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Issued by: Make It York - 02 November 2016

Organisers proclaim illuminating York 2016 ‘a huge success’

This year’s illuminating York Festival, supported by Arts Council England, has been proclaimed as a huge success by organisers Make It York, following four evenings when the streets of York were thronged with visitors and residents enjoying seeing the city in a different night.

“We have been delighted with the response to illuminating York this year. Hotels reported strong occupancy levels and thousands of pictures have been shared on social media , from the stunning Jason Bruges Studio in York Minster to the architectural illumination of buildings around the city created by pupils from local schools,” comments Kate McMullen, Head of Tourism for Make It York.

“The variety of installations right across the city has been fantastic this year and the bunny trail and bunny bingo – organised by Snowhome and supported by 50 retailers across the city – kept families entertained as they walked between installations, from the National Railway Museum, to the Shambles, to York St John University.”

The number of people attending the headline installation at York Minster was just over 7,350, with a number of time slots completely selling out. Indeed, even smaller venues – such as the hidden gem of Holy Trinity Goodramgate – enjoyed large numbers of visitors, with over 1,850 visitors on opening night alone. 24,000 people – including viewers from Brazil to Australia - watched the very first live Facebook stream from the festival on BBC Look North’s Facebook Page.

Fairfax House, the Bar Convent and York Boat all reported good visitor numbers and the Friends of York Walls, who opened up the city walls for the evenings, said the public feedback had been fantastic.

“illuminating York is often listed as one of the top light festivals in the country, and the photographs from this year’s event appearing in the national media – including The Times, Daily Telegraph and the Guardian – help us to put York on the cultural map,” adds Kate.

All fifty of the decorated bunny lamps are now up for auction on Ebay, raising money for two local charities; St Leonard’s Hospice and SNAPPY. Anyone interested in bidding on a bunny can do so until Friday 4 November by visiting and searching for “bunnytrail”. Bids of between £25 and £170 have been received so far for the 42 decorated bunnies available.


Notes to editors:

• The festival gains over 50,000 ‘visits’ every year
• Over the past ten years the festival has commissioned over fifty artworks for the city
• illuminating York is a member of ‘Light Up the North’, a network of seven light festivals taking place in cities across the North of England
• illuminating York was named by The Guardian in its top ten European Lighting Festivals
• In 2015 the illuminating York Festival was nominated for a Dulux Colour Award
• illuminating York is managed by Make It York on behalf of a city-wide steering group, chaired by Liz Page, Historic Properties Director (North) - English Heritage
• The principal funder of the festival is Arts Council England, with additional funding from ticketing and private sponsors
• illuminating York is organised by Make It York supported by Arts Council England. This year’s partners include English Heritage, National Railway Museum, The Society of Lighting and Light, York Minster and York St John University.

Make It York (York’s Destination Organisation) – Make It York’s purpose is to develop and promote the city and its surroundings – nationally and internationally - as a vibrant and attractive place to live, visit, study, work and do business.

Visit York is a part of Make It York and is the leisure tourism brand
Under the brand Visit York, Make It York’s aim is to market York as a must-see world-class destination to the leisure visitor and ensure investment to develop the quality of tourism in York.

Key tourism facts:
6.8 million visitors annually, £608 million total visitor spend, supporting 23,300 jobs.

Photographs from the event are available for download from:

For further media information, interviews or photographs, please contact:

Jay Commins, Samantha Orange or Nicola Bexon
Pyper York Limited (On Behalf of Make It York)
Tel: 01904 500698
Email:, or