In a press release issued Nov. 19, the City of Lyon announced that it cancelling the 2015 Fête de Lumières, its annual festival of light. Instead, Dec. 8 will serve as a day of illuminated tribute to the victims of the Paris terrorist attacks of Nov 13.
The press release reads:
“Because of the exceptional situation existing in France following the terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday, November 13, the City of Lyon would like to demonstrate solidarity and resistance in a responsible manner by keeping watch over the safety of its citizens.
New events occurring yesterday, on Wednesday, have confirmed that a threat is still present at an elevated level. Therefore, in agreement with the Prefect of the Rhône-Alpes Region and with our Festival of Lights partners, in particular the founding members, we acknowledge that the Festival of Lights cannot take place in the usual joyous way. However, we do not want to give it up because it is our city's most emblematic event. It is part of our history and our identity.
The City of Lyon has thus decided to move this year's program, which is most promising, up to December 2016. This year, the Festival of Lights will become a tribute to the victims of the terrorist attack in Paris. The tribute is scheduled for December 8. On that day, the people of Lyon are requested to illuminate the city by placing lumignon candles in their windows. These candles will also be present on the Incity Tower and the "Pencil" building in the Part-Dieu district through scenographies that will be specially designed for the occasion.
In addition, the Saône quays and Fourvière Hill will present the work by Daniel Knipper entitled "Regards." Part of the initial program, this fresco composed of close-ups on the eyes of figures from the paintings of master artists will pay homage to the attack victims as it scrolls their names across facades on the quays.
From now until then, to encourage mobilization, 200,000 lumignon candles will be handed out to schoolchildren and sold by volunteers from Lyon to raise money for the association of terrorist victims and the "Rêves" association, which is this year's beneficiary of the "Candles from the Heart" operation.
The 2015 edition with thus be unique. The decision to reschedule the program is, of course, a very painful one. It is particularly painful for the teams that have put so much energy and talent into preparing this festival: artists, partners, service providers and local associations. The City of Lyon is fully aware of the economic consequences of this decision, in particular in the tourism area, but we find ourselves in an exceptional situation. This decision was made after much careful thought, and it is a wise one. By making it, we assume our responsibility, which is to protect the people of Lyon.”
Regarding the revised plans, Michel Delpuech, Prefect of the Rhône-Alpes Region and Prefect of the Rhône said in a press statement: "This decision is a wise one. The government will be fully mobilized to guarantee optimal security for this new configuration of the Festival of Lights."
The original lineup for the 2015 festival will take place instead in December 2016. For further details visit the Fête de Lumières website.