Christmas organisers in Blackburn, Lancashire are shunning the traditional Christmas Lights Switch On show in favour of an innovative new event concept.

Blackburn Business Improvement District has taken a bold move with their event at the end of this month by scrapping the traditional stage show “Lights Switch On” format.

Harriet Roberts, manager of the Blackburn BID, said “We believe that people are bored with doing the same thing every year and that the visitors we want to attract are looking for something different. Too much of the entertainment and events on offer have become stuck in a rut and it’s time to shake things up and try something new.

“Over the years, towns have competed for the biggest or best known celebrity, but for many people switch ons are now a switch off. There’s a cynicism about how much presenters and pop stars get paid for this type of work, whilst others appear in numerous locations just to promote their latest music album. Audiences are more sophisticated these days. You can almost feel that families have had enough of the same thing year in year out. Television has been following the same pattern for over a decade now. People are consuming the media differently and the demand for something new can be seen in the falling viewing figures for these TV staples.

“So, this year, we have gone back to the drawing board and started from scratch to create ‘shoppertainment’ combining an interactive outdoor installation with a theatrical experience and a showstopping finale that will excite and intrigue.

“We’ve listened to feedback from visitors to our previous events and they have told us, they don’t want to stand in the cold for hours in a large crowd with small children waiting for a poor view of a celebrity that they might not even know. Everything we are doing in Blackburn this year is about making the event as accessible as possible. We want as many people as possible to enjoy a unique experience that will be memorable for visitors, creating images to be shared on social media that will continue to keep on raising Blackburn’s game.”

Blackburn boasts the title of reigning champions in the Great British High Street Awards, having won Town Centre of the Year in 2016 and overall Winner against 900 other towns and cities.

The Christmas Lights Switch On will feature an outdoor installation called “The Fire Garden” which will be created in the grounds of the town’s iconic Cathedral. People will be able to wander through the sculptures and performance areas with their families and enjoy the event close-up. With additional fire and light performers to enjoy, the event will culminate in a spectacular firework display outside the Town Hall with an aerial performance that organisers are keeping a close secret, but promises to be breath-taking.”

Harriet continued, “We have worked with internationally acclaimed arts company Walk the Plank to create something that we hope people will talk about for years to come. We are confident that it will be difficult to find a switch on experience to match it in the UK.”

Blackburn’s Fire Garden and Lights Switch On takes place on Saturday 25th November 2017 starting at 4:30pm at Blackburn Cathedral. Entry is FREE and more information can be found here

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