Every now and then it can happen in Ghent that you see elephants flying, that you feel like you are underwater and that the son also seems to shine at night. Then you know that the Light Festival has started again, and you can take a very special city walk.
Many Ghent residents did not hesitate to say this twice. Despite the strong breeze, the opening evening of the 2024 edition immediately attracted many spectators. The parking lots in the city were filling up, just like the bicycle racks and the streets of Ghent. It never became really unpleasant or dangerously busy: with a route of more than seven kilometers, there is plenty of room. “The passage is going smoothly everywhere,” said police spokesman Matto Langeraert around 9 p.m. “There are no incidents to report.” (read more below the photo)
However, the evening started on a false note. On the Vrijdagmarkt, where mayor Mathias De Clercq (Open VLD) kicked off the festival with the push of a button, a snow shower should have almost completely covered Jacob Van Artevelde. However, the avalanche was limited to a few flakes. A technical problem, which will hopefully be resolved by Thursday evening. The visitors did not let it bother them, because there was plenty of other beautiful things to see. (read more below the photo)
New this year: the loop that takes visitors to the Dampoort, via Kleindokkaai and Koopvaardijlaan, among others. At the beginning of the evening, the people still had to find their way to this corner, although it is difficult to find it Tierra by artist SpY, one of the eye-catchers of the festival. Anyone who follows many Ghent residents on Instagram will already be inundated with red ball selfies.
Other toppers, if you ask us? The twinkling, dancing lights of Studio Toer in the Baudelo Park provide a magical spectacle. Or The Guardians of the Earth of the ESA, on the Fluvius site, where the public counted down until the ‘launch’. And don’t miss the spectacular Monad not, to Portus Ganda. Anastasia Isachsen created an intriguing, overwhelming experience with beautiful images.
But not everything has to be so grand. A special mention also goes to the people of Ghent who live along the route and provide extra atmosphere themselves, if only by dancing in their living room with a flashlight. It’s those little moments that only happen during these days.
“What a successful event,” says Mieke Vanhullebusch from Evergem. “It’s unbelievable that something like this is still free. We were here last time too, and it is beautiful again. Congratulations to everyone who contributed to this.”
Would you also like to join in? This is possible until Sunday evening, from 7 p.m. (6 p.m. on Sunday) to midnight.
READ ALSO. IN PICTURE. This is the 6th Light Festival of Ghent: fireflies, masks, satellites and a magical underwater world