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Lightpool Festival Returns This October

Enjoy 15 nights of magic to the bright lights of Blackpool.

Blackpool is gearing up for its biggest ever programme of FREE entertainment over the October half-term holiday.

The award-winning Lightpool Festival, which will take place between October 11 and 26, will provide an amazing mix of live performance and light-based art installations, including a replica planet Earth in The Blackpool Tower Ballroom; the world premiere of a large-scale Sun in the Winter Gardens and a display of giant illuminated see-saws in the town centre.

The programme also includes the return of the Carnival of the Lights; Carnival Magic, featuring a menagerie of illuminated characters; a glow-in-the-dark children’s football tournament; fire and light-based shows; 3D projections on to the front of The Blackpool Tower building; and a town centre art trail.

Lightpool
This year’s festival is being staged in a collaboration between VisitBlackpool, LeftCoast, Blackpool Town Centre BID, Northern Rail, Access Fylde Coast, Primary Futures and The Blackpool Tower.

Cllr Gillian Campbell, Deputy Leader of Blackpool Council, said: “The Lightpool Festival is a fantastic addition to the Blackpool Illuminations season and it gets bigger and better with every passing year.

“This year, we are delighted to bring some incredible live performances and light installations to the resort, some of which have never been seen before. It’s hard to imagine a more compelling programme of free entertainment for families to enjoy over the school holidays.”

Here is the confirmed festival programme. For full details go to visitblackpool.com/lightpoolfestival.

GAIA
Monday 14 to Friday 25 October, The Blackpool Tower Ballroom

Gaia is a touring artwork by celebrated UK artist Luke Jerram who brought his “Museum of the Moon” to Blackpool in 2018. Measuring seven metres in diameter, Gaia features extraordinarily detailed NASA imagery of the Earth’s surface. The installation will be located in the Blackpool Tower Ballroom, giving visitors the opportunity to dance around the world!

A specially made surround sound composition by BAFTA award-winning composer Dan Jones will be played alongside the sculpture.

The installation will be officially launched on the evening of Thursday October 17 with a special dance event. Further dance events will take place on the evenings of October 21-24. Installation will be open for viewing every night 6pm-10.30pm, October 14-25, except Friday 18 October.

The artwork is created in partnership with the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), Bluedot Festival and The UK Association for Science and Discovery Centres. With supporting partners Culture Liverpool and Liverpool Cathedral.

SUN
Monday 14 to Saturday 26 October, Olympia in the Winter Gardens

Sun, a new installation by artist Alex Rinsler, is a 7m sphere presenting data from NASA’s Solar Dynamic Observatory in stunning 360°. SUN displays several months in the life of our closest star but in tens of minutes of real time.  A world first, the work is sponsored by Access Fylde Coast and co-commissioned by the Lightpool Festival and Light Up Lancaster. The festival team will work in partnership with Professor Robert Walsh from the University of Central Lancashire to provide educational sessions for schools. The installation can be viewed 6pm-10pm each night, with a series of public talks on selected nights – see website for workshop details.

WAVE-FIELD
Wednesday 23 to Saturday 26 October, St John’s Square

A collection of eight giant see-saws shipped from Canada by LeftCoast and Lightpool Festival, for a special interactive display in Blackpool town centre.  Although they are ridden like any other see-saw, their motion activates built-in lights and speakers, to create a unique and unforgettable user experience. Open 6pm-10.30pm each evening.

LUMIDOGS
Workshops: 12 and 13 October, Houndshill Shopping Centre

The much-loved Lumidogs returns, sponsored by Houndshill Shopping Centre, offering dog-owners a chance to make light-up costumes for their beloved pets, with the best dressed dog winning a dog hamper and a jacket for the owner.  Workshops every hour between 10am and 2pm on both days.

FIT2GLOW FOOTBALL
Heats during October, with final on Wednesday 16 October, The Blackpool Tower Circus

Teams from local schools will once again don neon bibs and glow-in-the-dark accessories for a five-a-side competition with a difference. The heats will take place at indoor sports facilities across Blackpool, transforming the spaces into a playground of ultra-violet light and glow-in-the-dark matches. The final will take place between 9.30am and noon in The Blackpool Tower Circus.

Lightpool

LATE AT THE LIBRARY

Friday 18 October, Blackpool Central Library

Lightpool Festival will this year feature a late-night opening for Central Library, when the lights are dimmed and installed lighting illuminates the venue. Inside this magical atmosphere, there will be workshops for children, themed book reading, archive film footage of Blackpool Illuminations, a local art exhibition and close-up magic. Open 6pm-9pm.

TALKING HEADS

Saturday 19 October, Tower Festival Headland

As dusk falls, three giant translucent heads appear. Magically animated by projections, they will show the faces of audience members and quite literally put words into their mouths as they speak and sing. For audiences of all ages. Free event, 7pm-9pm.

CARNIVAL OF THE LIGHTS

Thursday 24 October, Blackpool Promenade

Back by popular demand, the Carnival of the Lights is a unique illuminated tram parade showcasing Blackpool’s rich heritage with a fleet of illuminated trams travelling in convoy along Blackpool Promenade. The parade presents a unique opportunity to witness Blackpool’s historic collection of illuminated tramcars featuring a battleship, trawler and Great Western train.

This year, for the first time, the parade will be joined by the East Midlands Caribbean Carnival Arts Network, who will bring a troupe of fabulously costumed, illuminated revellers. There will also be a first appearance in Blackpool by the Illuminated Carnival Puppets including giant illuminated birds and racing snails.

The Tram Parade leaves Blackpool Pleasure Beach at 5.45pm, arriving at Central Pier at approximately 6pm to be joined by the carnival procession. Free show takes place from 6.15pm at Tower Festival Headland.

Lightpool

CARNIVAL MAGIC

Friday 25 October, Tower Festival Headland

An exhilarating menagerie of illuminated carnival characters will hit the streets of Blackpool for an electrifying showcase of music, puppetry and dance. Prepare to be amazed by robots, fire-breathing beasts and a 20-piece carnival band. Free show takes place at 7pm.

PYRONIX PRESENTS ADONIAS

Saturday 26 October, Tower Festival Headland

Belgian performance troupe Pyronix invite you to immerse yourself in a fantastic universe where fire is at the heart of an endless struggle. With precise choreography and intense music, this latest production from Pyronix will take you be on an astonishing visual journey. The free show begins at 7pm on the headland opposite The Blackpool Tower.

BLACKPOOL TOWER PROJECTIONS

Friday 11 October – Sunday 3 November, Blackpool Tower

The final three weeks of the Blackpool Illuminations season, will see the front of The Blackpool Tower bathed in a sea of light, colour and sound, as stunning, digitally-mapped, multi-media shows, are projected on to this iconic building. When the Blackpool Illuminations are shining, get out of your car, stroll along Blackpool Promenade and soak in the experience!​ The 3D projection shows are sponsored by Northern Rail and continue for an additional week after the festival ends.

TOWN CENTRE ART

Monday 14 – Saturday 26 October, Blackpool Town Centre

Throughout the Lightpool Festival, there will be a fantastic free art trail throughout the town centre with varied, bright and thought-provoking installations celebrating Blackpool’s unique place in history as the home of illumination. 6pm-10.30pm each night. Check out the website for full details of where to find the installations.

TRICK OF THE LIGHT

Saturday 28 September – December 14, Grundy Art Gallery

Exhibition that brings together internationally recognised contemporary artists with a showcase of works that explore the use of light. From 10am-5pm each day plus late night opening until 6pm on Friday 18 and 25 October.

For more information on this year’s Festival and to keep up-to-date, please go to visitblackpool.com/lightpoolfestival.  To check out the highlights of last year’s event, click here.

We’ve still got lots more to look forward to:

  • Blackpool Illuminations30 August–3 November – The greatest free light show on earth returns to Blackpool Promenade for another year – FREE
  • Nickelodeon SLIMEFEST – 19, 20 & 21 October – Nickelodeon SLIMEFEST ticketed shows are now sold out and take place on Saturday, Sunday and Monday at the Arena, Blackpool Pleasure. The six shows across three days will feature live performances, games, characters and plenty of slime, music and mayhem!  You can still bag a ticket for this year’s events by entering some of the SLIMEFEST competitions running at www.nick.co.uk/SLIMEFEST