One of Last Year's Light Festival displays, "Luminous Dance" by Anne Rush. Photo: Ana Galloway.

Light Nelson returns to brighten up winter


Light Nelson will once again brighten up Nelson during July.

Now in its fourth year, the free five-day light festival has quickly become one of Nelson’s largest biennial events, attracting more than 55,000 visitors in its last outing in 2016.

Project manager Sophie Kelly says it’s incredible how quickly Light Nelson has become a key event on the region’s event calendar.

“It’s a fantastic project that features hundreds of incredible artists and creatives, some very generous supporters, and, of course, tens of thousands of visitors.”

Light Nelson is a free outdoor event featuring a dazzling array of light installations on every scale, from a one-person-at-a time port-a-loo tardis, through to magnificent multi-storeyed projections.

“Our audience is a truly mixed bunch, from littlies to elders, from locals to visitors, from family groups to those looking for the perfect date-night,” says Sophie.

“We know that many people come to Light Nelson who might not necessarily go to any other art or culture events.”

In 2018, Light Nelson is extending its footprint across Queen’s Gardens, Albion Square, and the campus for Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT).

Visitors will follow a walking trail that winds through more than 60 light installations. Hardy Street will be blocked to traffic, and become the central hub with food and entertainment, as well as the best views of the projections onto NMIT’s B Block.

There will also be a little satellite venue in Bridge St’s Pocket Park.

The selection process of local, national and international artists and creatives has been confirmed, and once combined with NMIT’s Arts & Media students, the anticipated total will be more than 60 light installations.

Light Nelson is supported by The Collective, a group that provides a supportive, educational and creative environment that is open to everybody.

The Collective are particularly keen to include community members in collaborative works, creating an environment and opportunity to share skills and ideas.

Caroline Marshal, who looks after all the submissions, says she loves that the event has such a broad range of people submitting proposals – from practising artists and designers, through to school teachers, chocolate makers, scientists, distillers and electricians.

“This year we have a healthy mix of people who have participated in every event, as well as those entering for the first time.”

To find out more about Light Nelson 2018 visit where you can join the mailing list for regular updates, or check out Light Nelson on Facebook.