Talented creator of Harrogate's forthcoming Beam light festival for HIF predicts a 'jaw dropping' experience

The talented creator of next weekend's spectacular Beam light festival in Harrogate has hailed the town as "a very special place".
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James Bawn, creative director at Leeds-based Element 3 Design, was commissioned by Harrogate International Festivals to design a new light trail for the town.

This major festival, which takes place on Friday, March 15 and Saturday, March 16, will use lighting beams, projections and soundscapes to bring the ‘wow factor’ to ten iconic landmarks across the town centre.

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“Harrogate is a very special place with such a rich history and it has been a real joy and a privilege to work on this project,” said Bawm.

James Beam, the man behind the BEAM light festival in Harrogate, with the 1571 sculpture he helped create in 2019James Beam, the man behind the BEAM light festival in Harrogate, with the 1571 sculpture he helped create in 2019
James Beam, the man behind the BEAM light festival in Harrogate, with the 1571 sculpture he helped create in 2019

“If you’re a Michelin starred chef you choose the finest ingredients and I’ve been lucky in the sense that the raw materials for a lighting designer like me are already here – iconic buildings, jaw-dropping architecture and beautiful landscapes.

"I’ve just added a few different touches to help illuminate the stories behind them.”

Although he grew up in Huddersfield, the talented artist and lighting designer has close links to the town.

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In 2019, Bawn worked on the Harrogate 1571 project with Harrogate International Festivals celebrating the town’s spa heritage as part of the cultural delivery for the UCI World Cycling Championships.

With more than 20 years’ experience working on arts festivals, music tours, live events and architectural installations, Bawn says he thinks Harrogate is going to feel the 'wow factor' when Beam launches next weekend.

“There’s something for all ages and I hope everyone enjoys seeing the town in a whole new light, if you’ll pardon the pun.”

The festival, which is free for everyone, is produced by Harrogate International Festivals and supported by the Festival’s Future 50 fund, North Yorkshire Council, Visit North Yorkshire and Harrogate Business Improvement District (BID).

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Sharon Canavar, chief executive at Harrogate International Festivals, said: “This is one of our most ambitious and exciting projects to date.

“We passionately believe not only in our wonderful town but also in the importance of free, public arts and culture events and their ability to bring people together."

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