The Awakening draws in more than 100,000 visitors to Hull city centre

More than 100,000 people turned out to experience an evening of magic, celebrating Hull’s rich maritime history.

The Awakening, Hull’s first major event of the year, drew in thousands of people over two nights to celebrate the city’s identity, heritage, folklore and mythology and our relationship to the environment as we navigate the changes of day-to-day life post-pandemic.

Whitefriargate windows were lit up by projections of artefacts from Hull’s Maritime Museum and a fire trail in Queen’s Gardens paved the way for visitors to stop at the Rose Bowl and admire Borealis, a mesmerising installation bringing the experience of the Northern Lights to Hull.

For the first time Ferens Arts Gallery also remained open into the evening for visitors to look around their galleries and exhibits.

Councillor Daren Hale, Leader of Hull City Council, said: “The Awakening was a fantastic event, bringing to life some incredible installations filled with light, fire and music, and we were delighted to see so many people and families turn up to enjoy the first major arts event in Hull for 2022.

“We hope that it sparked the imagination of visitors who joined us to celebrate the change of seasons and our city’s fascinating maritime heritage, folklore and mythology.”

95 per cent of those who visited would recommend The Awakening to a friend, showing huge confidence in people’s desire to enjoy similar events.

Mikey Martins, Artistic Director and CEO of Freedom Festival Arts Trust, said: “We were thrilled to see thousands of people and particularly so many families back on the streets of Hull enjoying The Awakening this weekend.

“The feedback from the audience has been truly fantastic and personally just seeing the joy on the faces of people of all ages as they interacted with all the incredible program across the city centre and into the Old Town.

“We want to thank our partners hugely for their unwavering faith and support in us as a key creative producing engine for this great city, Hull City Council, VHEY and Hull Maritime Project particularly for all their input and support and big thanks to Welcome Back Funding along with Arts Council England, the InSitu and Global Streets networks who collectively funded this brand new event for Hull.

“And finally we’d like to thank all the audiences for coming out, being so considerate of each other at this first large scale event for 2 years and bringing the city back to life with such a friendly and delightful atmosphere – we couldn’t do it without you. And we hope to make The Awakening an annual event for the city, so watch this space and in the meantime we’ll see you all at Freedom Festival in the summer between the 26th August and the 4th September.”

Freedom Festival Arts Trust, creators of one of the UK’s leading international arts festival, Freedom Festival, with support from the Welcome Back Fund, England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020, the Arts Council and the Global Streets network worked in partnership with Hull City Council to deliver The Awakening.

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