Durham's 2019 Lumiere light festival to be 'most ambitious ever'

Last year's Lumiere Festival in Durham City.
Last year's Lumiere Festival in Durham City.

Durham City will host its most ambitious ever Lumiere light festival in 2019, according to organisers.

Durham County Council’s Cabinet has today agreed to re-commission Artichoke to deliver large scale events in both 2019 and 2021, with community activities and legacy artworks in the years between.

Last year's Lumiere Festival in Durham City.

Last year's Lumiere Festival in Durham City.

The 2019 event will run from 14 to 17 November and will see a number of highlights from the previous five festivals shine a light on the county - to mark the event’s 10th anniversary. Lumiere was established in Durham in 2009 and the 2019 programme is expected to wow the hundreds of thousands of people who flock to the biennial event and to ensure that the county is showcased on a global scale.

Durham County Council’s leader, Cloun Simon Henig, said: “I am absolutely delighted to invite Artichoke back and I can’t wait to hear more about what we can expect.

"2019 marks a decade from the birth of Lumiere in Durham and it seems fitting to mark that in spectacular fashion, particularly as we anticipate the combined visitor numbers linked to previous editions will see us surpass one million next year.

“Every event delivers huge opportunities for us to shout about what a wonderful place Durham is and to use that profile to promote our county as a fantastic destination to visit, live, study and do business.

Last year's Lumiere Festival in Durham City.

Last year's Lumiere Festival in Durham City.

"This importance is also reflected in the growth in support from the private sector with an ever increasing number of sponsors and supporters getting involved each time.

"We are also really grateful for the continuing support from all our partners including Arts Council England, the Cathedral, University and Durham Constabulary.”

CEO and artistic director of Artichoke, Helen Marriage, said: “The festival’s continued success shows what is possible when the local authority, local business and local people come together behind a project, allowing us as producers to push the boundaries and do really exciting things.

“The challenge is to keep it feeling fresh, so that Lumiere is always an adventure. I know a lot of people head for the centre: Cathedral, Market Place, Riverside and Castle.

"But I never want Lumiere to become predictable and I think this has been the key to its success over the years.

"I’m always thinking of new ways to explore the cityscape and make the experience something of a magical journey of discovery.”

At Cabinet today members heard that Lumiere 2017 attracted record 240,000 strong crowds, delivered community outreach opportunities involving 1,700 people across the county, provided volunteering opportunities for more Festival Makers than ever before and saw its regional audience grow significantly.

It was also worth more than £7.5million to the county’s economy.