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Derry up in lights: Council approves two-week illumination festival in February


Installations and light shows will appear across the city.

Installations and light shows will appear across the city.

Installations and light shows will appear across the city.

A two-week illumination festival in Derry has been given the green light by city councillors on Tuesday.

Derry City & Strabane Council’s Business and Culture committee heard the proposal and unanimously backed the ‘Illuminating the Walled City’ event.

The event will run from the 14th – 27th February from 5pm to 10pm daily.

The plans follow the major success of ‘Lumiere’ as part of the City of Culture 2013 programme which highlighted the requirement for an out of season, demand generating experience that will attract visitors to the city.

Derry City & Strabane District Council has received a Service Level Agreement (SLA) from Tourism NI for £451k to the two-week long festival. It is 100% funded with no additional budget required by council.

Tourism NI has asked the council to meet certain objectives, which consist of attracting 92,000 additional visitors, generating 70% bed occupancy, engaging with over 70 local businesses and more than 40 local artists and venues to deliver the project by end of February 2022.

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The event will consist of three main elements including an Illuminated Trail of Light which will consist of installations and animations in public spaces across the city.

These could include giant moonbeams, displays of illuminated props, aerial illuminated characters, illuminated towers, fire gardens, circus and fire performers, large lanterns at multiple sites across the Walled City.

There will also be an Intimate Music Programme - embracing the theme of light in unique locations and Live Illumination Experiences each weekend culminating in a trail of live illumination experiences which will turn some of the city’s most iconic buildings into spectacular pieces of art.

Council officers said as this is a “once off fund” and to ensure there is a legacy from the project, council will have full copyright of the live light shows being developed.

These will be reused as part of our on-going programme of events with the potential of expanding this to the wider City and District as additional funding becomes available.

Councillor Conor Heaney said it was hugely exciting and “another fantastic event to showcase our city”.

“This festival will be an opportunity for us to celebrate after a difficult and challenging 18 months,” he said.

"I look forward to finding out more about the festival programme and to welcoming visitors and tourists from across the island of Ireland to our city to experience our unique heritage and culture.”

Speaking during the council meeting, Councillor Rory Farrell said it is “genuinely fantastic news” for the city.

"There is something magical about Derry on a cold dark winters night, seeing the buildings illuminated,” he added.

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