Lumiere installations switched off due to overcrowding

King's Cross station was evacuated on Saturday (16 January) due to overcrowding, as members of the public sought to visit the capital's first-ever Lumiere London light festival.

King's Cross tube station was temporarily evacuated (@kingscrossN1C)
King's Cross tube station was temporarily evacuated (@kingscrossN1C)

The station is also said to have been evacuated due to other factors, such as the memorial event for the late Alan Rickman at the station's Platform 9 3/4, meanwhile TfL has clarified that the station is quite often shut as a general safey measure.

Installations such as Light Grafitti at King’s Cross, Aquarium in Mayfair and 1.8 at Oxford Circus were also temporarily switched off.

The event organiser, Artichoke, took to Twitter to inform members of the public that particular sites were extremely busy, and encouraged them to visit on Sunday (17 January) instead.

@artichoketrust posted: "Coming to #LumiereLDN tonight? @kingscrossN1C is extremely busy, come later or try again tomorrow."

The initial tweet was followed up by news that some of the installations may not be lit up: "#LumiereLDN is currently extremely busy. Some installations may be temporarily turned off for safety reasons. Please be patient."

Updates were posted throughout the night, and Artichoke informed revellers when some of the installations were back up and running.

Some attendees similarly took to Twitter to share their frustrations via the '#LumiereLDN disappointing' seach term. Overcrowding, tube closures, poor organisation and a lack of communication about some of the light switch-offs were cited as key bugbears.

Others praised the installations on show as part of the four-day event, describing them as ‘incredible’ ‘stunning’ and ‘amazing’ via the #LumiereLDN hashtag. 

The festival's final day (17 January) seemed to run more smoothly, with incidents of overcrowding not reported.

The festival is estimated to have attracted over one-million visitors over the four days, and anecdotal reports from restaurants, cafes and bars in the West End and King's Cross point to a year-on-year uplift in food and beverage sales. 

Anna Vinegrad, PR and communications associate at Artichoke, told Event: "We at Artichoke are really delighted at the number of people who came out for Lumiere London. The atmosphere was amazing throughout the four nights. The success of the festival did mean that contingency measures had to be put into place occasionally to help keep the crowds moving, including temporarily turning off one or two installations. 

"At King’s Cross, on Saturday night, TfL briefly activated measures the station regularly uses to control access and egress due to large numbers of people leaving and arriving."

The event was produced by Artichoke with the support of the Mayor of London, and London's official promotional company, London & Partners. 

View our gallery of the light installations here.

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