Experience the ‘Northern Lights’ this spring… in Hull

A stunning new arts installation aims to recreate a Northern Lights experience in the skies above Hull to celebrate the shift from winter to spring and the ‘move towards normality’ post pandemic.

The Awakening, a “mesmerising” light and sound experience, is heading for the heart of Hull in March, lighting-up the historic Old Town and city centre with the light installation, fire trail, arts projections, and interactive music-making.

Hull City Council and the Freedom Festival Arts Trust have partnered to bring the new event to Hull over two nights, 18 and 19 March, promising a “magical and entertaining experience”.

Celebrating the movement from winter to spring, as well as the city’s maritime heritage, folklore and mythology, The Awakening is also aimed at marking a move away from the Covid-19 pandemic into more normal times, welcoming people back on the streets of Hull.

Among highlights will be Borealis, an outdoor light show recreating the experience of the Northern Lights over the Rose Bowl fountain near Queen’s Gardens in the city, while the gardens will also feature a fire trail as part of the event.

Elsewhere in the city there will be the chance to join Deblozay, chaos in Haitian Creole, on a journey to an “unknown destination in the heart of the night”, featuring giant silhouettes dancing through the streets.

For a literary treat with a difference head to Whitefriargate, one of Hull’s oldest streets, where maritime riddles – created by writer, artist and author Joanna Walsh – will appear each night along the pavements, thanks to the magic of the light writing machine “NYX” by Gijs Van Bon. The riddles will be slowly revealed to watching audiences in words made of light daily from 6-9pm and will remain viewable until 10pm.

Creating extra light and sound experiences in the Old Town will be two battery powered electric trikes with digital projectors, sound system, and cycling DJ projectionists that will be projecting colourful animations of marine life around the streets, accompanied by tunes and soundscapes.

And to coincide with the event, for the first time Hull’s prestigious Ferens Arts Gallery will remain open into the evening on both days.

Following on from the success of The Kraken outdoor installation in summer 2021 – a trail of giant inflatable sculptures representing an escaping mythical sea creature – The Awakening is the next major event to shine a light on the city’s ambitious Hull Maritime project.

Hull aims to redefine itself as a key city of the north with a huge investment in a four-year project that will see some of its most historic maritime attractions expanded and improved, creating new visitor attractions.

Making Hull’s 800 years of seafaring history even more of a key part of the city’s tourism offer, the Hull: Yorkshire’s Maritime City project will ultimately create a new route to guide visitors through the city to the River Hull, highlighting its outstanding maritime heritage.

The event is being delivered by Freedom Festival Arts Trust and Hull City Council, and is supported by the Welcome Back Fund, the England European Regional Development Fund, the Arts Council and the Global Streets network.

For more details about the project see www.theawakeninghull.co.uk

For all other tourism information about Hull, see www.visithull.org

Photo: Borealis NCET Gluttony