If “Deschepper” thinks it is good…

What do you get when you mix a vibrant coastal city, diverse artists, countless bright lights, a story about an endearing little boy and, last but not least, “one of the godfathers of events in Belgium”?

With 30 years of experience in the cultural world and all kinds of events, of course there is something to say about this title. As artistic director he is currently putting his shoulders under the Knokke-Heist Light Festival that will make the coastal city sparkle with light and life at the end of year season.

A small anthology from his CV quickly illustrates that there is nobody better suited to this project.
As the founder and partner of DDMC and Alice Events, he realised several high-profile national and international events together with his partners. He earned his spurs as non-sport director at the Special Olympics European Games Antwerp and was responsible for the creation and realisation of several public events at Mons 2105, Cultural Capital of Europe. At MB Presents, Jean Pierre worked as the artistic director on the Titanic Exhibition, The Artifact Exhibition and Expo Dino World. He also works in the cultural world with the theatre company Crew and the contemporary music production house ChampdAction. This cultural jack-of-all-trades developed a broad knowledge in many fields during his career.

Of himself, Jean Pierre Deschepper modestly says that he simply has a passion for architecture and light, although he reluctantly agrees that he has a lot of experience in the organisation and creation of large public events. Thus, when the city of Knokke asked him to realise a project for the darker days of the year, he was happy to take up the slack.

The entire city will be filled with stars and planets.
– Jean Pierre Deschepper –

Through the Knokke-Heist Light Festival, the organisers literally and figuratively want to bring light to the family in the darkest days of the year. Thanks to the ever-evolving ingenious use of all kinds of technologies, light festivals are on the rise. But, Jean Pierre wanted to add a little extra. For the first time, the participating artists are working under a single title, one theme, a story, namely that of The Little Prince. The traditional Christmas lights will also follow this theme. “The entire city will be filled with stars and planets,” he beams. “And not just for this year, but for three years. The following themes will be considered during the three years: Journey Across the Planets, Visiting the Planets and Encounters with The Little Prince. I opted for this theme because it is a fascinating story for young and old. Outwardly The Little Prince appears a children’s book but it contains so much more, it is full of deep themes about life, friendship, loneliness. It allows grown-ups to look through the eyes of children. The book by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry is also still one of the most translated and best-selling books worldwide.”

The Little Prince allows grown-ups to look through the eyes of children.
– Jean Pierre Deschepper –

“This winter the Little Prince is journeying across the Planets,” explains Jean Pierre. “I always selected a fragment of the story and then searched for an artwork that matched it or met with an artist and asked them to create one. We eventually found eight artworks that are spread over a 3-kilometre route. The journey starts at the Tourism Office where there is a small exhibition about the life of Saint-Exupéry and how The Little Prince was created. Did you know that the tourist office was built on the foundations of the old lighthouse? Outside you can see and hear The Beam, the first artwork.”

Jean Pierre designed this first light artwork together with the composer Serge Verstockt. It is a pulsating beam of light with which they invite the Little Prince to come to Earth. Each artwork has its own story to tell.

“The walk is supported by an app that visitors can download onto their smartphones from the Light festival website,” Jean Pierre explains. “All kinds of practical information and an interactive map indicating the site of the various light artworks are provided in four languages. In addition, there is an audio story with extracts from The Little Prince and also information about the light artist’s vision. For the youngest visitors we have also designed a travel document. This is an interactive document with small tasks that tie in with the experience of the Little Prince and the light installations. We hope that people will spend the day out in Knokke. Doing some shopping, having a meal and then when it gets dark enjoying the Light festival. In other words, an ideal day out for the whole family.”

An abundance of twinkling lights, stars approvingly shining down from on high with the Little Prince amongst them, Knokke-Heist will shine and glow as no other this winter. From 8 December to 6 January, the lights will attract the somewhat innocent and some less innocent earthlings to the coast to enjoy a unique holiday season atmosphere. There is no reason not simply to surrender to these temptations.