Blackpool’s £100k competition to design new illuminations

Source: Blackpool Council 16 July 2019

A £100k competition has been launched giving one lucky winner a unique opportunity to create new work for the world-famous Blackpool Illuminations.

The competition was revealed by design consultant Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen as plans for the new Illuminations season were unveiled today.

He announced that Blackpool Council was inviting expressions of interest from international artists, designers and creative professionals to help reinvent the Illuminations, which attract more than three million visitors a year from the end of August until early November.

Up to five artists/companies will each receive an honorarium fee of £1,000 to produce a concept in response to the design brief. One overall winner will then work with a budget of up to £100k to produce the work for inclusion in the 2020 Illuminations display.

Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, Creative Curator of Blackpool Illuminations said: “This competition marks a new era for the Blackpool Illuminations in modern times. We are anticipating entries of an energy and a vibrance that will reflect the huge affection in which Blackpool is held by all pleasure-seeking Brits.”

It was also revealed today that the annual Lightpool Festival, which incorporates spectacular live performance, 3D projections and light-based art installations, has been extended to two weeks this year and will run from October 11 to 26.

The announcements came as the Blackpool Illuminations team previewed new features for this year’s display including a large-scale tribute to Sooty, the star of the longest-running children’s programme on TV.

Giant illuminated 3D models of Sooty, Sweep and Soo will take pride of place on the Golden Mile, just a short distance from the pier where the glove puppet was discovered more than 50 years ago.

Cllr Gillian Campbell, Deputy Leader of Blackpool Council, said: “We are delighted to give a sneak preview of the the new and exciting additions to the 2019 display.

“The Illuminations are one of the most enduring tourist attractions in the UK and bring a huge economic boost to Blackpool at a time when most resorts are putting up the shutters.

“It is particularly encouraging to see new businesses coming forward to support the Illuminations and help us reinvent them for future generations.”

Other new additions to the 2019 display, which will be switched on in front of 20,000 people on Friday 30 August, include:

The Northern Lights: State-of-the-art, programmable LEDs that will create a spectacular corridor of colour as visitors arrive at the southern end of the display. The section is sponsored by Northern Rail.

Beaverbrooks Centenary Lights: A celebration of the 100th anniversary of one of the Illuminations’ longest-running sponsors. To mark the milestone, the Beaverbrooks section has been given a sparkling new look to complement their special centenary jewellery collection.

4Wall Theatre of Light: 2019 sees the transformation of the Theatre D’Amour into the 4Wall Theatre of Light. The installation, close to South Pier, is an experimental piece that will showcase cutting-edge lighting technology.

NeoHearts: A new roadway section incorporating specially manufactured LED neon flex lighting with several hearts lighting up the promenade in all the colours of the rainbow.

The new features form part of the six miles of features, festoons and tableaux that will shine for 66 nights from August 30 until November 3. Other sponsors and supporters for 2019 include The Beach House Bar & Bistro, Best Western Carlton Hotel, Cubbies, Escape Room Centre, Genting Casino and the Houndshill Shopping Centre.

For further information on this year’s Illuminations go to  To find out more details on the Illuminations Design Competition click here.

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