Transforming the streets, gardens and historical venues of Lancaster for one weekend every year is Light Up Lancaster, a spectacular 2-night festival of light and art by international and local artists that illuminates the city’s heritage buildings, public spaces and community corners.
Light festivals may be the thing at this time of year, but what sets Light Up Lancaster apart is the special intimacy of this friendly city and the participative nature of the event. Many of these art-works need audiences to make them happen. Take a magical evening stroll through the city and see the City Museum, Market Square, The Storey, Maritime Museum and Judges’ Lodging in sparkling splendour.
For 2019, Light Up Lancaster commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission and the moment that Neil Armstrong and Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin first set foot on the moon.
With a distinctly lunar theme, this year’s programme – ‘Into The Skies’ – will see the artwork Museum of the Moon by Luke Jerram take centre stage. With a whopping diameter of seven metres, the artwork features 120dpi detailed NASA imagery of the moon’s surface. This magnificent installation will be hosted in the imposing medieval Lancaster Priory Church. A stunning fusion of celestial imagery and moonlight with an enveloping soundscape by BAFTA and Ivor Novello award-winner Dan Jones.
Further highlights of the 2019 edition include Lightscape by top-notch Italian arts company, mammasONica, an immersive multi-layered experience, creating a brilliant ephemeral landscape throughout the captivating setting of Lancaster Castle. With flowing colours and silhouettes, the company will create a luminous forest in the castle courtyard.
Drop into the Lancaster University Family Zone across the weekend for workshops, exhibits and interactive experiences drawing on the world-changing research taking place at the University.
Stellar adventures are to be had at every turn, across this historic city, topped off with a superb festival finale on Saturday as fireworks are launched from the grounds of Lancaster Castle accompanied by a special soundtrack. Free wristbands for the firework official areas at Giant Axe and Quay Meadow will be available to order from the festival’s website from late September.
Because of the ongoing Coronavirus crisis, we are unable to bring you our usual recommendations for things to do in Manchester and the North. Our thoughts at this time are with our readers and with the organisations and businesses who make the North of England a great place to live and visit. We hope you stay well and look forward to sharing more unmissable events and places with you later in the year.
Here’s our guide to supporting organisations in Manchester and the North.
Please note – many of the venues on our site will be closed and events either postponed or cancelled. Please check the venue website for details.