Barnsley Bright Nights is back for 2023!

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Barnsley’s captivating Bright Nights Festival returns later this month promising three nights of free family entertainment.

The fun gets underway from 6pm on Friday, November 24 with the main event, the Christmas Lights Switch-On, in The Glass Works Square. The big moment will be accompanied by The Ballad of Barns and Lee – a giant festive show that will be projected onto the side of Cineworld.

On Saturday, November 25, the festival will conclude with a festive extravaganza. The Bright Nights Parade, a true family favourite, will begin at 6pm and see a host of community groups and art performers journeying through the town centre.

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Catch the colourful parade as it weaves from Mandela Gardens, through the town centre and ending at The Glass Works Square. Experience the mystical Spirit of Barnsley, Victorian time travellers, musical illuminated Santas, soaring swans from RSPB Old Moor and the magical Frumptarn Guggenband, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary.

Barnsley's Bright Nights is backBarnsley's Bright Nights is back
Barnsley's Bright Nights is back

A variety of art pieces and free exhibitions will run across the town centre to support the festival, including The Light Looper at Barnsley College. A towering audio-visual experience, The Light Looper unites four strangers in a giant deconstructed arcade game. Players must work together to accelerate a particle of light on a journey from earth to sky.

Meanwhile, in the Alhambra Centre, the world-famous Blackpool Illuminations brings its homage to Doctor Who to Barnsley, celebrating the 60th anniversary of the iconic show.

Get up close to replicas of the TARDIS and Dalek and see a vintage spaceman made in 1970 to mark the Apollo 11 moon landing.

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Continuing the illuminating festivities, Barnsley Civic will house two installations. The first – ‘I’m Sorry’ – is a deeply personal multi-sensory installation by artist Annabel McCourt, exploring the importance of apologising.

The second – ‘On the Curled Clouds’ – features a vibrant, interactive stormy sky enabling visitors to conjure lightning with just a touch. The piece is inspired by Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’, and is a captivating fusion of art, technology, and gaming tech.

Over at the Town Hall, Experience Barnsley brings some of its Middle-Earth magic to this year’s Bright Nights. A model of Gollum will be available to view in the phone box opposite the Town Hall and a ring-of-power trail will also be available for families to take part in.

Meanwhile, sticking with The Lord of the Rings theme, children can create their very own ‘Bright Eye’ colour spinner at another free drop in at The Cooper Gallery.

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The venue will also play host to ‘The Glasshouse’, a new immersive and innovative light and sound experience conceived, designed, and built in Yorkshire.

Cllr Robin Franklin said: “Bright Nights is always a magnificent event, and we're eagerly anticipating the arrival of thousands of guests over the two days. This vibrant, and free, festival offers entertainment for all ages and interests as we look towards the holiday period and our new Christmas markets.

“These town-wide events are aimed at bringing people from all over the region into our town centre, to celebrate and to support our fantastic local businesses, increasing footfall to all areas, whilst creating a vibrant atmosphere that everyone can be involved with.”

Visit for more information or check out the Barnsley Town Centre social media pages on Facebook and Instagram for updates.

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Participating Bright Nights venues include: The Glass Works, St Mary’s Church, The Civic, Barnsley College Old Mill Lane Campus, Experience Barnsley, and The Cooper Gallery. Parkway Cinema, Library @ The Lightbox, Alhambra Shopping Centre

Bright Nights is a member of Light Up the North, a network of light festivals taking place across the North of England and it has been funded by Arts Council England.