Music legend Bob Dylan is to play three nights in Blackpool – an announcement which was today hailed as a massive coup for the resort.
The 72-year-old star will stage the gigs over three nights at the Opera House in November.
It’s a huge fillip for the resort as Dylan is only playing three UK venues this year – in London, Glasgow and Blackpool.
Delighted Michael Williams, chief executive at the Winter Gardens, said it proves Blackpool is back as a major player when it comes to attracting the biggest names.
Dylan, responsible for hits like The Times They Are A Changin’, Mr Tambourine Man and Like A Rolling Stone, is due in Blackpool on November 22, 23 and 24.
It is the latest in a string of high-profile musicals and gigs booked at the Winter Gardens this year – a far cry from a report in May 2009 which condemned the venue as having “little purpose in the modern world”.
The report was commissioned by former owners Leisure Parcs who were told it needed £20m spending on it.
But today, Mr Williams said: “We have a terrific year ahead of us and there are more big shows to be announced”.
He added: “It is wonderful news – it doesn’t get much better than Bob Dylan, a true legend, and it shows how big artists are choosing to come to Blackpool.
“I think a lot our current success stems from when we had the Royal Variety Show in 2009.
“Lots of promoters, artists and agents came to that, enjoyed the show, saw what we could offer at this venue – and we are now reaping the benefits.
“For people on the way up, or established performers, who want to play the size of venue we’ve got, then we know Blackpool is one of the first places they look at.
“Hopefully there will be a huge demand for Bob Dylan tickets and we’ll be reporting three sell-out concerts
“Things are getting better every day in terms of the artists and shows we are getting and that is testament to the hard work our team here is putting in.”
The Winter Gardens has seen huge investment since Blackpool Council purchased the famous conference and entertainment site along with Blackpool Tower in a £40m deal in 2010.
Visitors to the Grade II listed building which opened in 1878 have enjoyed seeing parts of the once neglected landmark radically overhauled.
And it seems the investment is paying off with rock band the Stereophonics playing in the Empress Ballroom in March and the Opera House being the only UK date outside of London to host musical production Mamma Mia next year.
Thousands of Bob Dylan fanatics are expected to scramble for tickets when they go on sale tomorrow.
David Gore, marketing manager at the Winter Gardens, said: “Bob Dylan has been an iconic figure for decades and one of the most influential musicians of any generation.
“Demand for tickets is sure to be incredible and we look forward to welcoming him and the thousands of visitors to the venue and the resort.
“For the Opera House and Blackpool to secure three dates, alongside only London and Glasgow is a great honour and a huge vote of confidence.”
Snap up tickets to see music legend Dylan
Tickets for Bob Dylan’s Blackpool gigs at the Opera House on November 22,23 and 24 go on sale at 9am tomorrow.
Tickets, priced £55-£70 (plus booking fee), are restricted to four per person and are available from www.blackpoollive.com or by calling the box office on 0844 856 1111.
He is only playing two other UK venues this year, at Glasgow Clyde Auditorium on Nov 18, 19 and 20, and at the Royal Albert Hall in London on Nov 26, 27 and 28.
• We’ve checked our records and we reckon this will be the first time Dylan has ever played in Blackpool.
If you know any different, drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.