For most city-dwellers, Christmas is the best time to experience city centres aglow with dazzling and captivating lights. But for Bristolians, it’s a different story. The annual Bristol Light Festival returns this February with a series of stunning and interactive light installations to light up some of Bristol’s most iconic spots. This year features work from internationally renowned artists and some of the South West’s best artistic talent.
Bristol Light Festival has revealed eleven incredible installations so far for this year’s event, which will create a trail through the centre of Bristol from February 3 to 12. Brightening up these wet and windy winter evenings, visitors can experience these light installations coming to life every night from 5 pm until 10 pm. With plenty of local food and drink offerings along the trail.
Most of these light installations have never appeared in Bristol before, although you might recognise one or two from last year. And there are some brand-spanking new commissions too. The incredible installations first came to Bristol in 2020, lighting up the city and leaving both Bristolians and visitors in awe. Bristol Light Festival 2023 is bound to be the colourful pick-me-up we all sorely need right now.
Some of this year’s confirmed installations include Scream the House Down by Marcus Lyall: An interactive installation activated by people’s voices set to take centre stage at The Corn Exchange and illuminate the whole building. It interprets every person’s voice differently, creating unique responses and building in a sea of colour over the building.
Elsewhere, Sirens by Davy & Kristin McGuire will transform the harbourside into an underwater world inhabited by supernatural sea creatures. While Illumaphonium’s Continuum invites visitors to traverse a maze of mirrored monoliths at the recently renovated and historic Temple Church. Previous commissions of iconic Bristolian phrases will also form part of this year’s content. Such as ‘Alright my Luvver’ in Queen Square and ‘Cheers Drive’, a permanent installation at Bristol Bus and Coach Station.
Where are all the Bristol Light Festival installations?
‘Let Us Shine’ by Morag Myerscough
📍 King Street
‘Scream the House Down: Bristol’ by Marcus Lyall
📍 The Corn Exchange
‘Ophelia’ by Davy & Kristin McGuire
📍 St Mary Redcliffe Church
‘Sirens’ by Davy & Kristin McGuire, Studio McGuire
📍 Bristol’s harbourside
‘Halo’ by illumaphonium
📍 The Podium in Broadmead
‘Continuum’ by illumaphonium
📍 Temple Church
‘Trumpet Flowers’ by Amigo & Amigo
📍 Quakers Friars in Cabot Circus
‘Beam’ by PYTCH
📍 Castle Bridge
📍 College Green
Overheard in Bristol: ‘Alright My Luvver’ and ‘Cheers Drive’
📍 Queen Square /📍 Bristol Bus and Coach Station
Head here to learn more about each light installation.
What else can you expect at Bristol Light Festival?
Whilst walking the Bristol Light Festival trail, make sure to keep an eye out for some of the city’s most iconic buildings.Many will be illuminated in celebration of the event, including Victoria Rooms, Wills Memorial Building, Millennium Square, Bristol Hippodrome, Temple Meads train station, PRYZM and City Hall on the opening night.
Meanwhile, several city centre businesses are embracing the festivities with some special
offers of their own. Left Hand Giant Brewpub has created a limited edition Bright Beams pale ale. While Hey Dude on King Street will have a special offer on Bristol Beer Factory’s Laser Juice between 5 & 8pm during the festival. And St George’s Bristol have created a Bristol Light Festival inspired cocktail The Lumen.
Not only that, but St Nicks Market will extend its hours on Saturday 4 & 11. Both indoor and outdoor markets will remain open until 9pm for late night shopping below the glow. While any one looking for an afterparty, should head to PRZYM for FIX Fridays: Laser Rave on February 10 or LYFECODE Saturdays: All of the Lights on February 11.
To get between the installations, Bristol Light Festival is working with Guide.AI to create a free audio guide, available in twelve languages. Users can also see a map showing the locations of all art installations and use it to travel between them. Bristol Light Festival is presented by Bristol City Centre Business Improvement District (BID) and supported by Redcliffe & Temple BID, Broadmead BID and Cabot Circus.
To see a map of all light installations head here.