North Yorkshire Council respond to backlash over Scarborough Lights festival
The Scarborough Lights festival is bringing spectacular illuminated art installations to the Peasholm Park, showcasing the work of international, national and local artists.
The festival will be staged until Saturday, December 23, and it is the first event as part of the Scarborough Fair cultural initiative, which is being funded by £1.2 million from the Government’s Towns Fund programme.
Scarborough Lights will involve 15 events and light artworks from the UK and across Europe, many of which are in England for the first time, at 13 venues across the town. A total of 10 of the events and installations will have free admission.
Showpiece events include a sold-out drone display at Scarborough Castle on Saturday (November 18), and the Winter Lights Trail in Peasholm Park throughout the duration of the festival.
Light installations will also be on display in the town centre at Scarborough Library, the town’s train station, the Rotunda Museum, Scarborough Spa, the Town Hall and the harbour.
However, there has been a lot of discourse in local social media groups surrounding the Winter Lights Trail in Peasholm Park and the price to enter.
The event is free for under-fours, then tickets are £6.25 for children and young people groups, £12.50 full price, and £10.50 for concessions, residents (with a YO11, YO12, YO13, YO14, YO21 or YO22 postcode), key workers, and carers.
Resident’s have been sharing their thoughts online, saying that the price may add up to be around £40 for a family if they want to walk around.
One social media user said: “I understand they’re trying something new but my god think we’re just paying for the leccy bill for the lights that are there all year round.”
Another said: “Ridiculous prices for the lights, not worth it at all. The lights were nice though.”
North Yorkshire Council’s executive member for culture, arts and housing, Cllr Simon Myers, said: “Scarborough Lights is part of the much broader Scarborough Fair programme of events over the next three years which will place the town as a ‘must see’ visitor destination for arts and culture as well as its outstanding coast.
“Thousands of people have already enjoyed the lights, which feature local, national and international artists who bring their profile and reputation with them adding great value and attracting new as well as return visitors.
“While parts of the event are ticketed to help deliver such a high quality programme, much of it is free and we have tried to keep the cost down as much as possible.
“There are concessions in place for local residents and an off-peak reduced-price ticket is also now added to the options for everyone.
"There is also a valuable community programme in place with artists working with a number of groups and residents to provide a lasting legacy around all that arts and culture can offer.
“It’s important to say that there is a well-recognised link between an established cultural programme and economic growth and by hosting these sorts of events we aim to boost the visitor economy, helping to provide more higher paid jobs for local people in that sector.
“This is just the start, and we expect the fair schedule will grow in popularity as it continues.”
Peasholm Park remains open as usual during the daytime.
Check out images from the Winter Lights Trail here.