How good was Light Night? Bloody good, is the answer.
LightNight is Liverpool’s one-night arts and culture festival, which took place on Friday night. Over 50 city centre organisations kept their galleries, museums and venues open until late, staging around 100 special cultural events for visitors of all ages.
This year, visitors were able to enjoy the launch of LOOK/13 Liverpool International Photography Festival, the public reopening of Central Library as part of the In Other Words festival, spectacular light projections, street theatre, and a vibrant myriad of walking tours, open studios, live music, hands-on workshops and much more.
I set off on Friday night with Johny, my favourite plus one, Vickie, and him indoors to see what was on offer.
We started with one of the most amazing things this city has witnessed for a long time. The opening of our magnificent new central Library. A glory of the age, the library celebrated its opening on LightNight. I’d been shown around as part of the press launch, but seeing it with people thronged around it was something else altogether. From the moment I saw one of my eldest child’s school chums doing her biology revision in a little corner, I knew that this place is going to be well-loved and well-used as a place of learning.
From there we pootled over to see Izzy Major from Hope Street Ltd performing the Open Culture commissioned “Bookworm.” Izzy was surrounded by books and positively encouraged audience participation, even getting Johny up to read from The Wizard of Oz to the delight of everyone who watched, if not Johny himself.
We headed over to the Baltic Creative to see Made Here, a pop-up shop selling locally made artwork and spent a lovely bit of time talking to Andrew Beattie of Give Me Soul Ltd about the upcoming Liverpool Craft Beer festival (more to follow on that one!) and Doctor Who. Always good to meet a fellow fan.
We then headed to cafe 51 just in time to see the wonderful Kaya Hersted Carney of the Science of the Lamps performing a fantastic acoustic set. With time running out to see more, we headed round the corner to Arena Studios, where Paul Bywater’s Sergio Leone inspired exhibition was on show. Pencil drawings of spaghetti western-style characters adorned the gallery’s walls, but were well out of our budget!
Arena always embrace Light Night and we’ve never left empty handed, and this year was no different. Johny won a trophy playing the rather existentially titled “Mystical Duck Portal of Fate” game, or “Duck Chuck” as my young Arena chum, Flynn calls it. then we had a blind portrait done by Arena artist Carol Ramsay, where I ended up with a rather fetching goatee, which Carol insists was my scarf!
We set off to Camp & Furnace and saw images from the LOOK/13 photography exhibition, including images form my Threshold chum, Michael Kirkham, who is the second most Googled Michael Kirkham on the planet, fact fans.
Edging our way past Camp & Furnace’s enormous bouncers, we sat down for a well earned rest and a little tipple while we listened to some good, old-school dance tunes. It was most definitely a night to remember.
Enormous thanks and congratulations go to everyone who pulled their guts out to make this year’s Light Night so, so good. You are all heroes in our eyes.
With apologies for the quality, here’s some pictures of the night. Can’t wait for next year.
The festival programme is vast and mind boggling and there’s definitely something for everyone.
The festival kicks off at 5pm on Tuesday 23rd April (Skakespeare’s birthday, no less) at St George’s Hall with the launch of World Book Night. The evening includes sessions with world famous authors such as Jeanette Winterson and frank Cottrell Boyce.
I’ll be heading down to the gorgeous new Central Library when it re-opens on 17th May. I was lucky enough to have a sneak preview back in January and I can promise it will take your breath away.
I’ll also be taking part in the Six Book Challenge, where I’ll read six books and keep a diary with my thoughts on them. I’ll read some old favourites and I’m going to branch out and try some genres I’d never usually look at.
Two particular highlights for me are The Beat Goes On with Roger McGough and Brian Patten on 26th April and James Herbert: A Celebration of his Life and Works on 25th April at the Williamson Tunnels. This should be particularly poignant as Herbert was due to take part in the event himself until his untimely death on 20th March this year.
There are dozens of events over the course of the festival and there’ll be something for everyone. To find out more, check out the In Other Words website.