Will's going to be a real Livewire

Music fans will be Getting Jiggy With It in the Summertime as international megastar Will Smith plays his only UK date for 2017 in Blackpool.

Tuesday, 25th April 2017, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 6:41 pm
Will Smith headlines Livewire Festival, Blackpool's Tower Festival Headland
Will Smith headlines Livewire Festival, Blackpool's Tower Festival Headland

The Fresh Prince and Men In Black actor and rapper will headline a three-day music festival at Blackpool Tower Festival Headland on the August Bank Holiday weekend.

The Livewire Festival announcement has been welcomed by resort tourism figures, as it marks the first major concert event- away from the Illuminations Switch-On celebrations – to take place at the Headland since it launched in 2012.

The £15m site opened to great fanfare as Elton John played its debut gig, but last year serious questions were posed over its future as no major shows were planned.

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Fresh Prince and Men In Black star Will Smith announced the show, one of just two in Europe this summer – the other being in Croatia – with a video on his Facebook page featuring sidekick DJ Jazzy Jeff, who will join him in Blackpool.

Also on the bill for Livewire Festival are The Jacksons on Friday, August 25, and Pete Waterman’s Hit Factory Show starring Jason Donovan, and featuring Pepsi and Shirlie, Go West, Sinitta, Samantha Fox, Nathan Moore from Brother Beyond and more on Saturday, August 26.

A spokesman for the festival Livewire spokesman said: “This is the first year the Livewire Festival has come to the North West and we are thrilled to be launching this fabulous weekend of music with this new concert series at Blackpool’s Headlands Arena featuring The Jacksons, Jason Donovan and Will Smith.

“We can’t wait to bring them to Blackpool. Blackpool is the best location in the UK for top entertainment and Livewire wanted to make the event affordable to everyone.”

Standard tickets for Will Smith and The Jacksons’ nights cost £35, and £30 for the Hit Factory Show, £100 and £75 respectively for the golden circle, and £200 and £150 for VIPs.

Manager of Blackpool’s HMV store Neil Carpenter said there’d been a buzz in the Bank Hey Street shop since the announcement.

“Staff all came in talking about it this morning, and customers too,” he said. “It’s unbelieveable.

“Even The Jacksons and the Hit Factory would be good news, but Will Smith is the big thing which has got people interested. It’s a coup and I never saw it coming.”

Alex Huckerby, a resort-based events promoter and partner in Blackpool Rocks dance music events, said: “It’s incredible for Blackpool to have Will Smith coming here.

“I’d say it’s aimed at the 25 to 30-year-old market, and that’s great for the town as they are the spenders, who will make a weekend of it.

“It’s a great starting point for the Headland to grow from and will attract other promoters to Blackpool.

“There aren’t many natural spaces to host unique events, but being on the Promenade and under the Tower, this will be perfect.”

And the show has been hailed as a ‘boost’ to events already in the bank holiday weekend diary.Managing director of the Winter Gardens Michael Williams said: “It’s a great line-up for all three nights.

“Over the bank holiday weekend, we have the end of Sister Act at the Opera House and the new Great North West Motorboke Festival, with Dirty Dancing opening on the Tuesday.

“With Livewire being announced, it’s another reason for people to come to Blackpool and to stay an extra night to see all that we have on offer.”

Hotelier and president of accomodation group Stay Blackpool Claire Smith said: “When I first heard it, and they said Will Smith, I thought they meant Will Young. It’s incredible.
“We know that events bring people in and we are going to party all week, with Livewire on the bank holiday weekend, Ride The Lights on the Tuesday then Switch-On on Friday - maybe people will stay all week.
“The weekend before the Lights is traditionally a weird one, people hold off and wait to come when they’re on, but this will bring them in.”

And she praised the line up coming to the Festival Headland, adding: “It’s been sat there and we need to utilise it.

“Hopefully if this is successful, it bodes well for future events.

“There are always producers and promoters looking on. For example, they saw what happened with Mamma Mia and look at all the wonderful shows we have coming now.

“I just have no idea how we managed to acquire Will Smith, but it’s a good weekend for everyone.”

Tickets for Livewire Festival go on sale at 10am. Visit www.livewirefestival.co.uk or www.seetickets.com to book.