Belfast Telegraph

Mount Stewart's Festival of Light opens this weekend for new 2015 winter walk

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By Valerie Edwards

The National Trust Festival of Light at Mount Stewart's will open this weekend with hundreds of illuminated trees, music and art.

For ten nights from November 20-29, visitors can walk the illuminated lake trail and view animated light and sound shows from platforms at the Festival of Light. Visitors can also take a peek inside the newly restored house.

Unlike last year's spooky Halloween event, this year's light show will introduce a new Christmas theme that features several local artists who have contributed their work and talents to the festival.

Will Hawkins, a local musician who specialises in instrumental soundscapes, will provide music for the showcase and two well-known local artists, Tina Chong and Victoria Bentham, will add their work as well.

Mr Hawkins' in depth knowledge of Mount Stewart and its surrounding environment has helped to shape and influence the creation of unique soundscapes for this year’s event.

The festival returns for its third year and will feature a lighting installation from a light source without using lightbulbs created by Ms Chong. Her technique requires the usage of Electroluminescent Smart Material Technology, which uses an organic layer of phosphor that glows when electrical current passes through it.

The design is derived from a hand drawn illustration that resembles lily pad shapes.

Local sculptor and artist, Victoria Bentham, created each piece of her art specifically for the Festival of Light. She took her inspiration from the world class gardens, the mythology and characters associated with them.

She used a variety of materials, including steel, perspex and ceramics, to create stags and sculptures, which will be illuminated throughout the grounds.

Janet Vance, assistant visitor services manager at Mount Stewart, said: “We are delighted to have our own Ranger and two local artists supporting this year's Festival. Their artistic expertise and music skills are amazing and we can’t wait for them all to be unveiled at the Festival of Light.”

The event is a first of its kind for the National Trust in Northern Ireland and supported by Tourism NI.

The Festival of Light is based on the Son et Lumiere shows that originated in France.

For more information and tickets visit the National Trust advanced booking.

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