The 14th annual Dartford Festival of Light took place on Friday 17th November in Dartford Town Centre to resounding success.
The Festival which is produced by Cohesion Plus working in partnership with Dartford Borough Council and is supported by Arts Council England, Kent Equality Cohesion Council and KKB Group attracted record numbers, with around 1500 taking part in the parade element of the event.
The parade also featured 13 local schools from across the borough, who in the build-up worked with arts company Same Sky Arts to design and make lanterns which celebrated the themes of community, unity, friendship and tolerance.
Civic guests were also in attendance including Deputy Lieutenant Kelvin Holford, Mayor of Dartford Cllr Roseanna Currans, Leader of Dartford Borough Council Cllr Jeremy Kite, Gareth Johnson MP and Chairman of the KCC Cllr Gary Cooke.
Throughout the evening there was an electric programme of dynamic artists including Bloco Fogo Samba who brought the summer sounds of the Brazilian carnival to the town, while Native Oyster brought the unique rhythm and blues of New Orleans. Representing North India via Kent were the Kings of Dhol who performed their signature drumming beats, wowing the crowds. DDFK Brass performed joyful renditions of pop classics as well as bringing a sense of nostalgia to the celebrations.
For the first time there were also lights installations with renowned company Visual Elements decorating Dartford Museum and large sections of Central Park in amazing, colourful lights and fixtures. Same Sky Arts led the parade with a large scale illuminated Japanese Geisha fox which added to the festival atmosphere.
The festival climaxed with a free fireworks display in Central Park which was enjoyed by those in attendance.
Gurvinder Sandher MBE DL, event organiser and Artistic Director of Cohesion Plus commented, “The Dartford Festival of Light grows in strength year to year and I am so grateful to everyone who came out to support, making this year the most well attended year to date. The success of the event is a testament to the strength of our working relationships with local Dartford schools as well as our creative partners and of course Dartford Borough Council. The Festival of Light symbolises unity, light in the darkness and communities coming together, sentiments that world is desperately in need of now more than ever.”
Dartford Borough Council Leader Jeremy Kite MBE said: “This is the 14th year we have held the Festival of Light and it’s proven to brighter than ever. I always look forward to this event and working alongside Cohesion Plus in bringing the community together for a fun and enjoyable evening. Having the schools, once again, creating their lovely lanterns building up to this occasion is always great to see and this year’s extra light installations to Central Park brought so much more to the parade.”