Arts District

First Night of Light City Baltimore Full of Unexpected Moments

From the kickoff parade to Thomas Dolby, inaugural festival provides feast for the senses.

By Gabriella Souza | March 29, 2016, 2:41 pm

-Photography by Meredith Herzing
Arts District

First Night of Light City Baltimore Full of Unexpected Moments

From the kickoff parade to Thomas Dolby, inaugural festival provides feast for the senses.

By Gabriella Souza | March 29, 2016, 2:41 pm

-Photography by Meredith Herzing

On a chilly and blustery night, with thousands milling about to watch the Inner Harbor come aglow, it could be easy to get lost in Light City Baltimore’s spectacle.

As with any festival, this inaugural opening night had much to see and hear—lighted floats parading along the harbor accompanied by the driving beats of marching bands, music pouring from various stages, countless installations sparkling and flashing, vying for your attention.

A video posted by Will C (@wheelsee) on


But it was the moments that you would spontaneously encounter that made this night special, allowing you see how it could become an annual Baltimore tradition.

You might happen upon a bundled-up crowd clustered around Baltimore artist Paul Rucker playing his cello and handing out twinkling star lights to anyone who answered questions related to his work that focuses on the history of Baltimore’s slave trade. At the end of his performance, he asked the star holders to wave their lights, and told them, “You’re all bright stars, don’t forget that.”



Or as you walked underneath the shimmering Pixel Promenade, you’d hear gasps of delight as parents lifted children up to get a better look at the vibrant lights. Or you’d hear the cheers of the crowd when bike riders who were part of the “Dear Baltimore” light work peddled by, their neon letters giving the City That Reads a great reminder—“Read Baltimore.”

Yes, the advisory-strength gusts did wreak havoc and the installation Labyrinth had to be taken down, though organizers hope the work will be back up soon. The lantern parade also kicked off when it wasn’t quite dark enough for lights to shine brightly (begging the question—did anyone remember daylight savings time?), as was also the case when soul group Bosley rocked the Harbor East stage at 7 p.m.

-Photography by Jess Mayhugh

The exceptional moments continued in one of the last events of the night—a performance by legendary ’80s synth-pop musician and Johns Hopkins University professor Thomas Dolby, who took the main stage wearing a lab coat and a paperboy cap that held a pair of his signature, steam-punk goggles. “Baltimore, you look beautiful!” he declared enthusiastically.

When the opening notes of arguably his biggest hit “She Blinded Me With Science” thumped across the stage, Dolby invited out two young dancers, who popped and locked along with the beat, alongside a duo of belly dancers rhythmically swaying their hips. Their enthusiasm was contagious, enlivening the crowd of young and old, black and white.

When the dancers clasped hands to take their bows, you could feel the crowd’s excitement as they celebrated the collaboration and artistic talent that makes Baltimore so unique.




You May Also Like


Arts District

The Big Baltimore Playlist: March 2019

The top five songs you should download right now.

Arts & Culture

D. Watkins Talks New Book ‘We Speak for Ourselves’

The New York Times best-selling author is back with another fresh take of life in East Baltimore.

MaxSpace

Movie Review: The Brink

Uncomfortably up close with far-right kingmaker Steve Bannon


Arts District

Lineup for Preakness Stakes 2019 Announced

Diplo, Kygo, and Logic will headline this year’s InFieldFest on May 18.

The Chatter

Bowling Alley Returns to Shake & Bake in Latest Renovation

Ex-officio mayor Jack Young, former Colt Glenn Doughty, and others on hand to announce center’s mid-April opening.

MaxSpace

Movie Review: Gloria Bell

Who is Gloria Bell? After watching the film, I’m still not sure.

Connect With Us

Most Read


Catonsville’s Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon Talks American Idol Fame: Towson University student has impressed the show’s judges with his wide vocal range.

Maryland Legislature Passes Brewery Modernization Act: Plus, new laws will loosen distillery regulations and distribution relationships.

Ten Down-to-Earth Spots to Have a First Date This Spring: Because if the date sucks, at least there’s good food, drinks, and atmosphere.

Boxing Champ Gervonta Davis Eyes Hometown Fight in July: Upton Boxing Center stablemate Lorenzo Simpson to fight on undercard.

Baltimore Eagle Reopening on Easter Weekend: The Station North bar plans a “resurrection” to celebrate an even more inclusive, community feel.