Lumiere ′feel-good′ factor should be ′bottled and sprinkled across the county′

19 August 2015

Volunteer festival makers are shining a light on what it’s like to be behind the scenes of the UK’s biggest light festival.

Lumiere returns to Durham for the fourth time this November 12th – 15th and will once again be supported by an army of bright and brilliant festival makers of all ages *and skills.

Durham County Council and festival producers, Artichoke, are recruiting 200 festival makers with the support of Northumbrian Water to help make this year’s event the best yet. More than 125 people have already signed up, and amongst those who are planning to help Durham shine on the world stage will be Geoff Darkes from Spennymoor.

Geoff and his good friends, Andrew, Beverley and Megan Lamb were also working behind the scenes at Lumiere 2013 and say it’s one of the most rewarding things they have ever done.

“On the night there is an atmosphere and feel-good factor so powerful you feel like you can almost touch it,” says Geoff.

“We wish we could bottle it and sprinkle it round a lot more often.

“We get a real buzz from meeting different people and seeing people of all ages enjoying themselves and experiencing unique events like Lumiere.

“We are fiercely proud of County Durham and the people who live here and we all get a big personal kick from volunteering at any event which showcases where we live.”

Julie Lavery, Volunteers and Skills Manager at Durham County Council, said: “Festival makers will be among the first to get the latest info on the UK’s biggest light festival and will be at the heart of this spectacular event, experiencing a major event behind the scenes.

“Together with Artichoke we’re hosting a special event to meet all those who have signed up so far and anyone else, aged 18 or over, who would like to find out more about what’s involved.

“No experience is necessary; you just need to have a friendly face and to be passionate about Durham and Lumiere!”

Kate Harvey, Producer for Artichoke said: “Volunteers play a hugely important role at Lumiere in helping the event run smoothly.

We’re really pleased to be working with Durham County Council with the support of Northumbrian Water to recruit Festival Makers for this year, and looking forward to welcoming new and familiar faces at the event in September.”

Louise Hunter, Director of Corporate Affairs, said: “Sponsoring the Festival Makers at Lumiere reflects our commitment as a water company to support the local communities that we serve. We encourage our people to get involved in community projects through our employee volunteering scheme Just an hour and since the scheme started in 2002, we’ve committed over 100,000 hours, something we are very proud of.

“It’s great to see so many people already signing up to volunteer as Festival Makers at this year’s Lumiere and we’re delighted to play a part in one of the biggest cultural events in the country right here in our region.”

The volunteering event takes place at Durham Town Hall on September 16 and runs 6pm – 7.30pm.

Volunteers will be expected to be available for at least two shifts during the event itself and there’ll be a couple of meetings in the run-up to the event.

What sort of things will volunteers do? You′ll support the smooth running of the festival including:

• Welcoming visitors to Durham, handing out programmes, providing advice on how to get around, where to go and how to get the best experience from their evening;
• Telling people about the artworks;
• Helping to run the Festival Visitor Hub;
• If you′re local - sharing your knowledge of the city;
• Offering practical help when needed e.g. delivering items to production staff.

Further information on volunteering opportunities at Lumiere can be found by visiting

Anyone interested can also write to: Volunteer and Skills Coordinators, Culture and Sport, Sevenhills Unit 1 Greenhills Business Park, Enterprise Way, Spennymoor, DL16 6JB or telephone 03000 266 555.

*Festival makers must be 18 to volunteer at Lumiere.

About Lumiere
Lumiere was created by Artichoke in Durham in 2009, and took place again in 2011 and 2013. In 2013 the festival returned to Durham attracting 175,000 visitors to the city, bringing economic benefits worth £5.8m. It was commissioned by Durham County Council, and supported by Arts Council England. In 2013, Artichoke produced two Lumiere festivals: Lumiere in Durham, commissioned by Durham County Council, and Lumiere in Derry-Londonderry UK City of Culture, commissioned by Culture Company 2013.

About Artichoke
Producers of extraordinary live events, Artichoke is one of the country’s leading creative companies and is a registered charity, funded by Arts Council England. At Artichoke we use art to undermine the mundane and disrupt the everyday, and create a new kind of world that we’d all like to live in.

Our previous projects include Royal de Luxe’s The Sultan’s Elephant, which brought an estimated one million people onto the streets of London in 2006; La Machine’s 50-foot high mechanical spider for Liverpool’s Capital of Culture celebrations in 2008; Antony Gormley’s One & Other 100-day long invasion of the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square in London in 2009; and Deborah Warner’s commission for the London 2012 Festival, Peace Camp, a nationwide celebration of landscape and poetry, which took place across eight separate sites around the UK; and most recently, Temple by David Best in Derry-Londonderry, attended by more than 60,000 people. Artichoke creates and produces Lumiere, the UK’s largest light festival, which has been staged in the medieval English city of Durham every two years since 2009; and in Derry-Londonderry in Northern Ireland as part of the celebrations for City of Culture 2013.

About Durham County Council (DCC)
Durham County Council is one of the largest unitary authorities in the country, serving a population of approximately 500,000 people. The council is committed to culture based regeneration as a means of boosting the county’s businesses and raising the profile of County Durham as a great place to live, work and visit. The council supports a wide programme of cultural events and festivals throughout the year including Bishop Auckland Food Festival, the Pearl Izumi Tour Series, the Streets Festival, BRASS and Durham Book Festival. The authority has commissioned Artichoke to design, produce and deliver the Lumiere festival on its behalf for a fourth time. The project will include working with local partners including Durham University and Durham Cathedral. For more information on Durham County Council visit

About Northumbrian Water Group
Northumbrian Water Group contains the following companies and divisions: Northumbrian Water Limited provides water and sewerage services in the north east of England under the brand name Northumbrian Water and water services in the south east under the brand name Essex & Suffolk Water. It serves 2.7 million people in the north with water and sewerage services and 1.8 million people in the south with water services.

Just an hour is the company’s highly successful employee volunteering programme where employees are given the opportunity to take a minimum of 15 working hours a year to support community initiatives. Since the launch of Just an hour in 2002, employees have volunteered more than 100,000 hours in the communities the company serves.

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