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Shining a light on success: Bristol Light Festival brings £10.4m to the city centre over 10 dazzling nights

As expressions of interest open for 2025 edition, organisers announce that £8.7m of additional spend was directly attributed to 2024 festival taking place

29/04/2024

Bristol Light Festival made its highly anticipated return between 2nd-11th February 2024 with 10 evenings of stunning light installations across the city centre. The playful, immersive and colourful artworks illuminated some of Bristol’s well-trodden paths, as well as some unexpected places, as the festival welcomed 275,000 visitors at a traditionally dark time of year. 

From the dazzling world premiere of Studio McGuire’s Ascendance, to Real Hackney Dave’s luminous reminder that Bristol is always a Good Idea, the spectacular installations shone for five hours a day, brightening up the city at the height of winter. For those looking to share their light artworks next year, expressions of interest are now open at bristollightfestival.org/call-for-artists/.

Apply here

Festival organiser, Bristol City Centre Business Improvement District (BID), has outlined that this year’s festival attracted 275,000 visitors throughout its duration, equating to a huge £10.4m spend, which was associated with those visiting. Of this, £8.7m occurred directly as a result of the festival taking place.* Economic benefit was seen across all business sectors with the number of visitors staying overnight in the city for the festival increasing from 2023, resulting in a 100% spend increase from 2023 bringing £1,593,380 to the industry. Spend in the city was £26.20 per person (up 11% from £23.51 in 2023 ). With return on investment calculated at £25.77, for every pound spent on the event, 25 times that amount was generated for the local economy.

This year’s festival saw a 10% increase in visitors compared with 2023, despite two days of adverse weather conditions. 75% of attendees made their trip to the city during this time specifically for the Bristol Light Festival, a further increase since 2023.

Bristol Light Festival aims to bring communities in the city together, and the 2024 edition saw more than 50 organisations directly support the delivery of the festival – with an emphasis on engaging Bristol and locally-based businesses. 55 paid employment opportunities were created for event and creative personnel, throughout the planning and delivery of the event, further adding to the direct benefits of such an event for the people of Bristol. 

Bristol Light Festival brings together installations from world-renowned artists as well as the best of the South West. Ahead of its fifth iteration in 2025, it is now a firm fixture on Bristol’s event calendar with the playful, supportive and inclusive atmosphere it brings to the city each year. The festival is founded by Bristol City Centre Business BID and delivered in partnership with Redcliffe & Temple BID. The festival is curated by multi award-winning Creative Director, Katherine Jewkes.

Katherine Jewkes, Creative Director of Bristol Light Festival, said:

“Since our first edition in 2020, the city of Bristol has welcomed the festival with open arms. It’s a real full-circle moment to see what the festival has been able to give back to the businesses that add vibrancy to the city centre all year round, and we can’t wait to see what the 2025 edition brings!”

Vicky Lee, Head of Bristol City Centre BID, said:

“Every year, a key focus for us as part of the festival is to ensure that businesses in the area are able to benefit from the significant increase in footfall on their doorsteps. To see such a huge spend being attributed to the festival is testament to how inviting and diverse our city centre businesses are, to attract such a high spend while an event is happening. We look forward to continuing to support businesses to attract more customers especially in the quieter months.”

Steve Bluff, Head of Redcliffe & Temple BID, said:

“Redcliffe & Temple BID businesses continue to back the development of the Bristol Light Festival. It’s the city's major winter festival, attracting many thousands of workers, residents and visitors to explore our city but it also helps to positively portray Bristol right across the UK and internationally”.

Off the back of this year’s successes, festival organisers are now looking for talent to apply to be part of Bristol Light Festival 2025. Artists are encouraged to get in touch with their expression of interest now, to be in with a chance of showcasing their work on the huge platform that the festival offers. Talent from near and far is welcome to apply, and can do so by getting in touch via the Bristol Light Festival’s Call for Artists page. 

*This year saw a change in survey consultant from previous years, and although where possible the methodology and question topics were kept consistent for comparison purposes, each consultant takes a different approach to economic impact assessment which needs to be taken into account when comparing against previous years.

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