The Lightwaves arts festival is designed to light up Salford Quays and MediaCity

The trail of dramatic light installations that visitors can circumnavigate after dark is back for the ninth year.

The spectacular Lightwaves festival, which sets up a trail of dramatically lit artwork around Salford Quays and MediaCity, returns.

Visitors can enjoy the stunning light show and installations after dark for four days in early December, with both local and national artists showcasing their skills.

The centerpiece of this year’s festival, the ninth Lightwaves is an ambitious audiovisual work that will be set on the water and pays tribute to the workers who built the Manchester Ship Canal and the harsh conditions they faced.

Visitors from across Greater Manchester are expected to flock to Salford to see the illuminated artworks – here’s what they’ll see when they pop up.

When is Lightwaves and what is there for people to see?

Lightwaves takes place between Thursday 1st December and Sunday 4th December around Salford Quays and MediaCity. Visitors can follow the path and see the brightly lit artworks every evening between 4pm and 10pm.

The event is free and there is no need to book a ticket in advance: you can just drop in and walk around the stunning art installations.

The headlining work of this year’s festival is Navvies by Matthew Rosier, an ambitious work presented on the water that pays tribute to the ship canal builders who faced hardship and death in the course of their work. The installation is accompanied by a new orchestral composition composed by Hayley Suviste and performed by the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra.

Once We Were Water by Manchester studio idontloveyouanymore allows visitors to ‘walk’ through the water of a digitally recreated river that appears to flow over the Detroit Bridge and responds to people’s movement.

Connections being shown at the Lightwaves Festival

Studio Vertigo has two works at the festival: Our Beating Heart, a giant mirror ball with more than 11,000 slowly rotating tiles, and End Over End, which takes inspiration from the beloved, creeping buildings that playfully transform into a virtual playground and sits next to the located hexagonal tower of The Lowry.

Garden of the Deep, by artist Dianne Watson, aims to raise awareness of the consumption of single-use plastic. She has worked with local schools and community groups to create a display of 1,000 flowers made from discarded bottles.

Kin created by Backstage Academy

MicroCosmic, a collaboration between Paul Miller and the University of Salford, is an immersive installation of video, sound and projection-mapped sculptures that animate the iconic waterways at Salford Quays by Anne Bennett’s Butterfly Cluster, depicting the multitude of butterflies in a dreamlike and magical experience.

There is also an interactive light and sound installation by artist collective Monomatic called Norman, a retro-futuristic work reflecting the pre-internet age. Festival organizers Quays Culture have partnered with the RHS Glow Festival in RHS Bridgewater to commission Connections, with profile pictures encased in resin cells and then lit up, with the work reflecting social media concerns.

Final Kin was created by Backstage Academy, a live visual design and production sophomore collective that uses light and video to reflect on the importance of community and the power it has for people .

What else is there at the festival and why is it held every year?

In addition to the artworks from this year’s Lightwaves festival, visitors can enjoy Liz West’s Through No.4, a permanent artwork in MediaCity consisting of a six meter long triangular corridor of light and colour. The walk-through structure encourages visitors to see their surroundings in a different light, and additional lighting is added for Lightwaves to transform the multicolored work of art into a jewel that glows in the dark.

In addition to the festival, there is the Quayside Festive Market each evening, which takes place outside of The Lowry and showcases a selection of local crafts.

Lightwaves is the creation of Quays Culture, who host large-scale arts events in Salford Quays and MediaCity and have an artistic program that immerses audiences in outdoor shows inspired by their surroundings and focused on technology, creativity and digital innovation . The idea of ​​Lightwaves each winter is to bring light, color and positivity to the cold, dark evenings of this time of year.

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