The highly anticipated Longbridge Light Festival returned to Longbridge Town Centre last weekend, and was hailed its biggest and best yet.
Over 35 artists from the UK, USA, Germany and Spain travelled to perform and be part of the second Longbridge Light Festival, with over XX people in attendance – XX more than the 2014 event.
This year’s festival took on the theme of the “Shadow Factory”, a historical reference to the Shadow Scheme of the Second World War, where the factory was said to have been painted to resemble terraced houses and streetscapes from the air by local artists, and was led by Lord Austin, founder of the Austin Motor Company.
Commissioned by WERK, Birmingham and internationally based artists presented a dramatic series of spectacular light and art installations across the town centre, alongside family workshops, live music, pop-up art and theatre performances. A festival ‘night-market’ was also delivered for the first time, presenting a host of market stalls and award-winning street food, which proved a big hit with visitors.
Mike Murray, development director at St. Modwen, said: “Longbridge Light Festival represents everything that is great about Longbridge; its ability to reinvent itself and look to the future whilst remembering its heritage; the vibrant new community which has been built out of the ongoing £1 billion regeneration of the area, and the efforts of local people and LPAP to deliver great arts and community events – without whom this festival simply couldn’t happen.
“The 2016 festival has yet again attracted thousands of visitors, resulting in a dramatic increase in spend for town centre businesses, as well as bringing a feel-good factor to the area. It’s been an all-round success, and was a great way to celebrate St. Modwen’s 30th anniversary.”
The festival was delivered as part of Longbridge Public Art Project (LPAP); a five-year contemporary public art and place-making project created and produced by independent arts organisation WERK, and supported by the UK’s leading regeneration specialist, St. Modwen.
Claire Farrell, WERK Artistic Director and Festival Curator, said: “We are absolutely delighted the festival was a success. It has been an incredible experience over the last few years, working in such a unique area steeped in history and with so many wonderful people that have helped shape LPAP and many of the artists’ works.
“The project and festivals could not have happened without the generosity of St. Modwen, Arts Council West Midlands, Bournville College, Birmingham City Council and so many businesses based in the area – I’d like to thank everyone for their support.”
Over the last four years, LPAP has developed a diverse portfolio of temporary and permanent public art work, exhibitions, workshops and activities in response to Longbridge, hosting over 250 events. The 2016 festival represents one of LPAP’s final flagship events prior to the installation of a number of permanent public artworks in 2017.
Once the site of the former MG Rover plant, Longbridge is being transformed by St. Modwen, through a £1 billion regeneration project. The UK’s leading regeneration specialist has so far delivered a new £100 million town centre, hundreds of family homes, offices, the £66m Bournville College, Longbridge Technology Park and the three acre Austin Park. Work is also well underway on the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine (RCDM) Accommodation Building, whilst Longbridge Retirement Village is due to open in 2017.