Lumiere festival was a triumph as people came together to enjoy the biggest outdoor event in the North East since lockdown
An estimated 140,000 visitors attended as Lumiere extended across County Durham as well as in Durham City for first time.
Lumiere is instrumental to County Durham’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2025, demonstrating how the county fuses its rich heritage with its dynamic, inclusive and innovative approach to culture and arts. Produced by Artichoke, and commissioned by Durham County Council with additional support from Arts Council England, Durham University and a raft of funders and supporters, this was the most ambitious Lumiere yet.
For the first time since it began in 2009, Lumiere linked city and wider county through six bold commissions that transformed significant landmarks across County Durham from the Apollo Pavilion at Peterlee to Raby Castle at Staindrop.
In the city audiences explored 31 extraordinary artworks, ranging from 40-member LED French Rock’n’Roll band (The Froggs by Groupe LAPS) in Market Place, to the interactive Tree of Hope at Prince Bishops Place and online, to the quietly contemplative Anthology: Into the Light, featuring the voices of eleven leading poets as their words were beamed onto Durham Castle.
The festival continued in its international tradition, despite the limitations and increased costs imposed by COVID and Brexit, with artists from 11 countries across the world bringing their extraordinary vision to Lumiere.
Inspired by themes ranging from the pandemic to the environment, and from medieval to modern, the artists re-imagined public space and historic monuments using all manner of light.
One visitor declared the event on Twitter to be: “Dazzling, dramatic…next stop #Durham 2025” Another said: “Especially love the interactive works at Lumiere, they bring out the big kid in everyone”.
Durham County Council, Culture Durham and Durham University are leading County Durham’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2025.
To find out more about Lumiere 2021 and see the highlights from the festival, visit the Lumiere website and follow @artichoketrust Twitter, Facebook, TikTok, Instagram and YouTube.