Lumen Festival shines bright in uptown


Photo by Eva Ou

On Sept. 29, 2018 the Lumen festival took place in Waterloo for the very first time. 

The festival, which aims to celebrate light, art and technology, features 26 installations which were located in five different zones throughout uptown Waterloo.  

“We get a lot of criticism from the tech community that nothing is happening in Waterloo and that’s not exactly true, but we thought we’d create an event specifically for the tech community with arts as the focus,” said Sonya Poweska, culture program specialist at the City of Waterloo. 

“It seems to me that light art and tech is a great way to represent what Waterloo actually is.”

Although the festival started off on a smaller scale, more and more artists and sponsors showed interest in partnering with the event, allowing it to grow and operate on a larger scale. 

“[We had] some tremendous sponsorship support from a number of developers in the area,” Poweska said. 

“Definitely we were really pleased to see them featured as part of the event, the streetscape is something that the city has been working on for a real really long time,” Poweska said.

“We’re really lucky and fortunate to have their support and to really have them believe in Waterloo the way that we see it and the way that they see it moving forward, so that’s really how it all came to be.”

Although Poweska iterated that organizers were proud of all 26 installations that were present for the festival, Kid Koala, the kaleidoscope installation and the Kazoo stage were some of the most anticipated installations. 

Kid Koala — a well known DJ in Canada — took place in the parking lot located at the intersection at Regina Street and Bridgeport Road, saw hundreds of participants and attendees.

“He offered an opportunity for people to come and DJ with him. As part of the festival, we had two shows for that one,” Poweska said. 

Waterloo Park, which was one of the five zones of Lumen, saw installations which celebrated its history, being that the park recently celebrated its 25 anniversary. 

“Waterloo Park was really a labour of love,” Poweska said.

“We worked really hard to celebrate and showcase the assets of uptown waterloo as well as really celebrating the artists that make up the vibrant arts community.” 

The Lumen festival also offered an opportunity for uptown Waterloo to show off the recently installed LED lights which are situated along the King streetscape. 

“Definitely we were really pleased to see them featured as part of the event, the streetscape is something that the city has been working on for a real really long time,” Poweska said.

“The lights were coordinated in the colour scape of human branding and that’s something that the city sees going forward as initiative that certainly we can build upon this year.” 

With over ten thousand participants this year, Lumen saw great success in its first year running in Waterloo. 

“Lumen is a festival that was built for everybody,” Poweska said.

“We were really happy with our partnerships and sponsors. Waterloo is known for collaboration, that’s really how the event took place, so we we are really thankful to all the pope who participated; we couldn’t have done it without the support of others.” 

Lumen Festival was a great time that helped to demonstrate the beauty of the art exhibts, as well as of Uptown Waterloo.

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