Bristol’s favourite winter event is set to return in 2023, bigger, better and more exciting than ever before. Bristol Light Festival will illuminate the city centre from 3rd – 12th February 2023, with stunning interactive and captivating light installations creating a trail through the centre of Bristol.
In 2023, the award-winning* event will span 10 days to include two weekends, making it the longest edition to date. Showcasing a collection of local, national and internationally-renowned light artists and featuring up to 10 light installations, Bristol Light Festival will bring light, fun and colour to the city centre to brighten up the winter evenings.
Visitors can wander and explore the city’s streets to see the light artworks come to life and enjoy Bristol’s wonderful retail and hospitality businesses along the way.
Across the evenings from dusk till 10pm, the installations will shine a light in a few unexpected places as well as illuminating some of Bristol’s most iconic landmarks across the city. The organisers are thrilled to announce a selection of confirmed content for next year’s event, with more still to be revealed.
Brand-new commission by Morag Myerscough
An absolute coup for the event is the bespoke commission of internationally acclaimed artist Morag Myerscough, whose strong visual approach is instantly recognisable. Obsessed with the sense of ‘belonging’ and with a fascination of how colour, pattern and words can change urban environments, Morag will be creating a brand-new piece for Bristol Light Festival 2023 that will feature in the city centre.
Morag’s brightly coloured, bold and eye-catching pieces have been displayed around the world and it is a real honour for Bristol Light Festival to have a bespoke piece created for the event. Further information about the new artwork will be announced as it takes shape and is created by Morag. Watch this space!
‘Ophelia’ by Davy & Kristin McGuire
A show stopping addition to this year’s Bristol Light Festival is ‘Ophelia’, a stunning light installation that creates a life-size hologram of Shakespeare’s famous character. The installation references Millais’ famous painting of the drowning Ophelia, recreating the scene with intense colour, gentle movement, air bubbles and swimming fish, this piece is emotive and mesmerising.
Set in the stunning surroundings of St Mary Redcliffe Church, visitors to the festival will be able to have a rare opportunity to enter this historic venue at night and view ‘Ophelia’ – an experience that is sure to give goose bumps!
‘Halo’ by illumaphonium
Bringing fun and playfulness to the festival, ‘Halo’ is a dynamic, interactive installation that lights up and plays music in response to touch. Created as a series of towers that feature illuminated ‘halos’, visitors can enjoy a sensory experience making music and an ever-evolving pattern of light as they interact with the piece. This installation will be in Broadmead and is perfect for families and little ones to enjoy, bringing a smile to faces as spectators watch the installation come to life.
illumaphonium is a duo of artists based in the South West that specialise in large scale interactive installations transforming public spaces into a place for music and discovery. The installation is guaranteed to capture the imagination of all ages.
Swing Song returns in 2023
A star of last year’s Bristol Light Festival, ‘Swing Song’ will return in 2023, bringing childhood fun and playfulness to those that hop on.
A hit with families and friends visiting the festival, visitors can relive their playground memories as they swing back and forth on the light-up, musical swings, remembering how it feels to be a child! Little ones can also experience swings with a difference as they watch the colours change and hear the music play whilst swinging their legs high into the air. Music and light will be triggered by the swinging motion and play in sync with one another. The piece is powered by cutting-edge technology and will be a joyful way to play in the city.
Find your way around Bristol Light Festival
Visitors are encouraged to plan ahead for their visit to Bristol Light Festival, considering sustainable travel arrangements as well as places they may like to eat, drink or stay in the city. Visit Bristol offers inspiration and information to help plan an overnight trip into the city, with exclusive hotel offers available to Bristol Light Festival visitors. Plan your journey using our travel guide which includes special offers on rail and bus travel.
Bristol Light Festival is working with Guide.AI to create a free audio guide that visitors can use by downloading the Guide.AI app. The audio guide is easy to use and will be available in twelve languages including English, Mandarin, Spanish, German, French, Danish, Italian, Dutch, Japanese Polish, Hindi and Portuguese. Users will see a map showing the locations of all the art installations and can then be used to get directions to the chosen art installation. Once at an installation the user can choose to either read or listen to the information.
Bristol Light Festival is presented by Bristol City Centre Business Improvement District (BID) supported by Redcliffe & Temple BID and Broadmead BID. The festival is also supported by Bristol’s City Centre & High Streets Recovery and Renewal programme, which is funded by Bristol City Council and the West of England’s Combined Authority’s Love our High Streets project, with the aim of supporting the recovery of Bristol’s priority high streets. The festival is curated by creative director Katherine Jewkes.
Vicky Lee, Head of Bristol City Centre BID, said;
Bristol Light Festival demonstrates the importance of free-to-attend events to support city centre businesses encouraging people to spend leisure time in the city during the quieter months. The positive impact it has was evident earlier this year with £3.4m additional revenue in local businesses reported across the 2022 event, providing an economic boost for businesses when they need it most. By increasing the length of the event in 2023, we hope to give even more opportunity for visitors to enjoy the city centre and attract visitors from outside of Bristol to come and experience everything the city has to offer. The event embodies everything that Bristol represents and showcases it as the vibrant, playful and creative city that we know and love.
Katherine Jewkes, Creative Director said;
We are absolutely thrilled to have some many incredible artists involved with the 2023 event. It’s a programme that feels really special and is reflective of the city’s creative spirit. Each year we want to bring new and exciting artworks to Bristol, creating spaces for people to play, explore and have new experiences. In 2023, visitors can take in each installation across one evening or come across multiple nights and really explore the city. We cannot wait to welcome everyone to Bristol Light Festival and once again fill the city with colour and light.
For more information, a map of the installations and locations, and updates about the event, please visit www.bristollightfestival.org and follow us on Instagram @Bristol_Light_Fest, Twitter @Bristol_Light, Facebook and using the hashtag #BristolLightFestival
* Bristol Light Festival and Bristol City Centre BID achieved an award win and national recognition at British BID’s National BID Awards, for the delivery of Bristol Light Festival 2022. The highly acclaimed awards showcase BID projects from across the UK, with particular emphasis on the positive impact of each project and what it achieves for businesses in the BID area. In a category with exceptional competition, Bristol Light Festival shone through as the winner of the ‘Special Recognition’ award, chosen for its creativity, significant economic impact, social and cultural benefits to the city and how it showcased Bristol at its best.