Lightpool Festival Line-up Revealed
Blackpool’s award-winning Lightpool Festival is back with a programme of extraordinary free entertainment.
This year’s festival gets underway on Friday 14 October, marking the start of 16 nights of events including a spectacular mix of light-based art installations, stunning live performances, family-friendly activities, and 3D projection shows.
The festival will once again showcase new installations and artwork never seen before in the UK, with international works from France and the Netherlands thanks to £135,000 of funding from Arts Council England.
It will also see the return of the extraordinary Carnival Magic show in the Blackpool Tower Ballroom and the Illuminated Tram Parade, a once-a-year opportunity to see the resort’s illuminated heritage trams travelling in convoy beneath the world-famous Illuminations.
The Lightpool programme will be complemented by two free firework displays, 3D projection shows on The Blackpool Tower building, a festival village on the Tower Festival Headland, and the planned unveiling of Odyssey, the biggest light installation ever built at the Illuminations own manufacturing facility.
Philip Holmes, Artistic Director said “I am extremely proud and excited to bring this world class and extraordinary multi-sensory event to Blackpool this October. There is a real excitement and buzz of anticipation for this year’s Lightpool Festival with so many fabulous and fantastical experiences to enjoy and get involved with.
“We have secured and curated installation works by national and international artists, many who will stage their UK premier at Lightpool Festival.
“This free event is made possible by our wonderful sponsors and supporters, I am grateful for their continued support and encouragement in making Lightpool Festival bigger and better every year.”
Programme highlights include:
Every year, Lightpool Festival offers a fantastic free Art Trail suitable for all ages. This self-guided tour over 12 nights, from October 18-29, will see outdoor spaces and iconic buildings transformed by spectacular light works.
For the first time, the Art Trail is split into five easy-to-find zones:
Zone One (Tower Festival Headland)
Throughout the festival, visitors can take their place on the Tower Festival Headland and immerse themselves in a series of dazzling Tower projection shows. At selected times, The Blackpool Tower will be brought to life with a specially-commissioned magical sound and light spectacular. Visitors can grab a bite to eat or a hot drink from the wooden chalets on the headland. Plus, watch out for the unveiling of Odyssey, the largest 3D installation ever seen in the Blackpool Illuminations display (opening date to be confirmed).
Zone Two (Victoria Street and Blackpool Grand Theatre)
A short walk away from the Promenade, Lightpool visitors will be able to view Aqualux, a creative lighting installation comprising 48 unfilled water containers, and watch it come to life; see over 1,600 butterflies which have fluttered over to Blackpool Grand Theatre; and get dancing to the energetic community project, The Blackpool Way.
Zone Three (Winter Gardens, Blackpool Conference & Exhibition Centre)
The newly-opened Conference & Exhibition Centre within the Winter Gardens hosts a number of large-scale light installations for this year's festival, including Flux and CRYSTALLIZED, two impressive installations premiering in the UK for the first time.
(Winter Gardens, Olympia and Derham Lounge)
Head over to the Olympia exhibition space to see a selection of retro Illuminations favourites including the dazzling Tiffany Umbrellas and the otherworldly Spacemen; speak to NORMAN, an old-school ‘smart’ screen but with attitude; and watch the inspirational community project, We Are Blackpool.
Zone Four (St John’s Square/Birley Street)
Step back outside and engross yourself in The Nature Takeover, a journey into the interconnected rhythms of the natural world as it consumes outside of The Blackpool Church. Cleverly interact with the projection and control insects crawling on the building with your mobile device. On the nearby Winter Gardens frontage, is a new outdoor projection piece, 100 Stories High, with original music. Just around the corner, discover six metal arches which dominate Birley Street with a unique sound and light show.
Zone Five (Bickerstaffe Square opposite Blackpool North Rail Station)
Marvel at Big Bird, the 3.5 metre-high pigeon sculpture constructed from parts of London Black Cabs and tastefully illuminated by the Blackpool Illuminations team.
Some of the Art Trail features run for a limited time only. Please check the dates and times when you plan your visit. For the full Light Art Trail details, please visit: www.visitblackpool.com/lightarttrail
LIVE PERFORMANCE & EVENTS
The annual Lightpool Festival wouldn’t be the same without a generous helping of the live entertainment for which Blackpool is famed - and it’s all for free!
Carnival Magic – Monday 24 October, 7pm and 8.30pm
Location: The Blackpool Tower Ballroom
An exhilarating menagerie of illuminated carnival characters hit The Blackpool Tower Ballroom for an electrifying static showcase of music, puppetry and dance.
The internationally-renowned performers from Global Grooves will present a showstopper for more than 30 minutes, bringing a diverse melting pot of carnival magic. From giant hand-crafted puppets to stunning illuminated dancers, there will be something for all the family (Note: This is a free ticketed event subject to high demand)
Illuminated Tram Parade Featuring Spark! – Thursday 27 October
Location: Central Promenade (between 5pm and 7pm)
Back by popular demand, Spark! by Worldbeaters Music return to Blackpool to help us celebrate Lightpool Festival. For one night only, visitors will be able to watch headline LED drummers Spark!, a unique and thrilling show that combines high-impact drumming, superb choreography and stunning lighting design. The show will also showcase the annual illuminated tram parade, featuring the Battleship HMS Blackpool, the Fisherman’s Friend Trawler and the lottery-funded Great Western Train. Illuminated giant puppets, Lumidogs, and performers will also be joining the parade, adding a wow factor and showcasing content never seen before by audiences in Blackpool.
World Fireworks Championship Blackpool – Thursday 27 October and Friday 28 October
Location: Tower Festival Headland – approximate firing time 8:30pm (weather dependent)
Two spectacular firework displays will light up the skies during Lightpool Festival. Sponsored by family entertainment centre, Coral Island, the first will take place on Thursday 27 October (after the Illuminated Tram Parade) and the second on the following night, Friday 28 October, when Titanium Fireworks will deliver a showcase finale to fireworks season.
100 Stories High, Live Version, Friday 28 October
St John’s Square between 7pm and 8pm
This beautiful animation by imitating the dog theatre company, which forms part of the Lightpool Festival Art Trail, gets a special live performance accompanied by acclaimed singer Neil Balfour.
TOWER PROJECTION SHOWS
This year, The Blackpool Tower Projections are running between 2 September and 2 January, and will once again transform the iconic Tower building into a sea of light, colour and sound. From festive-filled stories to sci-fi projections, these free-to-watch, digitally-mapped shows are a mesmerising treat.
Exclusive to Lightpool Festival - Tower Light Show, 14 - 29 October
The Blackpool Tower is emblazoned with a glowing heart and 25,000 lights on the structure. In this specially-commissioned light show, the iconic Tower is brought to life with a sound and light spectacular produced by Greg McLenahan. The all-new light show runs every night during Lightpool Festival at 7pm, 8pm, 9pm and 10pm.
For the full festival line-up, please head to www.visitblackpool.com/lightpoolfestival