Leeds becomes city of light for illuminating arts extravaganza

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By Lauren Entwistle

A HOTEL in Leeds was transformed into thundering waterfall as part of the city’s annual Light Night event.

Now in its 12th year, the cultural highlight is one of the most anticipated attractions on the calendar, with more than 10 zones filled with parades, art and interactive exhibits.

Among the installations on October 6 and 7 was ‘The Falls’, a huge projection on the front of the Queens Hotel.

Based on Janet’s Foss, a natural plunge waterfall in North Yorkshire, artist Dave Lynch was inspired by his trips there to create his piece for Light Night.

He said: “Key to the experience was to achieve the thunderous awesomeness of water and the initial fall taking the audiences’ eyes slowly up to the top of the Queens Hotel.

“When I first saw it live, I felt one huge smile, knowing the inspiration of the initial trip to the waterfall at Malham had manifested through beautiful collaboration.”

Other attractions included a paper lantern parade, with the lights being hand-made by the public, giant glowing dandelions in Merrion Gardens and a floating room filled with pulsing lights in Liberty Dock.

More than 60,000 people came to the city centre to enjoy Light Night with some venues, including the Town Hall, exclusively opened up to showcase the buildings after dark.

Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, said: “Once again, Light Night was an unforgettable occasion.

“The unprecedented scale and scope of this year’s event, which for the first time ever took place over two nights, has made a huge statement about Leeds’ credentials as a city which embraces artistic invention, creative ingenuity and cultural diversity.”

Among those who were proud to represent the city was Rob Vale, who runs digital-art installation company Illuminos with his brother Matt.

They created the film Phoenix in the Stone, a huge multimedia projection that showcased on the front of the Leeds Civic Hall.

Depicting the fiery bird, the film took the audience through green gardens, down into the sea and up into the sky.

Rob said: “There was a huge buzz in seeing the Phoenix in all its glory! We had some trepidation about whether an audience will connect with the ideas, but there was great feedback.

“We love Light Night. Leeds was where I studied art so it has a huge connection for me, so any time we can be back we will be.”

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