Due to the incoming Storm Eunice, Southend-on-Sea Borough Council and Southend Tourism Partnership have regrettably had to take the difficult decision to pause Southend LuminoCity for one night only on Friday 18 February. Anticipated gusts of up to 70mph are forecast and we can take no chances with safety issues relating to the installations.
The festival will go ahead as planned tonight (Thursday 17 February) and with the wind speeds then anticipated to reduce, the festival will resume for the final day on Saturday 19 February.
Cllr Carole Mulroney, cabinet member for environment, culture, tourism and planning, said: “This is terribly disappointing news because we know how much people were looking forward to visiting the festival. Last night in very windy conditions, we saw how many people were happy to brave the winds to come to Southend but Storm Eunice is forecast to be far worse and we must ensure the safety of residents and visitors. We cannot take any unnecessary risks. We are set to experience winds we very rarely ever see in this country, and so the timing could not be any worse, but I am sure everyone will understand our decision.
“So tonight, Thursday, is all systems go for a fantastic evening, and on Saturday, the final day, LuminoCity will once again dazzle and delight you. Don’t despair there is still an opportunity to enjoy the fantastic LuminoCity festival of light.
“No one can control the weather, but we are all used to that and we’ll make the best of the situation.
“We will post out further updates via the Visit Southend Facebook page and the council’s main corporate social media accounts. If you know of anyone who may have been thinking of coming tomorrow but either isn’t on social media or would not find out any other way, please let them know.
“We hope everyone enjoys the festival this evening, but please stay safe wherever you are tomorrow and follow guidance to avoid going out in what is looking likely to be a ferocious day.”
Jacqui Dallimore, chair of Southend Tourism Partnership, said: “This is very upsetting given the incredible effort of everyone to make this a festival a reality. We have seen families enjoying the incredible installations and we know how excited everyone has been for the city’s inaugural event. Having said that, we must make safety our priority and we cannot take any risks with members of the public.”