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An interview with Light Up Lancaster’s Producer, Julie Brown

With less than a week to go before the start of Light Up Lancaster, we’ve caught up with Producer, Julie Brown, to get the latest news (along with her must-see installations!) to help you plan your visit…

Give us one sentence to explain what Light Up Lancaster to someone who hasn’t visited before!

It’s a magical walk through Lancaster, seeing a really varied range of installations along the way.


How many years has Light Up Lancaster been running, and what inspired its beginnings?

It started in 2012. We were looking at ways of getting some light and warmth into the dark autumnal evenings. As the clocks change, and nighttime comes that hour earlier, we wanted to remind people that the city centre belongs to us all and to create a series of unexpected delights for families to enjoy. It’s great to get people enjoying their city together.


This year, the theme for Light Up Lancaster is the Art of Words. Can you tell us a little bit more about the inspiration behind this theme?

We were approached by the people at the Castle who told us the fascinating story of The Great Cowcher. I must admit I’d never heard of it, but it’s a medieaval illuminated text which is, in essence, Lancaster’s own version of the Doomsday book. It’s full of colourful drawings and amazing text which tell the history of the Duchy of Lancaster. We were really excited to commission projection artists to bring the Great Cowcher to life on the Castle walls. And from there we started thinking about how words and art work together in so many ways.


Why do you think Light Up Lancaster 2023 is going to be the best one yet?

For the first time, the festival will be on for 3 nights. As it gets busier and busier each year, we want to cut down on queues to get into installations, and really hope people will come on the quieter Thursday evening if they can. And the food offer is better than ever – the festival is running from 5pm to 9pm on all 3 nights and I’d encourage everyone to plan to have their tea out! There will be delicious street food in Market Square, and at Kanteena, or take advantage of our fantastic range of local pubs and restaurants.


Which installation is your must see?

No-one should miss the installation at the Castle! The atmosphere of going up there at night is already electric, and then we hit you with this amazing, epic projection piece – it will be awesome. But also, I hope people will find their own little corner of magic – which might be up at Kanteena where there’s a goldfish and an elephant amongst other things, floating in an in invisible cage. Or your favourite might be the impossible field of fireflies in the Storey Garden. Whatever is your favourite this year, let us know through your pics on social media!