A GLOW-ing time at Weston’s Italian Gardens

Visitors to the Italian Gardens in Weston will have the chance to create music and magic as unique, giant instrument ‘Illumaphonium’ comes to town.

The multi-sensory installation of more than 150 hand tuned and illuminated chime bars that light up at night, will be showcased at the town centre’s Italian Gardens on Tuesday 15 February from 2pm to 8pm and Wednesday 16 February from 10am to 8pm. No tickets are necessary for this Italian Gardens’ showcase.

The musical sculpture will then be moved to Grove Park where it will feature as part of the ‘GLOW’ light festival taking place from 17 to 19 February, 6pm to 9pm.

Illumaphonium, created by musician and inventor Michael Davis, is a three-metre tall, multi-player installation that responds to touch. Constantly changing patterns of light and sound spread out like waves over the surface of the instrument, producing a mesmerising artwork made by the public. This dynamic and spontaneous music making experience will provide people with a free, interactive spectacle in the run up to GLOW.

Weston-based theatre collective, ‘From the Mud’ will also be bringing their unique blend of performance skills to the Italian Gardens alongside Illumaphonium, with creative antics, playful interactions and walkabouts for all ages, inspired by Dr Seuss’ The Lorax.

The Illumaphonium installation and Italian Gardens theatre activity is supported by North Somerset Council and funded by the Welcome Back Fund, financed by the European Regional Development Fund.

Mark Canniford, Executive Member for Placemaking at North Somerset Council said:

“Often events like this can be expensive for families to enjoy and are out of reach for many. Making GLOW free and inclusive, will allow the people of Weston to enjoy visually stunning displays within the delights of Grove Park and Weston’s town centre.

“North Somerset Council is delighted to enable the extra Illumaphonium and From the Mud activities at the Italian Gardens, which will bring the community together in a fun and engaging way and provide a taste of what’s to come at the GLOW light trail.”

GLOW is conceived and designed by Weston-based artist and producer Paula Birtwistle and presented by Culture Weston in partnership with Weston-super-Mare Town Council.

The free, sustainably-produced event, supported by funding from Arts Council England National Lottery Projects Grants and Weston Town Council, will feature a trail of light installations, interactive activities and stunning sights and sounds for all the family.

Internationally acclaimed acts including Arcadia’s Flaming Lampposts and Without Walls supported act, Thingumajig Theatre’s Ghost Caribou, will feature alongside community-created experiences such as poetry and music soundscapes, theatre pop-up performances, lantern display, Pride rainbow lighting, phosphorescent painted bug trail, insects made from willow weaving, a giant, interactive seagull and more, with funding support from Quartet Community Foundation.

A Culture Weston bar will be serving up a range of locally sourced beverages, snacks  and hot, mulled cider. Loves Cafe in Weston will be providing a hot chocolate stall with homemade vegan cakes.

GLOW is a ticket-only event with allocated time slots to ensure a steady flow of people enjoying the trail in a safe way.

The event has proved extremely popular with tickets being snapped up by members of the public in record time. In response to such high demand, organisers have looked at ways to increase capacity at the event, with latest announcements on Culture Weston’s social media and any extra tickets made available at https://cultureweston.org.uk/listings/glow-in-the-park/.