An enchanting light projection and dazzling new lighting creations are poised to illuminate the evening skies in Sunderland’s city centre this autumn.

The city’s ever-popular Festival of Light is relocating to Mowbray Park as restoration work currently underway on Roker Park’s historic bandstand means the area around it can’t be used for the festival as it normally would. This year’s location will also provide an economic boost to the city centre.

Online tickets for the Festival of Light, which begins on Wednesday 11 October and runs through until Saturday 11 November, go on sale at 10 am today Friday 22 September.

Exciting plans for the Mowbray Park event include a stunning light projection onto the rear of Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens by a company whose previous work includes projections onto York Minster, Edinburgh Castle and St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Visitors can also look forward to live music in the bandstand, ‘Selfie Lane’ with its series of Instagrammable selfie opportunities and a sparkling light tunnel over the bridge linking the two sections of the park.

While a fairy trail will lead visitors through an atmospheric woodland glade to an illuminated fairy door transformed into a mesmerising and magical symphony of light and sound, to create a colour-changing immersive experience.

This includes a fairy field full of swaying fibre-optic tufts, changing colour in waves in perfect synchronisation with the music, which visitors can touch and feel based on a design/concept which saw its debut in Australia earlier this year.

Councillor John Price, Cabinet Member for Vibrant City, at Sunderland City Council, said: “We’re really excited about this year’s Festival of Light which builds on the success of this much loved annual event and takes it to another level.

“As well as some amazing new light installations, this year’s festival will also have a very different feel with people able to get up close to the lights and have their photos taken with them, instead of everything being behind a fence.

“We’ll also be looking at how we can overlay it with more seasonal additions for Halloween and Diwali. And we’re working with Sunderland Business Improvement District and other city partners to help make this a very special event for the whole community.”

The festival will take place from 4pm – 9pm every Thursday to Sunday between Wednesday 11 October and Saturday 11 November and every day during half term week, 23 – 27 October.

A ‘quiet hour’ between 4pm-5pm is available to book on selected dates for visitors looking for a quieter or calmer experience. During this time, music in the park will be turned down and performances and street theatre will be limited.

The quiet hours are on from 4pm to 5pm on:

  • Thursday 12 October
  • Thursday 19 October
  • Monday 23 to Sunday 29 October
  • Thursday 2 November to Sunday 5 November
  • Thursday 9 November to Saturday 11 November

Although this year’s Festival of Light is being held in the city centre, the much-loved Sunderland Illuminations will go ahead as usual, lighting up the night sky along the Roker and Seaburn seafront every night from Wednesday 11 October until Saturday 11 November.

To buy tickets for this year’s Festival of Light, find out more and see our FAQs on the event visit:

For information on parking:

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