Thousands attend first-ever Longbridge Light festival

The first Longbridge Light Festival has been hailed a success after attracting over 7,000 visitors.

The international arts festival on October 25 saw 28 globally renowned artists from cities including Lyon, Leipzig, Rotterdam, Berlin, Paris and Birmingham participating with specially commissioned work and talks, to highlight the £1 billion redevelopment of the 468-acre former car factory site by developers St Modwen.

Festival organisers WERK say they were overwhelmed by attendance figures and the positive response from the local community.

Norman Cave, Principal of Bournville College, festival partner, said: “It was a fantastic event and achieved just what it set out to do – bring people together in this new public space to celebrate, participate and enjoy the free activities and events. We look forward to next year being even bigger and better.”

The festival theme of Back to the Future was developed by Birmingham-based artists Elizabeth Rowe and Chris Poolman, commissioned by WERK; collectively they have brought together 28 artists from across the globe – as well as from Birmingham itself – whose unique work will respond to the past, present and future imagining of Longbridge.

Claire Farrell, director of WERK, said: “The atmosphere was wonderful, and the response to this first festival has been incredible – both from local community groups coming together to be part the event, as well as the thousands who came on Saturday to enjoy the events and installations.

“I would like to thank everyone who helped make the festival such a great success – from Bournville College, Birmingham City Council and St. Modwen to the incredible artists, project partners, visitors and volunteers, without whom this would not have been possible.”

Alongside the light and art was a full programme of hands-on activities produced in partnership with Longbridge community groups, businesses, schools and churches, including costume making, dress your window competition, constructing lanterns and, on both evenings of the festival, a Light-up Cycle Workshop, where visitors were invited to customise their two wheels before travelling along an illuminated science fiction cycle route.

The Longbridge Light Festival was preceded by the Tran-si-tion international conference on October 24 at Bournville College Conference Centre, it was an inspiring day with keynote speakers included artist Daan Roosegaarde from Rotterdam; Jean-Francois Zurawik, director of Fête des Lumières, Lyon; Glenn Howells, director of Glenn Howells Architects in Birmingham.