• Warming by the firepit
  • Volunteer Stewards
  • Hot drinks on hand

Winter Lights Festival '24

Light sculptures, projections and more where the Byes, the River Sid and the sea merge. A celebration of emerging from the dark of winter into the hopeful light of springtime, rallying around the theme of Save Our Seas.

Our thought provoking early evening event across half-term was supported by an amazing group of volunteer stewards.

Artist Zac Greening shares the inspiration for the light sculptures in our festival video.

Following the festival an open call to action was sent to those who make decisions and take actions that affect our seas from members of the community of Sidmouth.  

Artist Statement:

'Message in a Bottle - Save Our Seas’ is an art and activism installation made by the children of Sidmouth Primary School.

The inspiration behind this art piece was to highlight some of the pressing issues facing our seas and oceans today and to give local people an opportunity to air their feelings and concerns about the current state of our oceans.

As the lead artist and curator of this project I have been very encouraged by how many members of the public have contributed to this installation as part of Sidmouth Winter Lights Festival February 2024, despite the weather, and taken part in 'Message in a bottle - Save our Seas’.

It is hoped that this collection of community sentiments will inspire our politicians and decision makers to take action in preserving for future generations one of our most precious natural resources.

Zac Greening, Feb. 24

Key themes from the 87 SOS Messages received during the festival

Sidmouth On Sea - SAVE OUR SEAS

This low carbon free community festival featured a trail of light installations highlighting an aspect of environmental sustainability and made using recycled materials.  

The festival was biodiversity friendly with LED lights and taking place during hibernation of bats and other species.

Each artwork's narrative highlighting our unique coastal environment and the need to protect it.  The focus was on activism and the importance of looking after our seas for the future.  

Festival goers were reminded to look out for the calls to action!

An artist led experience co-created with community groups

The festival exhibition, designed and curated by experienced lighting artist Zac Greening (aka GREENING THE EArtH). Zac has designed and delivered light festivals from Wincanton to Canary Wharf . His environmental and sustainability focused lighting sculptures are also a regular feature at Glastonbury Festival. 

A range of lighting artists also created bespoke light installations for the festival and special community installations created by Sidmouth Repair Cafe, students from both Sidmouth College and Sidmouth Primary School, Sidmouth Coastal Community Hub and Sidmouth School of Art.

Fords South West at Alexandria Estate, Sidmouth provided additional professional technical assistance with the installations and electrics.

A warm welcome awaits

Local residents and visitors were invited to join us and be part of something special.  The light sculpture trail took you from Sidmouth Wallspace to the Coral Reef Garden, to the Sensory Garden for a special display and back to the Fishermen's Yard by the Ham.

The festival will opened with a half-term weekend launch on Friday 9th and Saturday 10th February 2024 from 5.30pm to 8pm with food and hot drinks 5pm till 9.30pm and bar 5pm to later and then continued Thursday 15th, Friday 16th, Saturday 17th February 2024 same times.

Sidmouth Trawlers, Sea Sides & Tacos and Daisy Blue Delights

Three local food stalls were on hand to take the chill off with fish and chips, tacos, hot drinks and cakes all on offer.  

The Fishermen's Shed Bar @The Fishermen's Yard 

The perfect venue to stay a while and meet up with friends at the bar.

Telephone Box lights and the Christmas Lights Switch On

On Saturday 18th November, Sidmouth School of Art supported this annual event with our Clamship and Lantern parade with Sidmouth College students.

As well as joining in with the town launch of the Christmas festivities we launched our Save Our Seas Winter Lights event with two new lighting installations at the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Museum of Antiquities designed by artists Zac Greening and Rose Adams.

Zac Greening


Zac’s inspiration comes principally from nature – 'the ultimate sculptress'. He finds the sculptural forms created by the sun, moon, waves and trees particularly inspiring as symbols of sustainability. Zac works in a wide range of media from discarded plastic bottles to organic matter. Often these materials are fused together to reinforce the aesthetic or narrative that he’s looking to express. 

Supporting the Christmas Lights at Sidmouth's Market Square

We need your support.

We are committed to ensuring the festival is accessible to all with no cost barriers as part of our bringing the community together aims and our vision to Make Sidmouth the Artwork.

We are actively seeking sponsorship to support the Winter Lights Festival, please do get in touch to Become a partner or fund our work 

Creative East Devon Fund through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

We are delighted to have this support from East Devon, enabling new cultural events to launch.

Sidmouth Town Council

We are grateful to Sidmouth Town Council for providing a grant to support the event and who manage the festival site for the benefit of the community.

Visit Sidmouth

We are thankful for the shared support from Visit Sidmouth, helping us to share the invitation to visitors to our beautiful town.

Fords South West

We are delighted and thankful that Fords are supporting the festival in-kind through providing professional technical assistance.

Sidmouth Hotels

We are delighted that Sidmouth Hotels - Hotel Elizabeth, The Kingswood & Devoran and Dukes, are sponsoring the Winter Lights Festival, we appreciate how important sustainable tourism is to our community and are very grateful for their support.  We hope that this event provides another reason to visit.

Potburys of Sidmouth

We are delighted that Potburys are sponsoring one of the lighting installations, it is important to us to have the support of local businesses.

Voyage Travel Marketing

We are delighted that Voyage Travel Marketing are sponsoring the participation of children and young people to take part in the festival,

Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce

We are grateful to Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce who are supporting us as a business community for this new event.