Lionel Richie approached for resort’s Switch-On concert

Lionel Richie
Lionel Richie
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Pop superstar Lionel Richie was being lined up for a huge Switch-On concert, The Gazette can reveal.

Agents acting on behalf of the Commodores legend approached Blackpool Council to see if it was interested in hosting the star as part of a UK tour following his triumphant Pyramid stage gig at Glastonbury last summer.

Town hall bosses expressed an interest – which would have cost the council a six-figure sum but would have generated huge publicity and revenue for the resort.

But Blackpool’s suggestion for the September Switch-On was not followed up and was not included in his forthcoming tour, Richie instead announcing gigs at the Manchester Arena for this June.

The Gazette understands it was mooted that Richie would play a ticketed event during the Switch-On weekend last September at the Switch-On venue on the Prom, separate from the actual big Friday night flicking of the switch.

But after initial talks, it didn’t get off the ground.

In an email to Coun Tony Williams from the council’s chief executive, Mr Jack confirmed: “The discussions didn’t get very far before they decided not to pursue the interest and subsequently announced a series of tour dates including Manchester.”

Richie’s Glastonbury success was followed by his return to the top of the UK albums chart with a reissued compilation album of his work as both a solo artist and with the Commodores.

He has sold more than 100 million records worldwide, making him one of the world’s best-selling artists of all time and would have been a huge coup for Blackpool.

Promoters often approach venues and authorities offering artists but only a small percentage ever come to fruition.

A Blackpool Council spokesman said: “We are contacted on a regular basis by concert promoters asking if we are interested in booking their act to perform in Blackpool. On this occasion we had an initial conversation which did not progress further than that.”

Hollywood film director Tim Burton officially switched on the Lights for the start of the 2015 Illuminations. This year’s Switch-On Friday night event will again be free.