Details of exciting illuminating Walled City Festival outlined to members
13 October 2021
Details of an exciting event entitled Illuminating the Walled City Festival was unveiled to elected members of Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Business and Culture Committee today.
Members were informed that funding for the festival was secured from Tourism Northern Ireland through its Market Led Development Programme for Local Authorities. The fund is part of the Embrace A Giant Spirit which is a pledge 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.
Aeidin McCarter, Head of Culture with Derry City and Strabane District Council explained to members of the committee that the success of Lumiere, as part of the City of Culture 2013 and the continued growth of Halloween, highlights the need to use ambitious and curated animation to further develop and grow our evening economy, which are vital if we are to achieve our targets of doubling visitor spend and growing jobs in the sector.
She said Council had been successful in securing over £450k from Tourism NI to deliver a two-week long Festival of Light entitled “Illuminating the Walled City” planned for February next year.
It is anticipated the festival will attract over 90k additional visitors, generate 70% bed occupancy and involve over 70 local businesses and 40 local artists and venues.
She explained that while the programme is still being developed it is currently proposed that it will take place from 14-27 February from 5-10pm daily and consist of three main elements – An Illuminated Trail of Light, an Intimate Music Programme and a series of Live Illumination Experiences.
The Illuminated Trail of Light will feature installations and performances at multiple sites across the Walled City; while the Intimate Music Programme will embrace the theme of light with intimate gigs of well-known local artists in unique locations. The Live illumination Experience that will include a trail of live illumination experiences that will transform some iconic buildings into spectacular pieces of art.
Members were advised that with possible restrictions still in place, 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.
A further paper outlining final details of the programme will come before a future meeting of the committee.
The Chairperson of the Business and Culture Committee Cllr Conor Heaney welcoming the project said it was hugely exciting and he looked forward to hearing details of the full programme.
He said: “This is very positive news and I am delighted that our teams are working together 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 18 months. I look forward to finding out more about the festival programme and to welcoming visitors and tourists from across the island of Ireland to our city to experience our unique heritage and culture.”