In Lyon, the Festival of Lights at a time of energy sobriety


The Festival of Lights, in Lyon, in December 2021.

Faced with soaring gas and electricity prices, the ecologist town hall of Lyon has decided on a drastic energy saving plan, including the extinction of public lighting for part of the night. At the same time, the capital of Gaul is about to light up with a thousand lights on the occasion of its traditional Festival of Lights, scheduled from December 8 to 11 (from 8 p.m. to midnight, except the last day, Sunday, of 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.). funny paradox ?

“Sobriety does not mean austerity”, replied Grégory Doucet presenting, at the beginning of November, the program of the Festival of Lights. Invited to clarify his thinking, the mayor of Lyon (Europe Ecologie-Les Verts) insisted, in his somewhat convoluted style: “Energetic sobriety but abundance of joy and pleasure. » No question of tarnishing the image of a major event for the second agglomeration of France, with precious international influence. After two years weighed down by the Covid-19, the elected Greens hope to find a strong attendance, while seeking to bring ecologically compatible lighting to the illuminations.

Systematic use of LED bulbs

At a time when the town’s gas and electricity bill is increasing by 50%, for an additional cost of 50 million euros, the town hall has taken care to put the energy impact of the Festival of Lights into perspective. Thirty works have been selected for this 2022 edition. The electricity bill will not exceed 3 500 euros for the entire event, assures the town hall.

Related to the overall budget of 2 million euros, of which 900 000 euros financed by sponsorship, this reduced amount of electricity consumption is explained by the systematic use of LED bulbs (light-emitting diode). All art installations now use this low-power technology.

Integrated for several years in the design of the Festival of Lights, environmental consideration has accelerated with the arrival of the ecologist majority in municipal power. As if they sought to anticipate the political order, the artistic offers speak much more of climate.

Luminescent birds and giant slogan

This year, a virtual tornado will rise on Place de la République, in the heart of Lyon, to signify the climate change from which the planet is suffering. Title Cymopolee, named after the goddess of storms, the creation illustrates the ecological trend of the moment. Just like the show Whisper, Place des Jacobins, which offers an ode to nature, transforming the sound of flocks of migrating birds into spots of light. Place Voltaire, Tweets is “the result of a participatory and eco-responsible project”, says the press kit about a bestiary of 300 luminescent birds made from recycled plastic cans and bottles.

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