Showcasing the city at its brightest, the award-winning Bristol Light Festival brings light, fun and colour to the city centre. The 2024 edition will feature the addition of a World Premiere light artwork from UK-based creative duo, Studio McGuire, currently collaborating with Dior for Christmas in Manhattan. 

Welcoming 250,000 visitors and encouraging a £3.3 million increase in spend to the city in 2023, the fourth iteration of the festival will take place between Friday 2 – Sunday 11 February 2024* – and will welcome the global premiere of the cosmically wistful Ascendance. Joined by the enveloping bubble experience, Evanescent, and the nature-inspired, immersive installation The Nectary, Bristol’s spaces will shine bright at a traditionally dark time of year.

Welcoming artists from near and far to showcase their masterful light-based installations in its immersive, family-friendly showcase of talent, Bristol Light Festival continues to surprise and delight. With the first three installations for the 10-evening long festival announced for the first time, the details of their diverse and eclectic contributions should tease at what is certain to be a dazzling display of local and global creativity…

Ascendance by Davy and Kristin McGuire, Studio McGuire

Premiering for the very first time anywhere in the world, Ascendance is the creation of  powerhouse duo Davy and Kristin McGuire, known as Studio McGuire. The pair wowed at Bristol Light Festival 2023 with their beautifully pensive works, Ophelia and Sirens, and have worked with luxury brands including Dior, Barneys and most recently, SAKS on 5th Avenue, New York City, for its renowned Christmas window installation for 2023.

Unveiling their latest, and arguably most emotive work to date, Ascendance, this interstellar installation has been inspired by the idea of loneliness, and features an isolated astronaut floating alone in the grandness of the cosmos. The astronaut creates an angelic figure as it drifts through space, with the beautiful nature of the piece amplified further as it will be projected in an iconic Bristol location, yet to be revealed.

Artists Davy and Kristin McGuire said:

“We are delighted to be returning to the Bristol Light Festival, which is such an inspiring setting for us to showcase our work. With Ascendance, we wanted to demonstrate how beauty and sorrow can be deeply linked. The astronaut, who is losing oxygen as he floats untethered amongst the stars, is cocooned in a hallucinatory garden creating an exquisite image that contrasts against the stark sadness of his isolation. We are very proud to be unveiling this for the first time in Bristol, a city we called home for a very long time.”

Evanescent by Atelier Sisu

Evanescent explores the idea of transience through the visualisation of bubbles. An immersive, light and sound temporary environment, the work is the masterpiece of award-winning Sydney-based art practice Atelier Sisu, lead by Peruvian sculptor and industrial designer, Renzo B Larriviere alongside architect and artist Zara Pasfield.

The pair work with a multi-disciplinary team to create experiential environments, installations and unique sculptural pieces. Their direction of work sits between the fields of art and architecture (art-chitecture), with particular focus in the realm of public art.

Renzo B. Larriviere and Zara Pasfield said:

“We want our art-chitecture to connect audiences with their environment. We have designed Evanescent to be truly inclusive. By emulating the airy-like quality and magic of bubbles, we want to appeal to human beings’ universal playfulness and sense of childlike wonder, while encouraging the audience to consider the world around them as a delicate space, like that of a bubble. We are extremely proud to be bringing this work to Bristol Light Festival 2024.”

The Nectary by Alison Smith and Dr. Chris Hassall

A multi-sensory and immersive light artwork, The Nectary invites guests to step inside a giant flower to gain a unique perspective on nature. Created as a collaborative project between artist Alison Smith and Dr. Chris Hassall, lecturer in Animal Biology at the University of Leeds, the installation is an art/science crossover highlighting the importance of pollinating insects. The inspiration for the piece came from the work of Phd student Thomas Daily at the University of Leeds looking into bio-acoustics as a new way of monitoring insect populations by listening to them.

Alison Smith, said:

“The name comes from the part of the flower that produces the nectar, which Dr. Hassall and I wanted to highlight for its connotations around the richness of nature. We love the idea that this work will touch people in many different ways, as we all connect with nature on an individual level. For families with small children, the giant flowers are an eye-catching and whimsical sight that brings joy to those young and young at heart. For some, we hope the message of protecting nature and spending more time listening to it can help to enhance our understanding of the delicate ecosystems we are part of. For others, The Nectary simply offers visitors a moment of calm as they step into a uniquely enclosed space during what will inevitably be a busy festival. We also love that the installation features a summery soundscape providing a juxtaposition of the sounds of wind, birds and pollinators in the setting of a winter light festival.”

Bristol Light Festival is founded by  Bristol City Centre Business Improvement District (BID) and delivered in partnership with Redcliffe & Temple BID. The festival is curated by the multi award-winning Creative Director, Katherine Jewkes.

Katherine Jewkes, Creative Director of Bristol Light Festival, said:

“Next year’s iteration of the festival is set to be our biggest and brightest yet, and we are thrilled to be announcing our first three artists coming to Bristol this winter. We love providing space for all the family to play and explore the city in a new light - and next year the programme really encourages audiences to think about the world we live in in a new way. From the large expanses of space with Studio McGuire's brand new work and immersing yourself into a world of giant bubbles with Atelier Sisu’s Evanescent, to seeing the world as a bee with The Nectary, there’s something for every member of the family. We are proud to continue to provide opportunities for both world-renowned artists and new talent alike, particularly when we can showcase the amazing talent we have here in the South West.”

Vicky Lee, Head of Bristol City Centre BID, said:

“It’s back to give Bristol an economic boost and showcase our city and its creative industries - bringing our public realm to life during the winter months. Bristol Light Festival offers a reason to come into the city centre, experience absolutely spectacular light installations, all the while stopping in to support our local businesses. Last year’s edition welcomed 250,000 people and saw an additional spend of £3.3 million in Bristol City Centre - so we’re all in high anticipation for the return of this show stopping event next year.”

Steve Bluff, Head of Redcliffe & Temple BID, said:

“It’s fantastic to be a partner of the Bristol Light Festival, as the event welcomes hundreds of thousands of guests from both near and far to our city, to witness all that Bristol has to offer. The stunning light installations shine a spotlight on our local talent as well as providing those who work, live and study in Bristol the chance to see world-class artworks on their doorstep.”

Bristol Light Festival is a free event, and will run from the 2 – 11 February 2024. An award-winning festival, guests travelling from further afield can bolster their visit with an overnight stay in one of the city centre’s award-winning hotels, enjoying all that Bristol has to offer. Last year’s edition saw more than two thirds of all attendees take part in other activities during their visit to the festival, including eating and drinking, shopping and other city centre entertainment – with 20% of those visiting coming to Bristol specifically for the event.

*this event is subject to licensing and site permissions approval.