News / Bristol City Centre BID

New Bristol Light Festival for 2020

By ellie pipe, Monday Jul 29, 2019

The dark days of February will be brightened up next year with the launch of a new festival for Bristol that has big ambitions.

A bid to “inject some light and fun” into the city centre at a time that’s traditionally slow for businesses will see two award-winning creative directors collaborate on installations to celebrate and showcase local and international talent.

Launching in February 2020, Bristol Light Festival is set to bring colour and light to public spaces with the aim of creating a vibrant, welcoming place for residents, attract visitors and boost the city’s profile, tourism and urban economy.

The event is led by Bristol City Centre Business Improvement District (BID), which has partnered with Bristol City Council and UWE Bristol’s Digital Cultures Research Centre to bring the event to life and evaluate its benefits.

Katherine Jewkes and Vashti Waite, the brains behind Watershed’s ‘The Rooms’, a series of immersive installations that took over a number of the city’s venues in 2014, are both internationally-acclaimed directors who return to home soil to work on the festival.

The Rooms was a series of immersive installations across Bristol in 2014, worked on by creative directors, Katherine Jewkes & Vashti Waite.  Photo by Max McClure

“Bristol has a rich history of bold, creative endeavours and we are delighted to be appointed co-directors to build Bristol Light Festival over the next three years into a celebration worthy of this world-renowned festival city,” said Vashti.

Katherine added: “We are thrilled by the opportunity to work alongside the rich and varied talents of Bristol’s unique cultural sector and city centre businesses to create a new Light Festival for the people of Bristol and beyond.”

The plan is to build the festival into an internationally-recognised event, with broader partnerships outside of the city, and build on Bristol’s reputation for green energy and innovative tech.

The directors are particularly interested in exploring sustainable light art and interactive playful environments.

Speaking about the event’s potential benefits, Keith Rundle, operations director at Bristol City Centre BID, said: “January and February can be dark and difficult months of the year for many of us, and indeed for cities, their communities, businesses and retailers.

“So we’re hugely excited to be working together to inject some light and fun into the city centre and spread a little wonder beyond Christmas and into the New Year.

“Both Katherine and Vashti are incredibly well-established festival and event curators, with exciting connections to an international network of artists and collaborators. It is fantastic to be have them both working together in Bristol to deliver an innovative, contemporary and completely new event for the city.”

Artists interested in creating and showing work are asked to email:

Main photo: The Rooms in 2014. Photo by Max McClure

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