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Bristol Light Festival helps city spring back from Covid

The Business Magazine article image for: Bristol Light Festival helps city spring back from Covid
9 March 2022

An estimated 170,000 people attended last week's Bristol Light Festival, which saw 14 large immersive installations placed around the city centre.

The visitor numbers were double those estimated in 2020, when the festival was last staged.

Organisers reckoned that collectively visitors totalled over 1.6 billion steps on their walk around the six-day event – more than the distance to the moon and back.

Organisers from Bristol City Centre BID will now be crunching the numbers to determine the economic impact – although it is believed to be significant, with many visitors stopping for food or drinks around the route.

Vicky Lee, head of Bristol City Centre BID, said: "It has been an incredible six days and we are delighted with how the event has been received and the positive feedback we've had so far.

"We wanted to create a vibrant and fun event that would attract visitors to enjoy everything Bristol has to offer, and seeing families, friends and people of all ages visiting the centre and interacting with the light installations has been fantastic.

"It really felt like an opportunity for the people of Bristol to reconnect with the city centre and each other.

"The event is an integral part of our programme to help business recovery after a challenging two years. It was great to see the city's businesses benefiting from the footfall.

"Across the six days, we have monitored the economic impact and will be analysing this data to understand the commercial benefits as a result of the event.

"There was a really positive vibe across the city and people were happy to be back in the heart of Bristol and enjoying it as the vibrant city we know and love."

The festival was presented by Bristol City Centre Business Improvement District (BID) working in partnership with Redcliffe & Temple BID, Arts Council England, Bristol City Council and Cabot Circus, and curated by the festival’s creative director Katherine Jewkes.


Peter Davison is deputy editor of The Business Magazine. He has spent his life in journalism – doing work experience in newsrooms in and around Bristol while still at school, and landing his first job on a local newspaper aged 19. By 28 he was the youngest newspaper editor in the country.

An early advocate of online news, he spent the first years of the 2000s telling his bosses that the internet posed both the biggest opportunity and greatest threat to the newspaper industry and the art of journalism. He was right on both counts.

Since 2006 he has enjoyed a career as a freelance journalist. He lives in rural Wiltshire with one wife, two children, and three cats.

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