Illuminate makes a triumphant comeback – Oldham’s magnificent nocturnal celebration of the arts

Prepare to witness Oldham in a completely different light as Illuminate, the town’s beloved light night festival, makes its grand return for its seventh year. This year’s theme, “Colour in Nature,” will transform Oldham town centre and Northern Roots into a mesmerising display of vibrant colours and illuminations on Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 February.

The excitement kicks off on Saturday 24 February at 6pm with the annual illuminated Parade, starting from the Oldham Civic Centre and ending at the Old Town Hall. Be captivated by the sight of countless community-made lanterns, galloping horses, soaring birds, and a colossal illuminated octopus that will illuminate the bustling High Street. Keep an eye out for illuminated puppets, dancers, and drummers from Global Grooves, as well as various groups from across Oldham, as they come together to create a joyous explosion of colour, music, and creativity.

From 6pm to 9pm, visitors can embark on a journey to explore the 10 light artworks scattered throughout the town centre. All you need to do is grab a brochure and follow the trail. This year’s light artworks include a specially commissioned projection called “Colour In Nature” on the Old Town Hall by Illuminos, the playful giant rainbow slinky “End Over End” at Gallery Oldham, and the interactive waterfall “And Then I Slipped” by idontloveyouanymore at Oldham Library. Don’t forget to marvel at “The World Has Gone Pear Shaped” by Tine Beck at Oldham Parish Church Gardens and the magnificent Luminosi Trees at Market Place by Sound Intervention.

Local artists and performers have been hard at work creating installations and performances for Illuminate. Highlights include special performances of Oldham Theatre Workshop’s candlelight showcase of “STRIKE” at Oldham Parish Church, a new musical that tells the story of the Victorian matchstick girls. Jubacana Oldham’s Youth Percussion Band will also be adding some groovy tunes to the parade.

For those looking for more family-friendly fun, head to Northern Roots on Sunday 25 February from 5.30pm to 8pm for “By the Light of the Moon.” This exciting free event celebrates the enchanting world of moths. Attendees can explore the magical forest, meet the moonlight pollinators, assist the moths in their nocturnal work, and join the Moonlight Moth Ball.

Cllr Arooh Shah, Leader of Oldham Council, expressed her delight at the return of the festival, stating, “I am thrilled to bring back this spectacular event to our beloved borough. The festival has become a highlight on our ever-growing cultural calendar, and I’m delighted that it is so well-received by residents and visitors.” She added, “This year promises to be even more enchanting for families and individuals of all ages. Plus, those who have yet to experience the space at Northern Roots can do so for the first time. I encourage everyone to gather their friends and family for what is sure to be a magical weekend of light, art, and community.”

For more information about the events, please visit www.oldham.gov.uk/illuminate. Don’t forget to share your photos from the night on the Love Oldham Facebook page using the hashtag #IlluminateOldham – we’ll be featuring the best ones.

Illuminate is proud to be a member of Light Up The North, supported by Arts Council England. The project is funded by the UK shared Prosperity Fund.

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