Lumiere to return to Durham for the second year in a row

By Emma Pinckard

Lumiere, Britain’s largest light festival, is set to return to Durham for the second year in a row after its £9.6 million success last November.

The festival, which previously has only taken place every other year, attracted around 200,000 visitors to the city over the weekend last year.

An independent report has found that the festival contributed almost £10 million to the region’s economy, showing an increase of almost £4 million in comparison to 2013.

After the first Durham Lumiere festival took place in 2009, it has grown increasingly popular and debuted in London this year.

Attendance has almost tripled since the first Lumiere in 2009, which drew in 75,000 people.

Last year the city hosted twenty-nine installations, which included the projection of the history of the universe onto the front of the Cathedral and a whale in the River Wear which could be seen from Elvet Bridge.

Previous years have exhibited the work of various artists, including that of Tracy Emin in the 2011 light festival.

Durham County Council have been asked to contribute £600,000 to commission Lumiere for the fifth time this Autumn.

Simon Henig, leader of the Council, has called the festival “a world class event”.

He continued to emphasise the positive economic impact of Lumiere, saying: “When we commissioned the 2015 festival, we did so based on sound economic benefits which demonstrated a clear and significant return on our investment for the county, businesses and residents.

“It’s tremendous to see that this was translated into even greater benefits not just in financial terms but also by creating that ‘feel good’ factor which you can’t put a price on.

“These benefits are ongoing for us and we know that events like these allow us to showcase our offer on a world stage, attracting new business, creating jobs and boosting our visitor economy”.

He also claimed: “Not many organisations can enjoy a return on investment of nearly 1,400 per cent and make people happy at the same time.”

Photograph: Andrew Scorah

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