MORE than 30,000 people flocked to the first night of the Lumiere light festival.
The four-day Durham event returned to the city for the third time last night and is produced by creative company Artichoke.
Nicky Webb, the company’s co-director, said: “We had a great opening night for Lumiere Durham, with over 30,000 people accessing the central area of the festival.
“Even though we had a similar number of people at the festival as the opening night in 2011, I think everyone would agree that the experience was much more relaxed with the crowd management systems we have implemented making it easier for people to enjoy the artworks that can be found throughout the city.”
Audiences still have the opportunity to see Durham’s urban landscape transformed into a magical nocturnal exhibition by more than 25 installations all made from light – including Elephantastic, a larger-than-life 3D promenading elephant by French design studio Top’là.
Councillor Neil Foster, Durham County Council’s cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: “It was an absolute joy to see the smiles on people’s faces and to hear the laughter of families delighting at the installations and marvelling at the wonders of the lights.
“Events like this have a vital role to play in boosting the local economy and I was particularly pleased to see how many businesses stayed open later to make the most of the passing trade.”
A special lecture will be held at 3pm today, introducing artist Gina Czarnecki and expert Professor John Girkin, who is behind the 2013 Lumiere installation.
The event finishes tomorrow evening.
Full details of the programme for Lumiere Durham can be found on the website www.lumiere-festival.com.