China Dream set to end with a bang at River of Light festival

Liverpool’s fireworks spectacular River of Light returns this weekend and will see four specially commissioned artworks light up the city’s waterfront.

The artworks mark the finale of China Dream, a nine-month arts season delivered in partnership with the University as part of Liverpool’s 2018 Capital of Culture ten-year anniversary celebrations.

The installations will represent the elements which underpin Chinese philosophy: wood, water, earth and metal, with the fireworks themselves covering the fire element.

Each evening, from around 4.30pm Friday 2 to Sunday 4 November, visitors will be able to see:

The Wave

Representing water, 40 triangular interactive gates will be found along a 100metre stretch of the Strand (on the pavement near Salthouse Dock). Designed by Copenhagen-based artists Vertigo, the gates will respond to people’s movement creating a unique light and sound reaction.


This European premiere was first showcased at this year’s legendary Burning Man festival and falls into the ‘wood’ category. Located in Mann Island basin, 6m tall copper pipes will create the effect of a giant oak tree, transforming the area into a mysterious woodland. It has been created by Italian photographer and videographer Stefano Casati.

Pool of Mirrors

In a nod to metal and taking inspiration from Chinese ‘magic mirrors’ which were cast in solid bronze and shrouded in mystery, Liverpool based arts collective The Kazimier will bring these ancient artefacts bang up to date with cutting edge materials, creating a metallic mirage of light on the canal.


Fulfilling the earth section, the Royal Liver Building will become a canvas for light projections which will explore the traditional view of earth from space. The light has been designed by local lighting, audio and staging specialists Adlib.


As well as the five Chinese elements being represented, from 5pm Sunday there will be a wide variety of streets performances on the waterfront including fire artists and performers.

River of Light: The Elements in association with Royal Liver Building 360 starts from 5pm on Sunday 4 November, with the fireworks starting at 6.30pm.

Both sides of the Mersey will be lit up by fireworks, with tens of thousands of people expected to line the waterfronts in Liverpool and New Brighton for the free spectacle.

For more information on the event in Liverpool and Wirral, go to

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