Light festival pumps over £10m into city’s economy

A unique festival is estimated to have bought an extra £10.4m in revenue into Bristol.

Bristol Light Festival returned to the city in February with ten evenings of light installations across the city centre.

The immersive and colourful artworks illuminated some of Bristol’s best known landmarks as well as some unexpected places, as the festival welcomed 275,000 visitors at a traditionally dark time of year.

The installations shone for five hours a day, brightening up the city at the height of winter.

Festival organiser, Bristol City Centre Business Improvement District (BID), has estimated that this year’s festival attracted 275,000 visitors throughout its duration, equating to a huge £10.4m spend.

Economic benefit was seen across all business sectors with the number of visitors staying overnight in the city for the festival increasing from 2023, resulting in a 100% spend increase from 2023 bringing £1,593,380 to the industry.

Spend in the city was £26.20 per person (up 11% from £23.51 in 2023 ). With return on investment calculated at £25.77, for every pound spent on the event, 25 times that amount was generated for the local economy.

This year’s festival saw a 10% increase in visitors compared with 2023, despite two days of adverse weather conditions.

Three quarters of visitors made the trip to the city during this time specifically for the Bristol Light Festival, a further increase since 2023.

Bristol Light Festival aims to bring communities in the city together, and the 2024 edition saw more than 50 organisations directly support the delivery of the festival – with an emphasis on engaging Bristol and locally-based businesses.

Bristol Light Festival brings together installations from world-renowned artists as well as the best of the South West.

The festival was founded by Bristol City Centre Business BID and delivered in partnership with Redcliffe & Temple BID.

Katherine Jewkes, creative director of Bristol Light Festival, said: “Since our first edition in 2020, the city of Bristol has welcomed the festival with open arms. It’s a real full-circle moment to see what the festival has been able to give back to the businesses that add vibrancy to the city centre all year round, and we can’t wait to see what the 2025 edition brings.”

Vicky Lee, Head of Bristol City Centre BID, said: “Every year, a key focus for us as part of the festival is to ensure that businesses in the area are able to benefit from the significant increase in footfall on their doorsteps. To see such a huge spend being attributed to the festival is testament to how inviting and diverse our city centre businesses are, to attract such a high spend while an event is happening. We look forward to continuing to support businesses to attract more customers especially in the quieter months.”

Off the back of this year’s successes, festival organisers are now looking for talent to apply to be part of Bristol Light Festival 2025.

Artists are encouraged to get in touch with their expression of interest now, to be in with a chance of showcasing their work on the huge platform that the festival offers.


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