We conceptualized, spearheaded, and helped launch
America’s first large-scale light and innovation festival
Partner’s revenue increased 51% as a result of
$111.6 Million Dollars in Economic Impact so far
Over 2.9 Billion Earned Media Impressions
1,282,500 Estimated Number Of Festival Attendees
Over Three Productions
Creating a platform
We conceptualized, spearheaded, and helped launch America’s first international light festival. The Light City festival was a self-initiated project developed by Brooke Hall and Justin Allen of What Works Studio.
We were interested in creating a catalyst that would help Baltimore unlock untapped potential and become more prosperous. We were inspired to dream, design and build a festival that would capture the attention of the world.
Designing a transformative event.
The initiative was designed to have a substantial annual economic impact and an overall positive effect by introducing the world to the breadth of remarkable individuals and organizations working to help the city reach its full potential.
In 2013, we launched a new venture, Light City LLC, implemented a multi-year campaign to build grassroots support, raised money, and hired the world-renowned Vivid light festival director, Ignatius Jones. In December 2014, we officially partnered with Baltimore City’s events office and we continued to raise money, act as spokespeople, manage marketing activities, build the website and mobile app, and lead the production of the innovation conferences. After the successful production of Year 1 in 2016, we sold the rights to Light City to Baltimore’s event agency, who saw their revenue increase by 51% as a result of the festival. According to the Baltimore Business Journal’s Book of Lists, their budget grew from $7.2 Million in 2014 to $10.9 Million in 2017. Because of Light City, Baltimore City’s event agency received the single largest financial contribution in its history. A top official at the agency noted that “Our reach now, especially with Light City, is becoming more national. We’re getting even more international artists and I hear that in the international light artist world, people are talking about Baltimore.”
The challenge we wanted to tackle.
It all came together on a road trip.
Building a compelling framework.
Getting the buy-in.
Research, Planning and Fundraising
Building a movement.
Convening the team.
Building the festival.
Producing the conferences.
In 2016, we designed, produced, and marketed four innovation conferences, which featured over 140 thought leaders and explored innovations in four key areas: Social Innovation, Sustainability, Health and Creative Industries.
We secured national thought-leaders to speak at the conferences such as Steve Case, Ray Lewis, Debbie Millman, Amy Webb, Jad Abumrad, Thomas Dolby, Robert Egger, Aaron Hurst, Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, Richelle Parham, Reshma Saujani, and many more.
For the conferences, we developed the marketing strategy and implemented a social media advertising campaign to market four distinct two-day conferences to audiences throughout the East Coast. We also developed and enacted a successful direct sales plan for bulk ticket sales. Our marketing efforts resulted in six days of sold-out conferences that produced significant revenue for the 2016 festival overall.
Transforming the city with light.
In 2016, the free, week-long annual festival consisted of 29 large-scale light installations, over 100 music concerts and performances, and six days of innovation conferences. The festival succeeded in becoming a city-wide collaboration and a significant tool for economic development, civic engagement and tourism. Light City has become Baltimore biggest, most impactful annual festival in the city’s history. The first year brought over 400,000 attendees, earned 227.6 million media impressions, and had an overall economic impact of $33.8 Million for the state of Maryland (a ROI of 956%).
In 2017, Light City was expanded to nine nights and eight neighborhoods and drew an estimated 470,000 people. The second year of the festival earned 1.09 Billion media impressions, and had an overall economic impact of $44.3 Million for the state of Maryland (a ROI of 1,097%).
In 2018, Light City expanded to 3 weekends and fourteen neighborhoods. Year three saw 442,500 attendees, 1.6 Billion media impressions and $33.5 Million in economic impact.
See lightcity.org for more.
“It’s hard to measure how you uplift a community, but I think we were able to do that,” Light City co-founder, Brooke Hall. “Light City is my baby…” Hall said. “I’m excited to see it grow.” The Baltimore Sun, May 18 2016