Sharjah Light Festival

A Legacy of Light

A journey of light that takes us from past, present and into the future – the Sharjah Light Festival has showcased Sharjah and the emirate’s identity, for over 10 astonishing years, becoming an innate part of the emirate’s legacy.

As the UAE celebrates a magnificent 50 years and reaches forward to embrace the next 50, the Sharjah Light Festival returns, to spin the stories of light and music that have so enchanted viewers for over a decade. Uniquely combining historical landmarks with modern innovations and technology, Sharjah’s rich heritage and historical monuments take on a mantle of light with a blend of illumination, music and storytelling, thrilling audiences and transporting viewers on multiple journeys through nature, urban landscapes and the evening sky.

Local and international artists, musicians and light technicians participate every year in a collaboration that takes over Sharjah, their efforts culminating in 12 memorable evenings where diverse locations are featured, each selected for its dramatic setting and inspiring architecture. The emirate becomes, beyond the festival, home to a poignant sense of community and inclusivity as spectators together discover a newfound appreciation for the emirate’s landmarks and public spaces.

The emirate's achievements and excellence in all matters related to education, knowledge and innovation are reflected, literally turning technological advancements in the field of lighting into beautiful art displays. Voted the Culture Capital of the Arab World 1998 (UNESCO), Islamic Culture Capital of 2014 and the Capital of Arab Tourism 2015 and most recently World book Capital of 2019 (UNESCO) the emirate of Sharjah offers a new take on building a common language with its cultural distinctiveness, bonding communities and fostering a deep-rooted atmosphere of inclusivity; families gather for the SLF, visitors travel to the emirate for the SLF, strangers meet and talk and friendships are nurtured within the umbrella of the SLF.

In 2014, as a tribute to Sharjah’s Capital of Islamic Culture award, the SLF included a spectacular hour-long parade, starting at the Flag Island and covering the expanse of Khalid Lagoon. 2016 saw the addition of the Palm Oasis tunnel, a sparkling collaboration between nature and technology. In 2017, technological advancements allowed for the very exciting audiovisual and interactive mapping installation which encouraged visitors to become part of the show by mapping movement and music onto the façade of a building. The same year, the highly successful food court opened at the SLF, now an indispensable part of the attractions of the festival. In 2018, a new venue, the Sharjah Police Academy, offered an unusual canvas for the light artist, a triptych of three facades to illuminate. The 2019 edition attracted more than 1,200,000 visitors over a span of 11 days, 2020 saw Sharjah add to the legacy of the SLF with an exciting collaboration with 2 of the most highly regarded universities in the area when students from the American University of Sharjah (AUS) and the University of Sharjah (UoS) participated in the creation of two special shows which were then projected onto the main buildings of both universities.

As sustainability has grown in importance globally, it has, moreover become part of the SLF agenda, all the lights and projectors used have passed certification for environmental compliance while surrounding lights are switched off saving up to 60 % of the power in area, another defining moment in the journey of the Sharjah Light Festival.

The journey continues as the UAE steps into the future and the next 50 years… In 2022, under the theme ‘Echoes of the Future”, the Sharjah Light Festival takes its place as a symbol of Sharjah’s multi-faceted cultural heritage, its present success and prosperity and a beacon of light for future peace and graciousness.

The Sharjah Light Festival 2022 will light up the emirate from 9 to 20 February.