Arts & Culture

Tenth year of Light Festival focuses on Undiscovered Oxford

By Sarah Edwards

Founded in 2009, Oxford’s Christmas Light Festival has become a key date on the city’s cultural calendar. This year the theme ‘Undiscovered Oxford ’ explores the city’s hidden highlights with installations, illuminations, performances and events over an exciting weekend from Friday 16th to Sunday 18th November.

Festival Director Rachel Capell programmes the event with cultural partners around the city. The exciting blend of sound and light installations is sure to delight the crowds once again.

She said “The festival’s theme ‘Undiscovered Oxford’ offers the opportunity to reveal so much about the city of which we are often less aware. Our cultural partners in the festival are opening up their buildings and disclosing their contents in exciting and unusual ways – particularly the projections on and even in some of our most loved buildings. The festival is a unique moment in the calendar when we can all come together and share in a fantastic array of installations and outdoor performances, enjoying being in the crowd and discovering new things together.”

The festival is an important event for Oxford bringing international and local artists together in a weekend of celebration and fun.
Councillor Mary Clarkson , Oxford City Council Executive Board Member for Culture and City Centre said

“What I love about Oxford’s Christmas Light Festival is that it brings Oxford’s diverse communities together. It’s wonderful to see all of Oxford’s cultural attractions and groups come together to put on a fantastic mix of events to wow audiences from all four corners of the city. The range of events taking place across this year’s festival weekend is astonishing, and it really has the potential to be the best ever.”

In addition to more than 20 cultural venues opening up with special events over the weekend, the festival will feature hubs of activity at Broad Street, Gloucester Green, Bonn Square and Oxford Castle Quarter.

Following the launch of the festival with the much-loved lantern parade featuring over 400 school pupils and community group members, Oxford residents and visitors can enjoy spectacular visual treats like Dan Fox ’s dynamic sound and light sculpture ‘Shimmer Tree’ , the breath-taking ‘Heliosphere’ from The Dream Engine that floats a dancing figure high in the air, ‘ Voice Park ’ where the collected city voices are waiting to converse, stunning giant projections from Luxmuralis adorn Oxford’s iconic buildings, a huge programmable LED cube displays specially curated artworks in Westgate Oxford and the Dancin’ Oxford performance stage thunders with the sound of dancing feet.

Wander around the city centre and you will come upon pop-up performances of music, dance and theatre, festive markets with delicious food, individual crafts and gifts plus enchanting installations in surprising places.

The festival is a free event co-produced by Oxford City Council and Ian Nolan Events.

Oxford’s Christmas Light Festival has been held annually since 2009. Originally a one-day event it has extended to three days involving 25 cultural partners, more than 26,000 participants and attracting over 100,000 people to the event over the weekend.

Funding for the event comes from Arts Council England, Oxford City Council, University of Oxford.

The festival’s main sponsors are Westgate Oxford Alliance.

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