Figures just published by the District Council show that despite reducing the capacity of the event venue - Derwent Gardens - to allow for greater social distancing, attendances throughout the eight weekends surpassed expectations, totalling 53,620, which is 12,000 up on 2019.
A total 95% of tickets were sold online, beating the previous highest of 80% in 2019.
It meant the event - which boosts the local economy by extending the local tourist season - made a surplus of around £74,000, from which £34,000 will be reinvested into the event next year to further improve the sound system and lights.
Projects for 2022 will include creating a tunnel of lights over the pedestrian bridge that links Derwent Gardens with Lovers' Walks and adding 12 specialist lights on the Lovers' Walk side of the river.
A post-event Illuminations satisfaction survey found that more than 50% thought the event was either fabulous entertainment or a good night out and 70% said the event was good value for money.
District Council Leader Councillor Garry Purdy said:
"At a time when the Covid picture remained unclear we took a leap of faith with the Illuminations last year, giving the green light only a matter of weeks before opening night.
"But the hard work of our officers paid off and the fabulous decorated boats were once again the centrepiece of the event. Our thanks go to members of the Matlock Bath Venetian Boatbuilders' Association, who never disappoint.
"Remember too that the Illuminations aren't just about the 53,000 people who had tickets for the event. You can easily double that number to take account of the number of visitors who pour into the village simply to enjoy the attractions, eateries and the buzz the event creates."The District Council took over the Illuminations 37 years ago after the previous organising committee hit financial problems.
In 2021 the event supported charity collections for the Air Ambulance, Royal British Legion and Macmillan Cancer Support. In addition to on the night fundraising the Council also gave people buying tickets online the option to make a donation to The Air Ambulance, which is the Civic Chairman's designated charity for 2021/22.