Liverpool arts venues welcomed back visitors with the return of the city’s one night only arts festival, LightNight on Friday 21 May. The festival, which offers a playful after-hours culture crawl, saw events taking place throughout the city centre with a mix of small and major arts venues open once again. The hybrid festival also had an online offering for those who want to attend from home or around the globe.

The 12th annual LightNight hosted over 75 events at 31 venues in the largest coordinated cultural event with the latest stage of relaxed restrictions, in accordance with government guidelines, which sees entertainment, leisure and attractions reopen. The theme for LightNight was ‘Play’ reflecting on the role of arts and culture in escape, creativity, and happiness.

The LightNight venues included: 

Walker Art Gallery, Baltic Market, Zap Graffiti, Tate Liverpool, Squash, Open Eye Gallery, FACT, Bluecoat, Cotton Exchange, Lewis’s Building, District, Northern Lights, Editions Gallery, Lush, Dr Martin Luther King Jr Building, Liverpool Cathedral, The Black-E, Liverpool Town Hall, The Shed at Baltic Creative, St Luke’s Bombed Out Church, VideOdyssey at Toxteth TV, LIPA, Liverpool ONE, British Music Experience, Chapters of Us and Camp & Furnace and World Museum.

Just some of the highlights from the 75+ online and in-person events included;

  • A captivating live-streamed human ‘Song Machine’ from music trio Stealing Sheep at British Music Experience
  • The stunning immersive and interactive LUX game and light projection which could be played by visitors at the Bombed-Out Church
  • Surprise pop-up outdoor drumming performances by Katumba, Brazilica and Balata Mersey across the Royal Albert Dock, Metropolitan Cathedral and Windsor Street.
  • A virtual reimagining of Liverpool’s world-famous waterfront was created live online in the magical 3D world of Play the Stars
  • Buzzing crowds flocked to the Baltic Market festival Food Hub until late
  • Liverpool Biennial 2021 The Stomach and Port exhibitions opened late across the city and presented a special online commission Pathology in Three Parts by Haroon Mirza
  • Family friendly circus workshops and Mersey Swing dance classes at The Black-E
  • Drag Cabaret outside Lush on Church Street hosted by Filla Crack with performances from Adam All, Dosa Cat, Shania Pain and Baba Yagga

LightNight, produced by social enterprise Open Culture, is one of the most popular nights in Liverpool’s arts and culture calendar. With 100s of artists featuring in the events, covering performance, music, film, theatre, talks, light shows and more, the evening is designed to throw a giant spotlight to showcase the breadth of talent and the vibrancy of the arts in Liverpool and the region.

Charlotte Corrie from Open Culture says:

“This LightNight has been quite emotional and one we will never forget. A year ago, the future of the arts looked incredibly uncertain. Although we are not out of the woods just yet, the passion, creativity, and collective energy we have seen over the past few weeks can only give you hope. Liverpool’s creative ecology runs deep in our city’s heart and soul, it reflects how we see ourselves and who we are. We are so grateful to the cultural community and the amazing audiences that come to support us rain or shine, without whom LightNight could not happen.”

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