All about the Love Light Norwich festival 2020

PUBLISHED: 13:33 04 February 2020

Love Light Norwich Festival
Picture: Norwich Bid (Business Improvement District)

Love Light Norwich Festival Picture: Norwich Bid (Business Improvement District)

Norwich Bid (Business Improvement District)

Illuminating a new festival of light and love – with the head of operations for Norwich Bid

How did the festival come about?

Following the success and popularity of the Christmas 'Tunnel of Light', Norwich Business Improvement District (Bid) started looking at ways to animate the city during the winter period to encourage visitors into the city. We were inspired by light festivals in Leon, Amsterdam and Durham and saw the opportunity to grow Norwich's reputation for art and culture while demonstrating to the people who live here how mesmerising their city can be.

Our aim was to grow an accessible festival of the highest quality for Norwich, to drive civic pride, and to become a cultural highlight in the city's annual calendar.

Love Light Norwich Festival will include a Lumidog Parade 
Picture: Norwich Bid (Business Improvement District)Love Light Norwich Festival will include a Lumidog Parade Picture: Norwich Bid (Business Improvement District)

We sought the support of our artistic director Alex Rinsler who has a wealth of experience leading Lightpool (the cultural arm of the Blackpool Illuminations) and we were successful in receiving funding from Arts Council England.

We are fortunate to have the support of partners from across the city including Norfolk County Council, Norwich City Council and The Forum Trust.

Love Light Norwich Festival 
Picture: Norwich Bid (Business Improvement District)Love Light Norwich Festival Picture: Norwich Bid (Business Improvement District)

What are some of the highlights?

Love Light Norwich will see a free walkable trail of light artworks from 5.30-10.30pm on February 13, 14 and 15. The programmes include Projection Teknik from Melbourne who will be transforming Norwich Cathedral with a vivid and contemporary projection show, and Halo by Illumaphonium which will see audiences interact with large sculptural towers made of haloes to create a smooth electronica soundscape.

French performance duo Bilbo Basso will set hearts racing at the Forum with their emotive, wild story of love through fire, featuring pyrotechnics.

The Valentine's Parade on February 14 will be a unique spectacle of light and performance from Norwich Cathedral to the Forum, by international street performance company Picto-Facto and local arts organisation Tin House. Visitors will also be able to enjoy Norwich Night Market, a Love Light food trail and numerous fringe events across the city. To launch the festival, Norwich Bid and Aviva will hold a symposium, Love Light Labs, exploring what Norwich and Norfolk organisations can do to power social and urban change.

Caroline Bidewell, head of operations, Norwich Bid 
Picture: Norwich Bid (Business Improvement District)Caroline Bidewell, head of operations, Norwich Bid Picture: Norwich Bid (Business Improvement District)

Why Valentine's weekend?

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Norfolk has the unique tradition of Jack Valentine who left Valentine's gifts on people's doorsteps. Love Light Norwich builds on this heritage, bestowing the gift of fire and light to all those who visit the city centre over the Valentine's weekend. The theme of the festival is love and belonging, at a time of year where loneliness and isolation can be felt most keenly.

Who is it for?

Everyone! Love Light Norwich is an inclusive alternative to the commercial 'romantic' Valentine's offer, an opportunity for the community to celebrate together.

Are Norfolk people involved in the installations, performances and events?

Yes; alongside international artists we are excited to commission local artists to create unique works for the event. We are delighted to have Norwich University of the Arts partnering with us. This will be the location for alumni Amber Steffani's work Seed of Light, a beautiful kaleidoscopic light box. We are also engaging with the community with a project where people can learn how to make light-up Lumidogs costumes for their pets and transform their front windows into light boxes, to take part in the Valentine's Parade and Window Wanderland.

Might Love Light Norwich become an annual event?

If this pilot festival is well received our hope is to deliver the event every two years.

What are you most looking forward to?

I can't wait to see Norwich's beautiful architecture and medieval street scene transformed with light and projection. My hope is that Love Light Norwich will show the city in a new light, encouraging new experiences and inspiring those in our beloved City of Stories.

Love Light Norwich, February 13-15. lovelightnorwich.co.uk

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