'Bright Brussels' light festival draws over 500,000 visitors

'Bright Brussels' light festival draws over 500,000 visitors
© Belga

Over 500,000 people visited the fifth edition of Bright Brussels, according to a first estimate issued by the Brussels Tourism Office, visit.brussels, just hours before the festival of lights closed on Saturday evening.

The estimate was based on GSM data collected at the event.

This year’s edition of the festival had been postponed from to autumn due to the coronavirus pandemic, and was extended from four to ten days. Next year’s edition will be from 10 to 13 February.

From the evening of 28 October, 16 immersive, fun-filled works of art installed along two routes lit up the Belgian capital, illuminating the Royal premises as well as the European headquarters.

An architectural production by the Belgian group, Dirty Monitor, was shown on video at the Brussels Royal Palace on Place Square.

The festival, which also attracted international artists, highlighted local talent by placing majestic places of cultural expression available to them, while Magic Monkey, the Brussels group founded by Marc Largent and Daphné Delbeke, produced a misty, airy atmosphere in the gardens of the Mont des Arts.

This year the European parliament partnered the event, hosting the Lightbattle III installation by artists Joost van Bergen, Dirk Schlebusch and Onne Walsmit, which showcased the Dutch cultural heritage of cycling under three luminous arches at the Solidarnosc 1980 Square.

"The Wave," an immersive 80-metre-long structure comprising 40 motion-sensitive doors enabled passers-by to compose singular audio and visual works as they passed through the Parc du Cinquantenaire.

There was also a monumental cube with reflective surfaces, created by Brussels artists Ofer Smilansky and Antoine Goldschmidt. Another attraction in the European quarter was a collection of flying light points simulating the movements of fireflies at Meeûs Square.

An interplay of lights caught travellers by surprise on the metros of the Brussels public transport company, STIB, as it went through the tunnel between Arts-Loi and Parc metro stations.

In addition to the lights, an OFF programme offered varied activities, such as nighttime visits to seven museums and businesses, and DJ soirees.

Entry into enclosed locations required the presentation of a Covid Safe Ticket.

Quite a bit of effort went into ensuring that the works were sustainable, including environmentally friendly techniques and the introduction of a carbon compensation. In fact, this was one of the criteria most taken into consideration by the jury in selecting the works and, for the first time ever, the Bright Festival had a zero-carbon imprint.

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