with any coronavirus guidelines in place.

Cllr Simon Henig, Leader of Durham County Council, said: “This year has been incredibly difficult for people in County Durham and across the world. The impact of coronavirus on our communities has been profound and I think we are all in need of something to look forward to at the moment.

"By announcing Lumiere’s return next year, we hope to spread a message of hope and show there is light at the end of the tunnel in these difficult times.

“As the evaluation of last year’s festival demonstrates, Lumiere also provides a significant boost to our economy, as well as supporting artists and creative businesses from the UK and beyond. The most complete recent figures show creative industries contributed more than £11 billion to the UK economy in 2018 and we expect the arts will play a crucial role in our region’s recovery from the pandemic. Lumiere will be a major part of that and I’m delighted to announce its return.”

Community outreach is an important part of what makes Lumiere so special. Since 2009, more than 10,000 local people, including thousands of schoolchildren, have benefited from the festival’s learning and participation programmes, as well as the many volunteering opportunities on offer.

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