Spectacular light festival seen by thousands proves Stoke-on-Trent has got what it takes to hold world-class events.

Published: Friday, 22nd March 2019

Nearly 16,000 people attended a three-day arts extravaganza in Stoke-on-Trent, with a further 24,000 watching the proceedings online.

Burslem town centre was transformed for the Light Night festival, which was led by arts programme Appetite Arts in partnership with Stoke-on-Trent City Council, the New Vic Theatre, and the Cultural Forum.

The town’s iconic buildings and streets were lit up for the free event at the end of January, as people of all ages travelled from all across the city to watch a programme of fantastic light displays and artworks.

A range of illuminated performances were showcased, including a glowing parade led by a giant illuminated puppet and accompanied an LED-lit percussion ensemble, which has had global success.

Other incredible installations viewed by visitors included a series of hand-crafted fire sculptures and other fiery works of art created by a host of local, national and international artists.

Light Night Stoke-on-Trent was match funded by Arts Council England and Stoke-on-Trent City Council. It was launched alongside 'Making the Creative City,' a ten-year cultural strategy for the city, and #SOTCulture, a campaign to get more people involved in and championing culture and creativity.

In the run up to the event residents, schoolchildren and businesses from across the city also took on The Light Night Challenge. Delivered in partnership with BBC Radio Stoke, Voluntary Arts and Up for Arts, the Challenge, which aimed to get the whole city glowing, saw over 2,500 people take part in illuminated bunting workshops, create Light Night tealight holders or light up the windows of their homes and businesses in the countdown to the event.

Deputy leader of the council and cabinet member for finance and partnerships, Councillor Abi Brown said: "The feedback we have received for Light Night has been overwhelmingly positive, proving that our Stoke-on-Trent City of Culture 2021 bid has continued to leave a strong legacy that we will continue to build upon.

"Light Night was a brand-new event for Stoke-on-Trent and following its success, we are keen to ensure that all of our six towns have opportunities to host such first-class and creative events.

"Cultural and arts events are vital for bringing people into our city and in boosting our economy. They are also fantastic opportunities to bring our communities together and to show off the huge range of talent and creativity in our city.

"I would like to thank everybody who worked so hard to put on such a fabulous event and to all those for their support. We will continue to work with our partners to ensure that we continue to build upon the foundations already laid in order to get more people involved with our culture."

Appetite’s Project Director Erica Love said: “We hoped Light Night would shine a light on the city and so it was heart-warming to see so many flocking from across Stoke-on-Trent and beyond it to enjoy the illuminated artworks and soak up the city transformed. Working so closely with the many residents, businesses and partners involved in the project, as well as the local, national and international artists, was invaluable to making the three evenings such an inspiring success.”

Cultural Champion for Burslem, Amanda Bromley, said: "Light Night lit up Burslem's beautiful architecture as part of a magical night trail.

"All ages and backgrounds visited during the event despite the cold. It really was a party like never seen before on the streets of the Mother Town.

"It was a thorough success for our fantastic city and its growing cultural reputation, and it was mostly locally delivered, we should all be proud of what was achieved.

"I know Burslem would love to see it happen again and I look forward to see the other events of this class happening throughout our fantastic unique city of six towns."

For all media enquiries please contact the press office at Stoke-on-Trent City Council on 01782 232 395.