Oxford lights up

Thousands of people are expected to attend Friday’s Oxford’s Christmas Light Night to celebrate the official start of the festive season in the city.

The event will include a variety of entertainment, including a performance from ‘Out of the Blue’, in locations across the city centre, in what Oxford City Council describe as “an evening of lights, dance, art, live music and street performance”.

Christmas Light Night has become a regular fixture within the Oxford City Christmas calendar, following the success of last year’s event, which attracted over 29,000 people. The event promises not only live music and dance performances, but also a “unique opportunity for the public to explore Oxford’s museums, galleries and shops by night”.

Celebrations will commence from 5pm, with the outdoor stage in St Giles showcasing local and national musicians and dancers. Heart FM presenters will introduce acts ranging from ‘Dancin’ Oxford’, ‘The Welsh Male Voice Choir’, with Oxford’s all male acappella group ‘Out of the Blue’ taking to the stage at 6pm.

At the heart of the event will be St Giles Christmas market, offering Christmas presents, stocking fillers and festive food and drink through the night.

A lantern procession featuring over 350 children and young people is set to be the highlight of the night. Starting off at 6pm students from Oxfordshire schools and colleges will parade from Gloucester Green with handmade lanterns, prepared with the help of local artists. The procession will then advance through Cornmarket Street, before reaching St Giles, for a finale of “poetry, music and light”.

A second year from Worcester College said: “The Christmas Light Night looks to be a big event in Oxford. I’m particularly looking forward to watching ‘Out of the Blue’ perform”.

Rachel Pickering, the Hertford JCR president added: “I am very much looking forward to the switching on of the lights and thoroughly enjoy the festive season”.

However, a third year from LMH ,who was clearly not in the Oxmas spirit, said: “I think it’s all happening a little early – it’s not even December.”

The night will also include a variety of entertainment held at venues across the city centre. Contemporary music performances are to be held in the Castle quarter, with Ray Lee’s ‘Chorus’, “a monumental installation of kinetic and transfixing sound sculptures” as the feature act.