Get ready to boogie – big band superstar Jools Holland is coming to Blackpool.
The musician is playing a one-off special show at the Empress Ballroom on Wednesday, June 24, which will be filmed for a BBC4 broadcast.
And a free ticket ballot opens to residents and fans today.
A Big Band Special will see Jools and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra showcase some of the best of classic big band music, with special guests, and an insight into some of the greats, such as Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong and Frank Sinatra.
As well as the filmed concert, Jools will be in town throughout the month, to shoot Big Band Theory – a documentary on the social history of big band music and its place in post-war Britain – with Strictly Come Dancing judge Len Goodman and historian Lucy Worsley.
And Jools has hailed the Blackpool and the Empress’ special place within big band history in the UK as he prepares to make his Empress Ballroom debut.
“Big band became a big thing after the war, when people rarely went abroad for their holidays – they came to Blackpool or Margate, these places were Meccas for holiday makers and more importantly for people wanting to dance and forget about all the hard stuff that had gone on,” he said.
“Blackpool was the focus of that and a place of tremendous glamour.
“And a venue like the Empress, it’s a bit like the old musical instruments when they’ve been owned by a legend, for example BB King’s ‘Lucille’ guitar, it has something extra about it and that’s true of rooms, too.
“There has been a lot of great music and joy in that room, something stays of that and makes it a great room.”
Joining Jools for the night will be singers Ruby Turner and Marc Almond as the Rhythm and Blues Orchestra plays big band hits over the years.
“I’ve always been a fan of big band music and I think this is a great way to take the music genre to a wider audience,” the Later host said. “We are going to have one big party.”
Director of BBC England Peter Salmon added: “Having Jools in Blackpool here to celebrate is fantastic.
“It will be a Blackpool night to remember and one which the whole country will be able to enjoy again when it airs on BBC Four.”
Deputy leader of Blackpool Council – owners of the Winter Gardens – Coun Gillian Campbell said: “I am delighted that Blackpool Council and the Winter Gardens have been able to help the BBC hold a free concert of this magnitude in Blackpool.
“So many people will have memories of travelling to Blackpool to watch big bands perform, it’s the perfect location to host this event.
“The concert itself and the two TV programmes that follow will be fantastic publicity for the town.”
Visit www.bbc.co.uk/showsandtours/shows/big_band_jools_24jun15 to enter the ticket ballot.