Christmas is a ball

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The Blackpool Ball is just days away and here’s your chance to win free tickets for it.

The annual Christmas Tree Ball – founded by the late Christopher Dearden – faded out last year, but the idea has now been dusted down and given more of a dance theme.

DJ, photographer and promoter Les Riches, together with a team at Blueberries Designer Boutique on Topping Street have organised the Blackpool Ball, to be staged in the Winter Gardens next Saturday, December 17 – traditionally the weekend of the original Christmas tree version.

Featuring DJ luminaries Graeme Park and John Morales’ together with Horse Meat Disco, Ellesse-Kaluki and the first appearance of local funk and rock band The Monster Squad for three months, the Christmas Ball is described as “the peoples’ party” by Les and some tickets are still available at £20 plus booking fee.

“The Christmas Tree Ball had became something of a legend and it seemed a shame just to see it vanish,” said Les. “But I think towards the end it had lost its way a little and this is an attempt to be more cutting edge.”

A veteran of Southport’s famous weekenders, Les says he wants to capture some of its atmosphere without simply replicating it.

“I have about 12 years’ experience of promoting events and club nights which started with ‘underground’ parties on beaches and in caves in Cumbria to more recent outdoor gigs at Fleetwood Cricket Ground and The Great Hall at Mains in Poulton,” he says. “I have also been DJing for about 15 years, in which time I’ve had several club residencies.”

Of his latest venture he says: “The people who will be coming know what they like in music and they know what we will have on offer. They’ve been registering online to ‘the peoples’ party’ and letting us know their thoughts and ideas.

“We want this to at least be an annual event and we are quite happy to spend what money we make to bring in acts who people want to see.

“We have just added an artist to the Bar 137 sponsored room – Laura Jones, she is London based DJ and took Ibiza by storm last summer as well as recently being flown out to the US for dates in Detroit, Miami and over to Playa del Carmen in Mexico.”

In addition the widely acclaimed DJ Groove Assassin has been added to the line-up in the Blueberries Lounge.”

This year’s ball is restricted to 1,200 public tickets and will take place in Winter Gardens areas such as the Spanish Room and Baronial Hall rather than the Empress Ballroom. It runs from 9pm to 4am.

“It will be a fully themed and produced evening with lots of other attractions and plenty of dry ice to give it a Christmas party feel, but we didn’t want to take too much on with our first event,” says Les. “Initial response has been good and we are expecting it to sell-out before the doors open.”

More details from

* Duke’s Diary has two pairs of tickets to be won for the Blackpool Ball.

To be in with a chance of winning just correctly name where it will be held.

(a) Blackpool Tower Circus

(b) Blackpool Winter Gardens

(c) Blackpool Pleasure Beach.

Now just e-mail your answer to to arrive no later than 2pm on Wednesday, December 14.

Winners will be notified by e-mail.

* For more about Monster Squad’s three month career hiatus see The Weekend in Friday’s Gazette.