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Culture

Canary Wharf’s Beautiful Winter Lights Festival Has Been Replaced With A Covid-Safe Alternative

Alex Landon Alex Landon - Editor

Winter Lights

Winter Lights has a dedication to illumination for the nation, but the pandemic has forced its cancellation this year.

Winter needn’t be dark and dull, and luckily we have the Oxford Street Christmas lights and Kew’s Christmas lights trail to light up the night. However, we won’t have one of the new year’s best events as, in what would have been their seventh year in town, London’s Winter Lights festival has confirmed that it won’t bathe Canary Wharf in colour this January. A stunning showcase of neon, LED, and everything illuminated, the festival regularly sees light artists from across Europe gather in London, to show what an unbridled imagination and state of the art light technology can do – but the realities of Covid-19 and the huge crowds the show attracts has led to its cancellation in 2021. However, there’s still something twinkling on the immediate horizon! [Featured image: Canary Wharf]

Winter Lights
Affinity, by Amigo & Amigo and S1T2, in January 2020. Photo: @canarywharflondon

Usually home to twenty-six installations that dazzle you with light and colour, Winter Lights makes use of a good mix of new installations and old favourites, all of which play with perspective and one’s senses. However, as easily the best thing to do on a cold January night – and free to visit to boot – the event draws massive crowds which make social distancing an impossibility. As a result, the decision has been taken to postpone the festival until 2022, when it’s hoped we can return to see the displays.

Winter Lights
Mountain of Light, by Angus Muir Design, in January 2020. Photo: @canarywharflondon

All hope is not lost, however, as Canary Wharf have a contingency plan in place. It’s called ‘Connected By Light’, and will see nine new illuminated installations arrive in Canary Wharf as a colourful replacement to Winter Lights. Organisers say they have “specially chosen a small number of pieces that can be appreciated from a distance, allowing us to safely bring people together once again to experience some of the UK’s best light artists”, a neat way of putting on a show whilst keeping visitors safe.

Winter Lights
Shish-Ka-Buoy, by Angus Muir Design. Photo: @canarywharflondon

You’ll find Connected by Light at Canary Wharf from December 2 until the end of February, and Canary Wharf promises they’ll bring “a sense of calm and reflection in these difficult times”. As they’ll be sticking around until 2021, they’ll also give London a welcome pop of colour once the city’s Christmas lights have gone back in the box. You’ll be able to visit some during the day, but the installations are best seen after dark, until they’re switched off at 10pm. More info on the participating artists and artworks will be revealed in due course, and we’ll keep you posted. The loss of Winter Lights is a blow, sure, but at least January won’t be completely grim this winter…

Connected by Light runs from December 2 to February 27, and you can find out more here.


Also published on Medium.