Blackpool Tower Ballroom set to host Illuminations Switch On ceremony and concert with 1,000 strong audience

The Tower Ballroom will host the Illuminations Switch On concert for the first time this year – with a limited live audience – as the resort continues to bounce back from a year of Covid-related lockdowns and restrictions.

By Nicola Jaques
Friday, 30th April 2021, 12:24 am
Updated Friday, 30th April 2021, 12:30 am

Following the success of last year’s virtually streamed ceremony, broadcast to more than 225,000 people, Switch On bosses said viewers far and wide will once again be able to tune in from home.

But for 2021, 1,000 tickets will also be made available, via a ballot, with registration open until Friday, July 30.

The resort’s tourism chief, Coun Gillian Campbell, said: “While we would love to be able to bring back a full-scale concert with thousands of people partying on the headland, there are still too many uncertainties over the logistics of being able to do that in a safe and controlled way.

Blackpool Tower Ballroom setting for this year's Switch-On ceremony

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    “We are fortunate that we have a world class ballroom which is currently undergoing a £1m renovation and which will provide a truly fitting stage for the 2021 Switch-On concert.”

    The Switch On will be held on Friday, September 3 and will launch four months of Lights, which will shine until Monday, January 3 – and, for the first time, over Christmas and the New Year.

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    The line-up for the show, organised by tourism chiefs and MTV, has yet to be revealed, as has the traditional Switch On star.

    Longtime hosts of Illuminations Switch On event Diversity members Jordan Banjo and Perri Kiely

    Last year, a group of ‘Corona Heroes’ were asked to pull the lever. They included Dr Jason Cupitt, who runs Blackpool Victoria Hospital’s Covid intensive care unit, where hundreds of people have died over the past 12 months.

    Blackpool-born singer Rae Morris, dance troupe Diversity, Fleur East, Becky Hill, ex Spice Girl Melanie C, Joey Curry, and Tom Grennan also provided 'at home' performances.

    Kate Shane, who runs Merlin Entertainment’s resort venues, including the Tower, which Merlin runs on behalf of the council, said: “The ballroom is currently undergoing a huge renovation programme that will bring the magnificent ceiling back to its former glory.

    Corona Heroes of last year's ceremony switching on the Lights

    "We look forward to being able to unveil this to a live Switch On audience as well as a global live stream audience.”

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    Blackpool singer Rae Morris