Light Night is always a highlight of Nottingham’s cultural calendar and this, its 15th year, showcased a lot of new attractions to visit and photograph. It takes part over two days and most things (though not all) are available on both days so usually we just go on the Friday evening. There is a quite handy official app that I use to plan the route around the city (there’s so much going on its impossible to do everything). Our first stop was at Sneinton Market Square where they had these giant bubbles called Evanescent created by Australian artists Atelier Sisu that is I believe touring the country (they were in London last month). They’re quite fun and the changing colours were very pretty.
After a brief stop at Nottingham College (there was quite a queue forming so we decided to give it a miss) we headed over to St Mary’s Church which always puts on some of our favourite installations. This year’s event was called Re-Move and was a collaboration between visual artist Rebecca Smith and sound designer C J Mirra with young people across the county. These installations are always quite abstract and this was possibly more so than previous years so I’m just going to quote the official explanation: “The piece is created with input and sound recordings from Dr Tom Vickers, who over the last fifteen years has used a focus on borders and racism to examine how exploitation, oppression and resistance operate across fields including employment, volunteering, social work, social care and the media. Using an evolving loop of intricate light, sound and music, Re-Move is an engaging and abstract reflection on the journeys taken by those affected”.
Then we moved on to these very fun neon dogs – naturally to be found at Hounds Gate – designed by Deepa Mann-Kler and inspired by that of balloon animals. They even have bones and poo!
The next stop was the Robin Hood Statue by Nottingham Castle which always has some art work by children – this year were some lovely pieces projected onto the wall behind the statue. Nottingham Castle itself isn’t of course taking part this year (I realise I haven’t blogged about this but essentially after renovations costing £30 million – you may remember my visit in 2021 – in November the trust that was running it went into liquidation amidst all sorts of revelations about the frankly insane ideas of the people in charge and so its had to, temporarily, close. For instance, their business plan was built around the idea that they would get 300,000 visitors a year. Half that is probably too ambitious and much as I love its history, it isn’t even a castle it’s a manor house on the site of a castle. Then you’ve got rumours of racism and bullying and entrance fees that were far too high for what you got and every single Nottingham resident past or present I’ve spoken to about this is fuming. But, I digress…)
One of the new places taking part this year is St Barnabas Cathedral. It’s a beautiful building that I’ve written about before here and while we didn’t partake in what they were referring to as a trail through the building we did sit and listen to some of the beautiful songs sung by the Cathedral choir and admire the interior once again.
Our final stop was at PULSE in the Market Square. This was quite fun, an open tunnel that you can walk through with various light movements and music playing. I’m jealous of the official photographers who were able to take shots without people in them for the official websites, this is the best I can do to give you an idea of what it was like though I posted some video on my Instagram. It was proving extremely popular with people of all ages.
Overall, a fun night. Everything is free to visit and there’s plenty of food stalls available, plus discounts at local businesses etc. It was fairly busy at the attractions we went to but the atmosphere is always good natured and kid friendly. Definitely one of my favourite nights of the year. You can find some more photos here.