Shine On: Bristol Light Festival has today announced that it will return on 2 – 11 February 2024*, after city centre businesses saw a 250,000-footfall boom and a £3.3 million increase in spend.

Offering local, national and international artists a platform to showcase the best in installation art, Bristol Light Festival offers residents and visitors the opportunity to interact with showstopping art at iconic locations across the city during winter. The festival will return in February 2024, with a new programme and will include some trailblazing local collaborations – running across 10 days and two weekends, curated by creative director Katherine Jewkes.

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 Cabot Circus, 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.

Organiser, Bristol City Centre BID, has outlined that this year’s festival saw a £6.9 million spend associated with all those visiting, of which £3.3 million can be directly attributed to the event taking place – and would not have been spent in the city otherwise.

The award-winning festival also saw an increase in the number of people who visited with family, from 39% in 2022 to 49% in 2023, at a notoriously difficult trading time of year for both retail and hospitality businesses.

Vicky Lee, Head of Bristol City Centre BID

From introducing mermaids to the harbourside to one of Bristol’s most iconic buildings lighting up to the sound of people’s screams, this year’s event delivered a spectacle at every turn. Add to that a Shakespearian heroine laid in St Mary Redcliffe Church, musical swings, a historic church transformed into a glowing maze of mirrored monoliths and a city centre bridge that became an immersive journey over a rainbow under a magical laser sky - the city was alight with people of all ages keen to see the displays. As a BID, one of our core objectives is to encourage visitors to the city centre throughout the year, bringing additional revenue to businesses, which is particularly important in the current economic uncertainty. Bristol Light Festival has delivered positive financial impact year on year and continues to receive overwhelmingly positive public feedback. As a free event, it not only attracts visitors but also means that any disposable income can be spent in the many restaurants, bars and shops in the city.

By encouraging people to spend leisure time in the city centre – eating, drinking, and shopping in local businesses along the way – Bristol Light Festival has resulted in a crucial financial boost to businesses against a difficult economic landscape.

Over two thirds of all attendees to the 2023 festival took part in other leisure activities during their visit, with 20% visiting Bristol specifically for the event, travelling in for the day or staying overnight in one of the city centre’s hotels.

Bristol Light Festival brings together installations from world-renowned artists and the best of the South West. After three successful festivals, it is now a firm fixture on Bristol’s event calendar. Nationally recognised as a project that puts creativity, art and culture at the heart of the city to support business recovery and the long-term success of the high street.

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