GLOW-ing success for Weston Light Festival

Thousands of people in Weston and visitors from Bristol, Bath and as far afield as Wales, enjoyed a magical spectacle at GLOW, a festival of illumination at Grove Park in Weston-super-Mare (17 – 19 February).

The night time was lit up by stunning sights, installations and interactive activities in a light trail celebrating the many facets of the town’s beloved Victorian park.

The event’s opening evening on Thursday 17 February and final evening on Saturday 19 February were able to go ahead safely, with GLOW and Grove Park closed on Friday 18 February due to Storm Eunice.

The free, sustainably-produced event, conceived and designed by Weston-based artist and producer Paula Birtwistle, was presented by Culture Weston in partnership with Weston-super-Mare Town Council and funded by Arts Council England National Lottery Projects Grants and Weston Town Council.

North Somerset Council also supported GLOW with funding from the Welcome Back Fund, financed by the European Regional Development Fund. Additional support came from Without Walls and the Quartet Community Foundation, as well as from community groups who helped to create features displayed at the light trail, Culture Maker volunteers and event technology experts PYTCH.

GLOW Producer Paula Birtwistle, said: “Putting on GLOW in Weston’s Grove Park has been phenomenal! The event was a collaborative experience with lots of community involvement and creativity – to see it all come together in such a joyful, uplifting way, despite the challenges of the extreme weather, has been inspiring and moving.

“Huge thanks to everyone who made this free event possible, from all the funders to the amazing GLOW team, artist acts, community groups and local organisations and everyone that came along and helped make it such a great success.

“There has been so much positive feedback from visitors at the event and we hope that we can bring GLOW to Weston again.”

At Grove Park, internationally acclaimed spectacles included Arcadia’s ‘Flaming Lampposts’, Thingumajig Theatre’s illuminated puppets ‘Ghost Caribou’ and unique musical sculpture ‘illumaphonium’, plus a giant swing, laser sky and trees that were lit up by pedal power.

These featured alongside community-created experiences such as a disco ball bandstand; ‘Chapter One’ poetry and ‘Costanzi Consort’ music soundscapes; ‘From the Mud’ theatre pop-up performances; Boombox youth project lantern display; Pride flags and rainbow lighting; Friends of Grove Park phosphorescent painted bug trail; the UK’s largest bug hotel with willow insects made at workshops with artists Helen Wheelock and Julie Starks; glow-in-the-dark doodles created by Weston Artspace artists; an ultraviolet art installation in Jill’s Garden by Bev G Star; a giant, interactive seagull handcrafted by a local artisan and more. A Culture Weston bar served up hot, mulled cider while Loves Cafe in Weston provided a hot chocolate stall with homemade vegan cakes and green room facilities for staff, artists and volunteers.