Behind the scenes at Light Night Leeds

Leeds fest has NOTHING on this light festival tbh

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There’s a dragon spitting fire at the Queens Hotel, bouquets of lamps have grown in Victoria Gardens and a 30 foot inflatable humanoid is crashing through Victoria Gate. Just sounds like another standard night in Leeds really.

Ok seriously, Leeds Light Night will transform the city into a glittering oasis this Thursday the 4th and Friday the 5th of October, 5pm-11pm, which means you can check out one of Leeds' biggest and best festivals just before Fruity.

These be DARK days, and life can sometimes feel bleak…especially for uni students. We have it hard. So treat yourself, for FREE, to two nights of artistic explosion flooding Leeds with music, colour, light and life, and remind yourself why you ever chose to study in Leeds in the first place (I know, you forget there is a real city out there when you are on your 20th hour in Eddy B).

Now in it’s 14th year, the themes of innovation and progress aim to captivate Leeds with epic light effects and interactive installations, all the way from the Parkinson Building to The Tetley and absolutely everywhere in between. Leeds own suffragettes, Leonora Cohen and Mary Gawthorpe, will make an appearance by way of a spectacular illuminated parade meandering from Victoria Gardens, past The Light, Leeds Library, Briggate, The Headrow, and back again beginning at 7:30pm on Thursday the 4th.

From a trip to the Moon, to The Wellyphant, and Dr Kronovator’s Fire Laboratory, Leeds is set to become a euphoric party of excitement and pleasure for everybody. You can even see your own emotions in the Aura installation from 6pm to 10pm on both days, just outside the Henry Moore Institute.

And in case you were wondering what it is like to work behind the scenes at Leeds Light Night, I been volunteering with the team over the last few weeks at the Town Hall, and honestly if all my laminating goes unappreciated, I will be dead mad.

We visited various Leeds venues taking part in Light Night to deliver info packs and posters. It covers a colossal area, and my feet were ripped to shreds, so stop for drinks as many times as you can (see, this could actually be PRES for Fruity).

The team are dedicated beyond belief, and with them it promises to be the best year yet. All the stewards and volunteers will be in high vis (edgy Leeds represent) and they will be happy to help you at every turn.

The Leeds Tab spoke to Sarah Cotterill, the Volunteer Coordinator for Leeds Light Night, and this is what she had to say:

What art installation are you most excited to see?

I Infinite at the Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre

Leeds Light Night is a huge arts festival, why would you urge students to go see it?

It’s fantastic for students to see their city showcasing international artists on such a wide scale. Light Night brings installations to Leeds that have never been seen before in the UK.

For first years, what better a way to scout out hidden gems across the city, than by seeing them illuminated with spectacular projections or brought to life with interactive sculpture. Things are happening in the big venues, such as The Carriageworks, Yorkshire Dance, The Town Hall, but also in the city’s backstreet pubs, shops and car parks. The University of Leeds is also one of the festival’s major partners, and the Uni zone sees theatre, film and even fungi transform everyday lecture halls and precincts into exhibitions.

We’ve had a huge number of students get involved with Light Night, either performing in, or installing artworks, along with a dedicated cohort of volunteers who are gaining skills for a career in a variety of fields and industries.

What makes the Leeds Light event different to Light nights in other cities?

Light Night is part of the Light Up The North network, a collective of seven festivals including; Illuminating York, Light Night Leeds, Light Up Lancaster, Lumiere, (Durham), Lightpool (Blackpool), Quays Culture (Salford) and Enchanted Parks (Gateshead).

Light Night Leeds is one of the longest running events in this group, and the only one that combines light and arts so intrinsically. We are unique in incorporating indoor and outdoor performances from both local and world class artists.

What other festivals are happening in Leeds soon?

Leeds Inspired is our go to for gig info, workshops, festivals and events. Check out the website for what’s coming up in the coming months.

#LeedsLightNight #ArtintheDark