Countdown to new Derry 'Illuminate Festival'

Derry’s city centre will come to life with light installations and performances across multiple sites, as part of an exciting live illumination experience planned for February.

Deputy Mayor Councillor Christopher Jackson pictured at the launch of Illuminate – a light installation festival that will run over two weekends in February. Also included is Alison Leslie, Tourism NI, and Assumpta O’Neill, Visit Derry.
Deputy Mayor Councillor Christopher Jackson pictured at the launch of Illuminate – a light installation festival that will run over two weekends in February. Also included is Alison Leslie, Tourism NI, and Assumpta O’Neill, Visit Derry.

Funded by Tourism Northern Ireland, ‘Illuminate’ will run over two weekends, February 17-20 and February 24- 27 and will feature a showcase of outdoor light and live illumination experiences that will transform some of the city’s most iconic buildings into spectacular pieces of art to create a theatrical, innovative experience for people out and about the city centre.

A series of live illumination experiences will create a trail by turning some of our iconic buildings into spectacular pieces of art.

Using outdoor projection, sound and animation we will tell some of the cities original stories through digital animation, innovative design and deliver an experience that will be exciting, engaging, stimulating, informative, fully immersive and unique to Northern Ireland.

In addition to this, will be an Illuminated Trail of Light, which will include displays that will re-imagine public spaces across the city and Council will be working with local artists, businesses and organisations to develop a collection of exciting events which showcase the regions diverse arts and cultural offering.

The third element of the event, is a music programme that embraces the theme of light will take place through a series of intimate music gigs with artists such as Kíla, Neil Cowley and The Henry Girls.

Council will continue to work alongside businesses, cultural organisations and artists to enhance the visitor experience.

Funding for this iconic celebration of the Walled City has been secured from Tourism Northern Ireland through its Market-Led Development Programme for Local Authorities. The fund is part of the Embrace A Giant Spirit campaign which pledges to create authentic and innovative experiences that will provide more reasons to travel to and within Northern Ireland and to enhance and animate the experience for visitors from NI and ROI.

Speaking at the launch Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Graham Warke, said the event was hugely exciting and something for the public to look forward to in early 2022.

He said not only will it be a fantastic family spectacle, it will also encourage people to visit the city which in turn will give those in the retail, hospitality and tourism sector, a much needed boost.

He said: “Illuminate will be an amazing event that will really showcase our city centre and the many iconic buildings and locations we have within it. This outdoor spectacle will allow people to take a walk through the city centre, enjoy the illuminations and soak up the atmosphere. We hope it will bring some cheer and positivity to the city after a relatively challenging time for many and help bring some business into the city centre.”

Aeidin McCarter, Head of Culture with Derry City and Strabane District Council said that the Events team are working closely with the relevant bodies in terms of ensuring the event is COVID friendly and in adherence to any possible restrictions that may be in place at that time.

She said the primary focus when planning for this event will be to have a crowd friendly circuit of the city that can accommodate the numbers of people expected to attend, taking into account social distancing and crowd management, whilst allowing people to enjoy the experience safely.

Mayor Warke added that following the recent successes of Halloween and the Christmas Switch On procession, every effort is being made to use ambitious and curated animation to further develop and grow the city and region’s evening economy and to assist in COVID recovery.

The Mayor concluded: “I am hugely excited about this and delighted that once again our Council is set to deliver another fantastic event to showcase our city and region. This festival will be an opportunity for us to celebrate after a difficult and challenging period.

More details on the programme are available at www.illuminatederry.com