Christmas Lights Festival 2015 named the best ever as more than 50,000 people attend

Published: Tuesday, 24th November 2015

More than 50,000 people enjoyed the multitude of events that took place across Oxford as part of this year’s Christmas Light Festival.

This year’s festival took place between Friday (20/11) and Sunday (22/11) and saw festivities taking place across all four corners of the city.

Events ranged from a lantern procession featuring 180 children from eight Oxford primary schools, a Christmas Market, art installations throughout the city – from Pembroke College, to the Museum of Natural History, to the Plain Roundabout – and DJs and projections at Oxford Ice Rink.

The highlight for many was a series of spectacular light projections on the Clarendon Building in Broad Street. The show, called Re:action, was by artist Dan Shorten of Anomic Multimedia.

It is estimated that 15,000 people turned out to watch the lantern procession and light projections on Friday night, with a further 20,000 people visiting the Christmas Market on Saturday and Sunday. With cultural venues across Oxford hosting events, it is estimated that more than 50,000 people took part across the weekend.

The Christmas Light Festival was organised by Oxford City Council and Ian Nolan Events in partnership with Oxford’s cultural organisations, on behalf of communities across the city.

The festival’s lead sponsor was the University of Oxford, with additional sponsorship from the Westgate Shopping Centre. The lead funder was Oxford City Council, with additional funding from the Arts Council. The Christmas tree in Broad Street was sponsored by estate agent Connells.

Jack FM was this year’s media partner and presenter Trev, from the Morning Glory show, compèred and entertained the crowds during the Friday evening festivities in Broad Street.

On top of this, the festival received a huge amount of support in-kind from cultural partners, which programmed and delivered activities and events as part of the weekend.

Councillor Bob Price, Oxford City Council Leader, said: “This year’s Christmas Light Festival was undoubtedly the best ever.

“The sheer number of cultural organisations that took part and put on activities for Oxford’s families was astonishing – it seemed wherever you turned in Oxford over the weekend there was something happening.

“The lantern procession clearly involved a large number of school children and the quality of the lanterns was higher than ever. This has confirmed the lantern parade as a key part of the festival for future years.

“This year’s festivities point us towards a positive future for the Christmas Light Festival.”

Rachel Capell, City Events Officer at Oxford City Council, said: “As always, it’s been fantastic working with all our cultural partners and we're really pleased to have included so many outdoor activities and events in the festival this year.

“We hope to build on this success for next year.”

Ian Nolan, director of Ian Nolan events, said: "We are absolutely delighted with how well received the Christmas Light Festival was.

“More than 180 of the children we worked with attended the procession and were watched by 15,000 people lining the streets, while more than 10,000 people watched the Re:Action projections and a further 20,000 passed through the festive market.

“Oxford is a city that has inspired culture and creativity for hundreds of years. The Christmas Light Festival is about coming together and celebrating the wonderful mix of organisations and communities that make our city so great.”

Helen Watson, director of Planning & Resource Allocation Section at the University of Oxford, said: “Contributing to the economic and cultural life of the city is really important to us.

“We have contributed to this event for a number of years, but I really think this was the best ever. I am so glad we were a part of making this happen.”

Oxford City Council would love to hear feedback from those who attended this year’s Christmas Light Festival. To contribute, please visit the Oxford's Christmas website.