The inner harbor came alive with color on Friday, April 20th for the 3rd annual Light City festival in Baltimore city.
The free event started at 8 am however the real show was at 7 pm when the lights went down. The seven-day festival is centralized on the inner harbor with exhibits spread throughout the neighboring streets.
Launched by the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts, Light City is the first large-scale international light festival in the United States.
21 new art installations beamed on BGE's Light Art Walk ranging from projections, illuminated sculptures, videos and more. In addition to the art walk, the shops (storefronts), restaurants and museums along the harbor were still open to the public.
One of the major attractions at Light City is the music. This year the festival offered a full schedule of free concerts including local, regional and renowned DJs, bands and musicians across every genre ranging from Baltimore natives like the Baltimore Rockabilly to Philadelphia hip-hop band, G. Love & Special Sauce.
Former CCBC student John Roberts stated, "The festival was lit..."
Light festivals, which are usually popular in some European and Asian countries like Hong Kong and London are now making their way to the states. Artist Rombout Frieling, from The Netherlands, stated to CBS Baltimore, "In Europe, we have sort of light festivals, in various cities, but I think it's nice it's coming up here." He continued. " I think the location here on the harbor waterfront is really wonderful."
2018 is the first year Light City decided to distribute the principal exhibits throughout the city due to overcrowding last year.
One spectator spoke upon her dislike for the new layout. "I guess they did that so that people would enter other neighborhoods but when there is only one exhibit in one neighborhood, it doesn't make much sense especially when you have to pay for parking."
ArtLab and MakerLab, panels designed to engage and curate art and innovation in Baltimore were also held. Attendance to this part of the festival suggested value is $250 however the "pay what you can” price allows the Labs to be open to all.
Families and spectators were in brightly lit accessories courtesy of the light vendors who were selling lights for $10 each. Food trucks and wine and beverage workshops were also placed throughout the event.
Street artists were sprinkled throughout the festival, trying to make their profit off the high traffic areas.
Light up rickshaw known as "fireflies" went around Harbor East until 10:30 pm. Baltimore native and volunteer Marcus spoke upon his first experience at the event stating that, "This is the first year that Baltimore is using the fireflies." Marcus continued, "it was originally started in Philadelphia, but because of the cost of parking they decided to try it here."
According to Baltimore Office of Promotion & the Arts, Light City attracted 470,000 nighttime visitors, generating $44 million in revenue in Baltimore last year.
Although it is unclear of the success of this year’s event, there is no mistaking that Light City will be returning for another year.