We so excited to hear that Bristol Light Festival returns on 1 – 6 March this year.
The event first took place in 2020 and saw amazing art installations installed across the city. It is such a great way to explore Bristol. See the tweet below for a thread of images and videos from our nighttime adventures in 2020!
The festival couldn’t take place last year due to the pandemic but it’s back in 2022 to fill the city with colour and light.
Six world premiere works will be on display in March alongside some of the best of the UK’s talent, all making their Bristol debut.
Visitors can explore the city’s streets to see the light art works come to life and enjoy Bristol’s wonderful retail and hospitality businesses along the way.
The installations will be illuminated every night from 5pm – 10pm at iconic Bristol landmarks including Park Street, Queen Square, St George’s Bristol, Cabot Circus, Castle Bridge, Temple Gardens, College Green and the Harbourside.
As well as the nighttime installations, there will also be daylight and green energy displays thanks to an Arts Council England grant.
Bristol Light Festival is presented by Bristol City Centre Business Improvement District, in partnership with Redcliffe and Temple BID, Arts Council England and Cabot Circus. It is curated by the festival’s creative director, Katherine Jewkes.
Bristol Light Festival 2022 installations
This year’s installations are:
Overheard in Bristol in Castle Park
In 2020, visitors saw the popular Bristol phrase ‘Cheers Drive’ in blue neon lights. This year, the much-loved and iconic Bristolian welcome ‘Alright my Luvver’ will shine brightly in neon pink lights at the Bristol Bridge entrance to Castle Park.
A giant retro rainbow slinky at the Cascade Steps
This one sounds particularly amazing!
End Over End, by Studio Vertigo, is a gigantic illuminated slinky that lights up to create the familiar flowing movement of the nostalgic toy. The size and scale of the installation will make visitors feel like they’ve entered a playroom in the land of giants as they watch each coil ‘slink’ down Cascade Steps and head towards the harbour’s water.
Disco Ball in Millennium Square
This new commission transform the Bristol Planetarium into a gigantic disco ball, projecting light across Millennium Square to disco ball themed podiums dotted across the area. Put on your dancing shoes!
Neighbours on Park Street
At the first festival in 2020, we loved the Neighbours installation. It featured artworks created by Bristol-based graffiti artists and illustrators that surrounded the window of Banksy’s famous Well Hung Lover on Park Street.
The installation returns in 2022 with a celebration of Bristol’s residents and how we interact with each other as a diverse community, whilst exploring the unique relationship we have all had with our homes over the pandemic.
A busy night on the streets of Bristol for the final night of the fabulous @bristol_light— Nina🇫🇷 & Dan🇬🇧 in #Bristol (@LStyleDistrict) March 1, 2020
This is ‘Neighbours’. Work by #Bristol artists @inkiegraffiti @ParysGardener @zoepowpower @Jazzaa_ projected onto Banksy’s ‘Well Hung Lover’@BrisCentreBID #BristolLight pic.twitter.com/xhC1jjOVPt
The Eyes on Clare Street
Inflatable art specialists, Designs in Air, will be bringing The Eyes to Bristol’s Old City area. Visitors walking up Clare Street should look up to see a pair of huge, illuminated eyes looking straight back at them from a tree! Sticking giant googly eyes in a tree gives it a unique character. Some of these leafy giants have been part of the city for centuries yet they often get ignored – if they could talk just imagine what stories they would tell!
Playtime at College Green
For Swing Song, Bristol-based company Tired Industries will create a collection of light up musical swings allowing visitors to swing alongside one another in a fun and interactive way. Powered by cutting edge technology, music and light will be triggered by the swinging motion and play in sync with one another, featuring music that celebrates Bristol’s rich history.
Sign Night – Hand Ships Sail at Arnolfini
Sign Night, a poignant performance on film created and directed by Bristol-based Cathy Mager, has been repurposed into Sign Night – Hand Ship Sail, presenting a new edit of the performance never seen before.
The beautifully shot piece will be projected onto the side of the Arnolfini art gallery on the Harbourside and is best viewed from the other side of the harbour, outside Revolución de Cuba.
The piece conveys a poetic conversation between two star-crossed lovers, inspired by the balcony performers of Wuhan and Lombardy, using British Sign Language (BSL) – the vital, visual and versatile language of British deaf communities.
Offices come to life after dark at Cheese Lane Shot Tower
International light artist Parker Heyl will bring his playful installation Office Party to Bristol for the first time, taking over the Vertigo building in the Redcliffe & Temple area.
The installation comes from the idea that workspaces may come to life in our absence, using sequenced light choreography to make the while building dance after the workers have gone home.
Owners of the Vertigo building, Workforce Development Trust, and Boccard, one of its resident businesses, will be providing their office windows for the installation that can be seen on Cheese Lane Shot Tower.
Bird spotting at St George’s Bristol and Temple Gardens
Internationally renowned Bristol-based audio-visual artist Kathy Hinde will present two nature inspired creations.
One will feature in the garden at concert hall St George’s Bristol and give a new meaning to bird spotting! The light and sound sculpture, Chirp & Drift is a flock of illuminated bird-like instruments that chatter in morse-code messages. As visitors walk beneath, the gentle tones and harmonies made by accordion reeds hidden inside each ‘bird’ can be heard in a delicate and gentle way.
The second installation is Luminous birds which will feature in Temple Gardens. It’s an animated flock of traditional origami-style birds suspended overhead. Each bird has a slightly different wing position to create a sequence similar to a stop-motion animation with accompanying sounds adding to the artwork.
Somewhere over the rainbow in Queen Square
Lighting designers Toy Studio will bring their colourful and immersive daylight installation to Bristol for the first time. Circle of Light will encircle the equestrian statue in Queen Square and create coloured shadows that extend and contract depending on the time of day, angle, and intensity of the sun.
Visitors can experience Circle of Light from a distance, taking in the rainbow of colours spanning the square, or can walk through each colour shadow and see the city in a different light. The installation will also be part of the evening programme when it will light up and again bathe the square in a spectrum of colour.
A waterfall of light at Left Handed Giant
Squidsoup, a group of internationally renowned artists, designers and technologists, has created a new commission for the 2022 Bristol Light Festival. Cascade is an exuberant fountain of energy, light and sound, that will emanate from the top of Left Handed Giant brewpub creating waves of sound and light as it cascades into the river below.
Each light orb is designed and hand built by Squidsoup, creating a highly immersive experience.
Lucid Creates at Cabot Circus
Multi-disciplinary design Studio, Lucid Creates, is bring two light installations to the festival. On display at Cabot Circus will be Exponential, a seemingly-floating, kaleidoscopic mirrored cube, encased in endlessly moving patterns of light, triggered by an hour-long ambient soundtrack.
The second installation is Crossroads, an immersive space in which audiences experience illusions that can reveal everything from how they process space and time to their perception of consciousness. Lights move in sync with a transportive ambient soundscape by Canadian artists Exist Strategy to create an hour-long immersive AV experience.
Find a map of all the Bristol Light Festival installations here.
We can’t wait for the Bristol Light Festival!
Top image credit: Andre Pattenden