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With thousands of people flocking to the City and with social media content reaching nearly one million people, the council and the Southend Tourism Partnership are reflecting on the success of the incredible light festival which dazzled residents and visitors, despite the challenge of dealing with Storm Eunice.
Southend LuminoCity, Festival of Light, brought 10 awe-inspiring light installations from across the globe to the newly formed City of Southend-on-Sea from Wednesday 16 – Saturday 19 September. The festival was funded through the Government’s Welcome Back fund and enabled the council and Southend Tourism Partnership to put on a show which enticed, amazed, and astounded the hundreds of thousands that visited the festival.
Festival organisers faced their fair share of challenges throughout, not least dealing with unprecedented winds which battered the City during Storm Eunice, which unfortunately meant that the festival was put on pause for one day. This did not stop the enthusiasm local people and visitors had for the festival, with thousands returning on Saturday night for the final showing.
Incredible figures show that over 200,000 people attended the event across the three days, highlighting the popularity of the festival to both residents and visitors. Social media content has gained a total reach of 965,000, with this number continuing to grow by the day.
Cllr Carole Mulroney, cabinet member for environment, culture, tourism and planning, said: “Southend LuminoCity brought together families and friends for a night of dazzling displays across the High Street and seafront. Seeing the faces of young children light up just like the installations emphasised the importance of having events like this in our new City, and I am so proud of everyone involved for making it such a special event.
“There were many challenges put in front of us but the excitement everyone had for the festival shined through, and it was an incredibly fitting way of seeing us into this adventure of being the country’s newest City. Whilst the event has been and gone, we will be looking at how we can bring more family events across the City over the coming years, so watch this space.
“Finally, I would like to thank everyone involved in the project. Our wonderful volunteers ensured the event went ahead despite the challenges put in front of us, and they played a huge role in making the festival such a success. Our generous sponsors, Southend BID and Genting Casino, also helped enhance the festival to another level by sponsoring additional installations and I would like to thank them for their involvement in the event.”
Jacqui Dallimore, chair of the Southend Tourism Partnership, said: “It was incredible to see so many people visiting our City to enjoy the fantastic installations from world-renowned artists right here on our doorstep. The footfall figures are excellent, and the festival would have brought a much-needed boost to trade in the City centre and seafront, even with the difficulties of Storm Eunice.
“I would like to thank everyone involved for helping to make the event so special. The collaboration between Southend Tourism Partnership and the council helped elevate this event to the levels our residents and visitors deserve. I look forward to working with the council on future events for our new City.”