Blackpool’s Illuminations season is under way after a star-studded night of entertainment featuring showbiz royalty, Dame Barbara Windsor, and a host of musical talent.
For Dame Barbara the event has marked an emotional return to the town to where she was evacuated during the war and where she subsequently returned to star in two summer season shows at the North Pier Theatre and the Grand Theatre.
Dame Barbara said: “I’m absolutely delighted, what an experience, my dream has come true. I finally got the chance to flick the Switch to turn on the famous Blackpool Illuminations.
“I’ve wanted to do this since the beginning of my career, it was breath-taking, and I cannot tell you what this means to me.
“Thank you Blackpool!”
The Friday night Switch-On concert, at the Blackpool Tower Festival Headland, featured some of the biggest names in British music and entertainment, including Diversity, The Vamps, Fleur East and DJ Fresh.
Dame Barbara, who played out her dramatic final scenes in Eastenders just a few weeks ago, was joined on stage at the Switch-On finale by Ashley Banjo, members of Diversity and stars of the Nickelodeon SLIMEFEST event, which takes place during this weekend and will feature the likes of Alesha Dixon, Conor Maynard and Aston Merrygold of chart-topping band JLS.
Around 20,000 people attended the Switch-On.
The concert marks the start of the 2016 Blackpool Illuminations season, with the world famous Lights now shining bright every night until 6 November, which this year features three new LightPool projections on the Blackpool Tower building, as well as LightPool Village on the Comedy Carpet from 7 September – 6 November.
Cllr Gillian Campbell, Deputy Leader of Blackpool Council, said: “The 2016 Blackpool Illuminations season is now under way and we’re absolutely delighted.
“Dame Barbara is one of the biggest and most enduring personalities in show business and we are delighted she has switched on this year’s Blackpool Illuminations.
“For 2016 we’ve got an incredible Illuminations display that takes in more of the town than ever before.
“So I would urge people to come and visit Blackpool, see all the lights and all the sights and have a fantastic time.”
The SLIMEFEST concerts at the Empress Ballroom are part of the Blackpool Illuminations Switch-On Weekend. In addition to the two ticketed identical live shows, SLIMEFEST also features a free outdoor experience including character appearances and family activities on the Tower Festival Headland on both Saturday, 3rd and Sunday, 4th September culminating with a special screening of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows from 5pm on Saturday and 4pm on Sunday.
We’ve still got all this to look forward to:
- Blackpool Illuminations – 2 September – 6 November – Britain’s most spectacular light show returns to Blackpool Promenade for another year.
- LightPool – 2 September – 6 November – The £2m LightPool programme returns for a second successive year with brand new 3D projection shows on the Blackpool Tower building and a week-long festival of light taking place throughout the town centre during October half-term. In addition to this, there will be a contemporary neon exhibition at the Grundy Art Gallery running throughout the festival plus lots more activities planned.
- The World Fireworks Championships Blackpool – 9/16/23/30 September – Blackpool plays host to the best fireworks display teams in the world with the competitors planning more dramatic and spectacular displays than ever before to wow the crowds.