Illuminating guide to River of Light
The new-look River of Light festival starts on Friday (1 November) bringing to the city a brand new light festival and a night of fireworks.
Here is your guide to everything you need to know.
What is River of Light?
River of Light is a nine-night festival of light, colour and spectacle, bringing together large-scale art commissions, created by artists from around the world, to Liverpool city centre. This builds on the success of The Wave which lit up The Strand in 2018, and saw 50,000 people walk through the triangular installation.
One of the nights will also see the return of the hugely popular mid-river fireworks display wowing people on both sides of the Mersey. Last year it attracted crowds of 120,000 and brought in £3.9million to the economies in Liverpool and Wirral.
When is it?
The festival runs from Friday 1 to Saturday 9 November. The fireworks will take place on Sunday 3 November.
Why aren’t the fireworks on 5 November?
This is a major event, and, as large crowd numbers are expected, road closures will be in place. Due to the disruption caused when closing part of The Strand, the decision has been made to hold the event on Sunday, and therefore won’t impact on people travelling on Tuesday.
Is Liverpool working with Wirral again?
Yes, the fireworks element of River of Light is in partnership with Wirral Borough Council. There will be two simultaneous displays, one from the waterfront in Liverpool and one as part of Wirral’s Borough of Culture year in New Brighton.
What time is the display and when can I see the installations?
The display will start at 6.30pm on Sunday 3 November and will be finished by 6.45pm. The majority of the installations will be lit up from 5-10pm each night. For full details of each artwork and the times they can be viewed, visit www.visitliverpool.com/riveroflight
Is it free?
Yes, everything is free. Liverpool City Council and Wirral Borough Council are proud to stage this free, crowd-pulling major event.
Who is responsible for the fireworks display?
Titanium Fireworks manages the display and is renowned as one of the leading fireworks companies in Europe. The team is behind acclaimed national events including the Mayor of London’s New Year’s Eve party, Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, the launch of Hull’s City of Culture year and the opening ceremony for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
Will there be music?
Yes – there is a synchronised soundtrack to the display, and this year it is made up of artists or songs that have had a Liverpool connection in 2019. These include Bruises by Lewis Capaldi who performed at Croxteth Park, Le Freak by CHIC who joined Nile Rodgers to headline this year’s Liverpool International Music Festival and Use Somebody by Fusion headliners Kings of Leon.
Where is the best place to see the fireworks?
For Liverpool, head to the waterfront – in and around the Pier Head, Riverside Walkway and the Royal Albert Dock Liverpool, up towards the M&S Bank Arena. For Wirral fireworks, please head to the display at New Brighton near to Fort Perch Rock. Alternatively download a map from www.visitliverpool.com/riveroflight or the River of Light Facebook event page.
Is there accessible viewing?
There are a limited number of spaces in the Museum of Liverpool for those with accessibility requirements. Anyone wishing to use this facility should collect a wristband upon entry to the museum. This is on a strictly first-come, first-served basis.
In Wirral there is a designated viewing area with an unrestricted view for the fireworks display by Marine Lake, New Brighton. Those who require access should speak to a steward on the night.
Is there pre-firework entertainment?
In Liverpool, crowds are encouraged to visit the light installations, and get the selfie of the season before and after the firework spectacular.
In Wirral, there will be plenty to see and do for all the family from 5pm. The electrifying Spark! will entertain visitors to New Brighton with live music, movement and lighting performances outside the Floral Pavilion and illuminated stilt walkers will greet the crowds along Marine Promenade.
Is there food and drink?
There will be are a small number of concessions on the Pier Head. They will include hot drinks, crêpes, burgers and shumai.
There are a number of food and drink retailers at New Brighton offering a range of food and hot drinks.
Will there be toilets?
Yes. In Liverpool there are a number of toilets located across the Pier Head and around Royal Albert Dock Liverpool. In Wirral, they will be located at Riverside Bowl car park.
Are there road closures on the 3 November?
Due to the nature of the event, there will be road closures on Sunday 3 November 2019.
The closures are:
8am to 8pm – Canada Boulevard, Brunswick St, Water St and St Nicholas Place. Mann Island will be closed at its junction with Georges Dock Way.
5pm to 8pm – The Strand, Goree, Strand Street, Albert Dock entrance, Gower Street, Kings Parade and Princes Parade will be closed from the junction of William Jessop Way up to St Nicholas Place.
Liverpool ONE Car Park will be accessible until 5pm and will re-open after the display. Those inside the car park can exit heading south.
There will also be access for residents and businesses where and when possible.
In Wirral, Marine Promenade in New Brighton will be closed from the Marine Point roundabout throughout Sunday 3 November, until after the event. There will be access to local businesses only, during the day.
How should I get there?
For tips on planning your journey, head to www.visitliverpool.com/riveroflight
Anyone planning to get the train, should remember that Lime Street and Edge Hill stations are closed 2-3 November and a replacement bus service is in operation.
Anyone planning to drive should allow extra time to get into the city centre due to road closures around the Churchill Way flyovers deconstruction works.
If you are watching the fireworks display at New Brighton, public transport is recommended to get to and from the event as parking is limited.
Where can you find more information?
Head to www.visitliverpool.com/riveroflight or join in the conversation on Visit Liverpool, Liverpool City Council and Culture Liverpool’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Use #RiverofLight #WinterLights on socials.
How can Liverpool City Council and Wirral Borough Council afford to stage events like this when they are facing huge budget challenges?
River of Light is shared between Liverpool City Council and Wirral Borough Council and is offset by support from Merseyrail, Stagecoach, Arriva, Royal Albert Dock Liverpool, CBRE, Able AI, RLB360, Exchange Flags, Liverpool Parish Church and the Mayoral Club. Last year, River of Light delivered a £3.9 million economic boost through spending from visitors to the event. Although the councils do not benefit directly from this, it does help support jobs in the visitor economy. The event also confirms Liverpool City Region’s reputation as a leading visitor destination.
Wirral’s Borough of Culture programme is supported by funding from Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and Arts Council England.