Major Funding Boost for Blackpool Illuminations’ Lightpool Festival

Source: VisitBlackpool 4 November 2022

Blackpool Illuminations is to become an Arts Council National Portfolio Organisation for the first time – providing a funding boost of almost £700k over the next three years.

A grant of £225k a year, starting in April 2023, will allow the Illuminations team to develop the work of Lightpool, the award-winning light art festival held in October every year.

The funding is part of a £43.5m investment in Levelling Up by the Arts Council with around 900 organisations being named within the new national portfolio.

Blackpool’s Grand Theatre and Grundy Art Gallery, both existing NPOs, have been awarded a new three-year investment with the Grand receiving more than £1.5m and The Grundy £99k.

The Illuminations NPO funding will enable:

  • Commissioning of new light art for the Illuminations display and Lightpool Festival collaborating with national and international artists;
  • Delivery of an extensive talent development programme for artists and creatives with artists in residence; and developing new work using the expertise of the Illuminations team and the amazing facilities at Lightworks, the Illuminations manufacturing facility at Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone;
  • Expansion of the work with local cultural partners such as LeftCoast, Old Electric, and the Grand Theatre to provide year-round activity for children, young people and local communities to creatively take part and present work to a wider audience during the Illuminations season and as part of Lightpool Festival.

Lightpool Festival, which is staged over October half-term, has become established as one of the UK’s best light-based festivals. The 2022 event, which finished on October 29, featured 16 nights of free entertainment including a spectacular mix of light-based art installations, stunning live performances, family-friendly activities, and 3D projection shows.

It showcased new installations and artwork never seen before in the UK, with international works from France and the Netherlands, and Odyssey, the largest 3D light installation ever created by the Illuminations team.

It also saw the return of the extraordinary Carnival Magic show in the Blackpool Tower Ballroom and the Illuminated Tram Parade, a once-a-year opportunity to see the resort’s illuminated heritage trams travelling in convoy beneath the world-famous Illuminations.

Cllr Lynn Williams, Leader of Blackpool Council said: “We are immensely proud of Lightpool Festival and excited that it is now a part of the Arts Council’s national portfolio.

“It gives us a tremendous opportunity to collaborate with artists and partners both nationally and internationally to present the best contemporary light art work of the day to our present Illuminations audience of more than three million locals and visitors.

“We have a vibrant arts scene in Blackpool with some wonderful independent organisations and the funding will enable us to collaborate with them to a much greater level.”

Phil Holmes, Artistic Director for Lightpool said: “This is wonderful news and comes on the back of a highly successful 2022 Lightpool Festival this October where we delighted audiences with exciting work from international artists and supported emerging artists in presenting light art work to the public for the first time.

“This funding will enable us to build on our support and development of artists and creatives in particular with new technologies.”

Lightpool Festival forms part of a spectacular programme of autumn and winter entertainment. This includes:

Blackpool Illuminations
The annual Blackpool Illuminations have once again been extended by two months running nightly from September 2, 2022 to January 2, 2023. This year’s display includes a reimagining of the stretch of lights on the famous Golden Mile by TV star and designer Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen.

Christmas By The Sea
Our magical Christmas village is back for 2022 with free skating, snowfalls, magic forest, outdoor lightshows and festive market and the return of the Star Flyer, one of Europe’s highest swing rides. It runs from November 18 until January 2 on the Tower Festival Headland. Christmas By The Sea is returning this winter – thanks to the resort’s tourism businesses and national broadband providers, TalkTalk. Further information here:

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