Category Archives: Illuminations

Blackpool’s Illuminations season to be extended for a third consecutive year

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Blackpool’s annual Illuminations display is to be extended by two months for a third consecutive year, it has been announced.

 

Next year’s Illuminations season will now start on Friday, September 2, 2022 and run until Monday, January 2, 2023.

Blackpool Council said it had made the decision after the first month of this year’s extension showed exceptional growth in visitor numbers.

Although the Illuminations were extended for the first time in history last year, the final part of the year was heavily disrupted by Covid-19 restrictions and lockdowns.

Next year's Illuminations will run from September 2, 2022 to January 2, 2023

Next year’s Illuminations will run from September 2, 2022 to January 2, 2023

Coun Lynn Williams, leader of Blackpool Council, said: “This year, for the first time, we have been able to have a clear run and assess what impact the extension of the Illuminations is having on those months that are traditionally quiet.

“What we have witnessed over the first four weeks of November has been very significant activity across the resort and significantly better than our expectations.

“The introduction of a greatly-enhanced Christmas offer to complement the extended Illuminations season has added further weight to the argument that with the right product, Blackpool is extremely well-placed to become a year-round destination.”

The extension of the Illuminations season was first introduced last year to give the resort’s tourism industry an added boost after the pandemic created severe disruption over the first few months of the year.
The extended season for Blackpool's world-famous Illuminations follows the success of similar extensions in 2020 and 2021

The extended season for Blackpool’s world-famous Illuminations follows the success of similar extensions in 2020 and 2021

Coun Williams added: “We are making this decision early so that our businesses can start to plan for the extended season next year. We know from the extensive feedback we have received to date that the investment we have made in the autumn and winter months is delivering a significant benefit.”

This year has seen Blackpool’s most ambitious winter offer with a Christmas By The Sea village on the Tower Festival Headland with a free-to-use skating rink, magic forest, log cabins, artificial snowfalls, light installations and themed projection shows.

Alongside the village is the Star Flyer, Europe’s largest aerial ride and a short distance away is the Winter Gardens Wonderland with indoor and outdoor festive market stalls, virtual reality experiences, and funfair rides.

The Christmas programme is complemented by the extended Illuminations season which sees the famous lights shining every night until January 3.

There will also be a celebratory fireworks display that will take place late afternoon on the Tower Festival Headland on New Year’s Eve.

Parts of the Christmas season and fireworks display are weather-dependent. Check out the visitblackpool.com website for updates.

 

 

Blackpool Illuminations extended run is paying off for resort

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Early indicators show Blackpool’s decision to extend the Illuminations this year is paying off.

 

Public donations to the Lights and use of car parks have both increased, according to a council report, following the move to keep the display shining until January 3.

The report says: “Over the first two weeks of November (when the Illuminations would normally be switched off), parking patronage was almost double the level seen in the same period in 2019.

“The anecdotal evidence from accommodation businesses (both in the self-catering and serviced sectors) is that the high level of bookings over the remainder of this year has been fuelled by the extension of the Illuminations and greatly-enhanced Christmas offer.

Blackpool Illuminations

Blackpool Illuminations

“During those first two weeks of the extended Illuminations season, there was a significant increase in public donations at the collection points at the southern and northern gateways on the Promenade

“As a result, by mid-November, the total public donations had reached more than £105,000, ahead of the previous four years.”

The total (up to November 14) is £11,000 ahead of the same time last year, and compares to £102,000 collected in 2019 and £97,000 collected in 2018 (when the Illuminations only ran until the start of November).

Evidence of recovery is supported by think tank Centre For Cities whose research measuring high street footfall shows so far this year, Blackpool has the highest level of recovery in the UK at 114 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.

Work has also begun in anticipation of a £4.5m cash injection for the Illuminations being confirmed this month, according to the report going before the tourism, economy and communities scrutiny committee next Wednesday.

The funding is part of the Blackpool Town Deal with the business plan expected to secure government approval in December.

Investment will be made in new displays with talks already starting with boffins at Lancaster University about how new technology can be harnessed.

Apprentices will also be taken on and further specialist roles within the Illuminations team are being advertised.

New sponsors have also come on board this year, while the team has had commercial success supplying its expertise to other lights festivals.

It has put on Christmas displays for Chorley, Lytham, Lancaster and Morecambe and worked with the Duchy of Lancaster to light the Christmas tree in Lancaster Castle.

Future plans also include the possibiity of providing behind-the-scenes tours of the Illuminations Lightworks HQ.

 

 

Controversial SAS: Who Dares Wins star Ant Middleton ‘couldn’t resist’ trip to see Blackpool Illuminations

LancsLive - Latest news, sport, business and more from Lancashire

The SAS: Who Dares Wins star enjoyed a run around the lights while in town

 

Ant Middleton enjoyed a trip to Blackpool Illuminations
Ant Middleton enjoyed a trip to Blackpool Illuminations (Image: Ant Middleton/Facebook)

SAS: Who Dares Wins star Ant Middleton said he couldn’t resist a trip to Blackpool Illuminations after hosting a show in the town.

The adventurer and former soldier brought his Mind Over Muscle Tour to the Winter Gardens on Friday night and took the chance to explore the iconic attraction.

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While most enjoy the lights in a car, on a tram or during a light stroll, the best selling author took things one step further and enjoyed a run around the illuminations.

Afterwards, he took to Facebook to share a picture stood in front of the iconic Big One.

He captioned it: “Loved Blackpool last night…

“Great reception, great people and a great town! Had to get out after and run around for a bit… It’s the lights, I couldn’t resist!”

The Mind Over Muscle show was billed as bringing the ‘elements’ to the audience through lighting, sound and set to “recreate what mental strength it took behind the scenes for Ant to complete his recent SAS series and his huge Everest challenge”.

It also included Ant giving audience a ‘motivational journey of self-help and self-discovery’.

Ahead of the show, he said: “I am so excited to take my brand new show on the road. I want to bring my recent journeys to life and show how mental strength can help overcome huge challenges. The mind is stronger than muscle and I promise to take audiences on an incredible journey”

 

 

Traffic free days at Blackpool Illuminations suggested as part of town’s Climate Change Action Plan as COP26 makes pledges on net zero

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Traffic free days at Blackpool Illuminations is among  126 ideas put forward in a new strategy by the resort to help tackle climate change.

 

Piloting the move to reduce pollution from visitors to the Lights is among a raft of measures set out in the council’s Climate Change Action Plan which is due to go before the executive for approval on Monday (Nov 8).

Blackpool residents join climate assembly

Other proposals include exploring the possible development of a solar panel farm at the Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone to help the town produce its own renewable energy.

A solar panel farm is among the proposals in the plan

A solar panel farm is among the proposals in the plan

The report, which comes as world leaders meet at the COP26 summit in Glasgow to discuss climate change, warns it would cost £14bn to achieve the maximum possible reduction in carbon emissions of 68 per cent across the whole of Lancashire by 2030.

However it sets out actions which would give Blackpool “the best possible chance” of achieving a pledge by council leaders across the UK to reach a target of net zero emissions by 2045.

In her introduction to the action plan council leader Coun Lynn Williams says the challenge may seem “overwhelming”.

She adds: “It will take time, hard work, and we will all need to learn to change, but our effort now can transform the lives of future generations.”

Blackpool Illuminations

Blackpool Illuminations

Coun Williams pledges “this is not just another council plan, destined to languish unread at the bottom of a web page.

“It is a call to action. Together, we will re-make our town, society and planet, so that we will never again need to feel a pang of guilt as we consider our legacy.”

Blackpool’s low levels of car ownership with just 63 per cent of households owning a car, and strong public transport system with nearly a quarter of all tourism trips within the resort by public transport, put it in a good position.

Overall energy consumption is also lower than in other areas as there is no large scale manufacturing in the town.

Other actions set out in the strategy include –

Blackpool Transport to move to all electric vehicles by summer 2023

Explore options for early adoption of hydrogen refuelling and battery charging technology for aircraft at Blackpool Airport

Develop or adopt a low carbon/plant based food award scheme for participating restaurants, hotels and cafes

Collaberate with public and private sector organisations to help pilot renewable energy technology such as the Wyre tidal barrage

Double the commitment to plant 10,000 trees including on sites outside the borough where necessary

Liaise with the Lancashire Pension Fund to encourage moving away from investment in fossil fuels at a greater rate

 

 

Bid to site LED sign near Blackpool Illuminations thrown out

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Proposals for an LED advertising sign close to the point where Blackpool Illuminations begin in South Shore have been turned down by Blackpool Council.

 

Don Keady had submitted an application for planning permission on behalf of Fylde Coast Radio Station.

Approval was being sought for two back-to-back illuminated displays measuring 6.4 metres by 3.4 metres within the tram loop at Starr Gate which was previously occupied by a mini golf course.

But town hall planners refused the application using delegated powers with concerns including that the signs would be too close to nearby residential properties.

Planning document showing where the sign would have been place

Planning document showing where the sign would have been place

They ruled the signs would be “obtrusive” and have a “detrimental impact on the quality of the street scene.”

A planning report adds: “The site is within a highly traversed location; at a relatively large junction where the boundaries of Blackpool and Fylde meet and where the Blackpool Illuminations begin.

“As such, advertisements in this location would be highly visible and the visual impacts on the street scene would be particularly significant.

“It is understood that these elements are likely the very reason that the applicant desires a large advertisement in this location, however the

advertisement that is proposed does not take into account the wider context of the location and the potential negative impacts of the advertisements.”

 

 

Blackpool Illuminations £13m upgrade included in first Town Deal submission

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A £13m upgrade of Blackpool Illuminations which will see new light features built and the continued extension of the display until January is among the first three schemes set to receive funding from the resort’s £39.5m Town Deal.

 

Since the award of funding was announced in October last year, town hall chiefs have been compiling business cases for seven schemes which are each due to receive a share of the cash.

Town Deal cash reallocated to key Blackpool regeneration projects

The first three submissions cover plans for a £13.2m upgrade of the Illuminations which includes £4..5m from the Town Deal; £500,000 from the Town Deal for a Youth Hub, and £7.5m from the Town Deal towards infrastructure at the Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone.

Investment will be  made in Blackpool Illuminations

Investment will be made in Blackpool Illuminations

Appraisal of the schemes has now been completed and submitted to the Department of Levelling Up, Homes and Communities (formerly the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government) with the council expected to receive the funding by the end of the year.

A report setting out the Blackpool Illuminations submission says: “The overall aim of the project is to rejuvenate the Blackpool Illuminations as a means

to attract an increasing number of visitors to the town in the autumn and winter period, and extending the traditional Illuminations season by two months, from the current September to November season until January.

“This will be done by designing and creating a number of new centrepiece attractions over a five-year period and improving the lighting infrastructure and provision of essential equipment needed to deliver the illuminations in an efficient and sustainable manner.

“This project will support the famous Blackpool illuminations through modernisation and innovation.”

This year sees the Illuminations extended until January for the first time in its history, after last year’s proposed extended display was curtailed by lockdown.

The Blackpool Youth Hub aims “to support young people in the town to access jobs and training” by supporting the transition from school into employments.

It is hoped to provide a ‘one stop shop’ for young jobseekers aged 16 to 24 within a vacant town centre unit in the Bickerstaffe House council offices.

The project will run from April next year until September 2023, but it is hoped to begin a pilot scheme earlier if a bid for £444,000 from the Community Renewal Fund is successful.

Town deal funding of £7..5m is earmarked towards the £18m cost of new roads and infrastructure at the Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone.

Proposals include a new access point for traffic from the east of the site, with changes to Common Edge Road.

This will improve traffic flow and open up additional development space for new businesses.

The other four projects in the Town deal are £8m towards the relocation of the courts building to enable later phases of the Blackpool Central leisure development; £9m towards the development of a multiversity in the town centre; £5.5m for the Southern Quarter/Revoe community sports village, and £4.5m for The EDGE incubator business hub at Stanley Buildings on Church Street.

These are due to be submitted to the government in November, with payment of funds due next March.

 

 

Blackpool’s Illuminated Tram Parade cancelled due to bad weather as rain batters Lancashire

LancsLive - Latest news, sport, business and more from Lancashire

Recent forecasts have seen gusts of 45 mph in Blackpool meaning for safety reasons, organisers have cancelled the outdoor light event tonight

 

Illuminated Tram Parade is cancelled in Blackpool due to bad weather
Illuminated Tram Parade is cancelled in Blackpool due to bad weather

Recent stormy winds and heavy rain have forced organisers of the Blackpool Illuminated Tram Parade to cancel the event tonight.

To keep performers and guests safe, the team have taken the decision to cancel the outdoor element of the Blackpool Lightpool Festival.

Indoor events and installations set up around the seaside town are still accessible to the public.

Events such as Carnival Magic will be taking place in The Blackpool Tower Ballroom on October 28 for ticket holders as well as Silent Disco on The Fifth Floor in The Blackpool Tower on October 29.

Luma, the huge inflatable snail in the Winter Gardens, and 100 Local Lanterns in The Old Electric will still be available as they make their debut as part of the wonderful Light Art Trail across the town centre.

A spokesperson for Visit Blackpool said: “Unfortunately the weather is not being kind to us this evening with heavy rain and wind forecast.

“Due to this, many aspects of the Illuminated Tram Parade would not be able to go ahead and therefore we have taken the difficult decision to cancel the event this evening.

“We were looking forward to seeing our visitors and residents enjoying this free live performance in its full splendour.

“We are all enormously disappointed that we have had to make the unfortunate decision to cancel but the safety of our performers and visitors is our main priority.”

 

 

Lightpool Festival 2021: Here’s all you need to know about the Illuminated Tram Parade with international theatre street artists Spark! tomorrow night including times and road closures

Home | Blackpool Gazette

For one night only, visitors will be able to watch headline LED drummers Spark!, a unique and thrilling show that combines high-impact drumming, superb choreography and stunning lighting design, along with the illuminated tramcar parade featuring the battleship HMS Blackpool, the Fisherman’s Friend Trawler and the lottery funded Great Western Train

 

Spark! at the Illuminated Tram Parade at Lightpool Festival 2021
Pictures Martin Bostock

Spark! at the Illuminated Tram Parade at Lightpool Festival 2021 Pictures Martin Bostock

Back by popular demand, the Illuminated Tram Parade as part of Lightpool Festival returns on Wednesday October 27

What can visitors expect to see at the Illuminated Tram Parade?

Illuminated giant puppets, Lumidogs, magical lanterns and performers will also be joining the parade, adding a wow factor and showcasing content never seen before by audiences in Blackpool.

The parade will leave from Central Pier at around 5.30pm. Pictures Martin Bostock

The parade will leave from Central Pier at around 5.30pm. Pictures Martin Bostock

Lightpool Festival 2021 world-class art Installations illuminate Blackpool – tak…

The parade will visibly slow as it approaches The Blackpool Tower to give spectators an unmissable photo and video opportunity.

Is the parade free to watch?

The two-weeks of Lightpool Festival until October 30 are free to members of the public

The parade will leave from Central Pier at around 5.30pm. Pictures Martin Bostock

The parade will leave from Central Pier at around 5.30pm. Pictures Martin Bostock

What else is there to see as part of Lightpool Festival?

If you’re venturing around the Tower Headland be sure to experience the House of Cards exhibition, Aqualux and stay for the Tower Projections and light art trail after the parade.

What time does the parade start?

The parade will leave from Central Pier at around 5.30pm. The trams should leave for the tour from the Pleasure Beach stop at 5.15pm and should meet the other elements of the parade at Central Pier at 5.30pm, and then process to the Headland and pause for a picture and then the trams will depart for the rest of the tour.

Will there be any road closures?

There will be a road closure in place for this event: The Promenade will be closed to traffic from Chapel Street to Talbot Square in both directions from 4.30pm to 7.30pm

 

 

 

Blackpool Ride the Lights and firework display are back for winter

LancsLive - Latest news, sport, business and more from Lancashire

Two of Blackpool’s most popular events are returning for the festive season

 

Fireworks in Blackpool
Fireworks in Blackpool (Image: Gregg Wolstenholme Photography / VisitBlackpool)

Two of Blackpool’s most popular events are making a return for the festive season for the first time ever.

The annual Ride The Lights event, which usually takes place at the end of August ahead of the Illuminations Switch-On, will happen again later this year.

And for the new year, the resort is hosting a celebratory fireworks display for New Years Eve, taking place late afternoon on December 31.

The Ride The Lights Event gives cyclists of all ages a chance to cycle down a traffic-free promenade beneath the Blackpool Illuminations.

It will start at 4pm in the afternoon and finish at 8pm on December 5.

Those taking part are encouraged to decorate their bikes with colourful lights and lanterns to add to the festivities.

For the new year, the free fireworks display (December 31) will take place from the beach in front of The Blackpool Tower and is set to make a stunning finale to end the year.

The months of November and December are set to see the biggest line-up of Christmas entertainment the resort has seen in years.

Participants at a past 'Ride the lights' events riding a Blackpool Pleasure Beach log flume
Participants at a past ‘Ride the lights’ events riding a Blackpool Pleasure Beach log flume (Image: Visit Blackpool)

It comes after a £1m Council investment to renew the tourism economy in the seaside town.

Alongside the Illuminations, which will remain lit until January 3, Blackpool is also hosting an indoor festive market at the Winter Gardens, a Christmas By The Sea village on the Tower Festival Headland with a free-to-use synthetic skating rink, magic forest, log cabins, snowfalls and themed light projection shows.

The new attractions are accompanied by shows and pantomimes.

For the first time outside of London, the FriendsFestive exhibition will be celebrating the best seasonal moments from the hit TV show, Friends, set to run at the Winter Gardens from November 5 until November 19.

A VisitBlackpool spokesperson said: “We are delighted to be able to announce two more events to add to what is already a fantastic programme of entertainment over the winter period.

“The run-up to Christmas last year was an extremely difficult and challenging one for so many families due to COVID restrictions and lockdowns. This year, we wanted to create two occasions when people can come together and celebrate.

“By staging both events late afternoon, early evening, we hope it will give the whole family an opportunity to come out and enjoy the best of Blackpool.

 

 

Blackpool Illuminations extended with lights turned on for longer during half-term

LancsLive - Latest news, sport, business and more from Lancashire

The illuminations will stay lit for an extra hour throughout the half-term

 

The Blackpool Illuminations are getting an hour-long extension added at the end of the week as the resort prepares for one of its busiest weeks of the year.

The illuminations will be lit until midnight during the October half-term. The extension begins on Friday (October 22) and will remain in place until a week on Saturday (October 30).

As well as the illuminations, the resort will also be hosting a fourth fireworks event this Saturday (October 23).

The annual Lightpool Festival, that consists of light-based installations, projection shows and live performances, is also running every night until October 30.

A VisitBlackpool spokesperson said: “We are mindful that the resort will be extra-busy during the main October half-term holiday and this extension creates more time for people to enjoy the Illuminations and Lightpool Festival. For the duration of the festival, there are some spectacular additions to the main Illuminations display both on the Promenade and in the town centre including some never seen before in this country.

“We hope that many visitors will take the opportunity to park their cars and view the Illuminations and Lightpool installations and projection shows on foot or by tram.”

Visitors are also advised that part of Central Promenade (between Chapel Street and Talbot Square) will be closed to traffic between 4.30pm and 7pm on Wednesday, October 27

The Central Promenade closure is set to provide a viewing area for the annual Illuminated Tram Parade where visitors will be able to watch the battleship HMS Blackpool, the Fisherman’s Friend Trawler and the lottery-funded Great Western Train travel in convoy accompanied by the Spark! drummers.

The illuminations in all their glory
The illuminations in all their glory (Image: Handout)

There will also be illuminated giant puppets, Lumidogs, magical lanterns and carnival performers throughout the parade.

For those visiting the Illuminations on October 27, VisitBlackpool advise that the temporary road closure will not allow vehicles to drive along the route of the Blackpool Illuminations after 7pm.

For 2021, the Illuminations season has been extended until January 3, 2022.

 

 

 

Blackpool Illuminations set for huge upgrade as part of landmark Town Deal

LancsLive - Latest news, sport, business and more from Lancashire

Appraisal of the schemes has now been completed and submitted to the Department of Levelling Up, Homes and Communities

 

Fireworks as the illuminations are turned on
Fireworks as the illuminations are turned on (Image: Blackpool Council)

A £13m upgrade of Blackpool Illuminations which will see new light features built and the continued extension of the display until January is among the first three schemes set to receive funding from the resort’s £39.5m Town Deal.

Since the award of funding was announced in October last year, town hall chiefs have been compiling business cases for seven schemes which are each due to receive a share of the cash.

The first three submissions cover plans for a £13.2m upgrade of the Illuminations which includes £4..5m from the Town Deal; £500,000 from the Town Deal for a Youth Hub, and £7.5m from the Town Deal towards infrastructure at the Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone.

Appraisal of the schemes has now been completed and submitted to the Department of Levelling Up, Homes and Communities (formerly the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government) with the council expected to receive the funding by the end of the year.

A report setting out the Blackpool Illuminations submission says: “The overall aim of the project is to rejuvenate the Blackpool Illuminations as a means to attract an increasing number of visitors to the town in the autumn and winter period, and extending the traditional Illuminations season by two months, from the current September to November season until January.

“This will be done by designing and creating a number of new centrepiece attractions over a five-year period and improving the lighting infrastructure and provision of essential equipment needed to deliver the illuminations in an efficient and sustainable manner.

“This project will support the famous Blackpool illuminations through modernisation and innovation.”

This year sees the Illuminations extended until January for the first time in its history, after last year’s proposed extended display was curtailed by lockdown.

The lackpool Youth Hub aims “to support young people in the town to access jobs and training” by supporting the transition from school into employments.

It is hoped to provide a ‘one stop shop’ for young jobseekers aged 16 to 24 within a vacant town centre unit in the Bickerstaffe House council offices.

The project will run from April next year until September 2023, but it is hoped to begin a pilot scheme earlier if a bid for £444,000 from the Community Renewal Fund is successful.

Town deal funding of £7..5m is earmarked towards the £18m cost of new roads and infrastructure at the Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone.

Proposals include a new access point for traffic from the east of the site, with changes to Common Edge Road.

This will improve traffic flow and open up additional development space for new businesses.

The other four projects in the Town deal are £8m towards the relocation of the courts building to enable later phases of the Blackpool Central leisure development; £9m towards the development of a multiversity in the town centre; £5.5m for the Southern Quarter/Revoe community sports village, and £4.5m for The EDGE incubator business hub at Stanley Buildings on Church Street.

These are due to be submitted to the government in November, with payment of funds due next March.

Car enthusiasts flock to South Shore for massive Blackpool Illuminations convoy

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Hundreds of car enthusiasts flocked to South Shore as drivers revved their engines and showed off their prized wheels ahead of a spectacular ride along Blackpool Illuminations.

 

Customised cars packed into the Squire’s Gate retail park car park at around 7pm on Sunday night to take part in a convoy through the famous lights, which was organised by North West car club Extreme BHP.

The event sparked controversy, however, as many local residents said they had not been informed – and were alarmed by the sound of ‘screeching tyres, engines revving and cars backfiring’.

Blackpool Illuminations £13m upgrade included in first Town Deal submission
The event attracted hundredds of fans

The event attracted hundredds of fans

Blackpool council and police said they too had no idea about the gathering, which filled every parking bay in the retail area.

A spokesman for the council said the authority had reported the event to the police, as permission is needed for all large events taking place on public land, including the Promenade.

They said: “We were not advised in advance about this event taking place at the car park which is private land. However, we were subsequently made aware of activity on the Promenade and reported the event to the police.”

Blackpool South MP Scott Benton said he had spoken to the chief superintendent about the event after being contacted by a number of consituents, and was awaiting a response.

Cars gathered at Squire's Gate retail park on Sunday night

Cars gathered at Squire’s Gate retail park on Sunday night

He said: “I’m aware of the concerns of residents following the loud noise and disruption from a gathering of around 80 cars on the Squires Gate Industrial Park (Sunday) night.

“This was an organised gathering and these have happened before but the disruption to residents was far greater than usual. I have contacted the police to discuss how such noise and disruption to residents can be minimised in future.”

But Extreme BHP, which boasts more than 22,000 fans and organises car shows, track events, static meets, drag races and drifting events, all over the North West, defended the gathering.

A spokesman said: “We organised a drive through of the Illuminations, which we organise every year. We have had nothing but positive feedback from all who attended the convoy, our events are public so everyone knows about them… We’ve been running events for 13 years and have done 12 consecutive Illumination convoys. There mustn’t have been any complaints to the police at the time as they didn’t pop down.”

People took to social media to voice their concerns or support for the event.

Emma Dallas-Smith said: “It would’ve been nice to know in advance, as a local resident. My child has learning disabilities she was terrified with all the screeching of tyres, engines revving and cars backfiring. I could’ve prepared her for that had I of known in advance. Not to mention the dog also bring terrified, I could’ve given her, her medication which needs to be taken in advance of noisy events, had I of known this was taking place.”

Paul Nettleton said: “At the end of the day, the venue is too close to residential areas. Creating so much noise especially on a Sunday night when a lot of people have to get up for work the next day is completely thoughtless.”

He added: “A zero tolerance needs to be employed. These drivers just don’t care about the feelings of local residents.”

BHP Extreme member Rick Cross, said: “We all met on the car park to run a convoy through the lights, and then some went back afterwards I believe. Some of our staff team spent around 30 minutes picking up litter once the cars had left for the convoy, the majority of the litter not caused by us. The convoy started leaving at 7.45pm. And the last of it left the car park at 8.30pm. We try our best to make sure everybody behaves themselves, which from what we saw, they did.”

Wayne Wareing said: “It was organised and the cars were all in one place. Would you rather have popping, banging for a few hours or illegal ones with them racing round the streets to stupid o’clock? It’s on once every so often and doesn’t really go on that late. I think let them have their meets. Let them have their fun and keep it off the streets.

“It’s a bunch of people that have spent a lot of money on there cars and want other people to appreciate them. Believe me they wouldn’t want there cars damaging anymore than you not wanting to see it.”

 

 

Blackpool Illuminations switch-on concert to be shown on MTV this weekend

LancsLive - Latest news, sport, business and more from Lancashire

Live sets from KSI, Ella Henderson, The Wombats and Wes Nelson will features in the double-header programme

 

KSI arrives for the Blackpool Illuminations Switch-On
KSI arrives for the Blackpool Illuminations Switch-On

A concert which launched this year’s Blackpool Illuminations will be shown on MTV Music and MTV UK this weekend.

The show, which featured live sets from KSI, Ella Henderson, The Wombats and Wes Nelson, was filmed at Blackpool Tower Ballroom and will be screened today (Friday 15) and Saturday, November 16.

The first of the 30-minute programmes, MTV Live: KSI features the headline set from the UK artist while the second entitled MTV Live from Blackpool Switch-On will feature the Watford-born singer along with the other acts on the line-up.

The lights were officially switched on by Strictly Come Dancing judge Shirley Ballas at the event on September 3.

It is the first time the extravaganza has been staged at the world-famous ballroom, which recently underwent a £1m makeover.

Blackpool Tower comes alive as the illuminations are switched on

Blackpool Illuminations Switch-On 2021: 21 amazing photos from an electrifying evening

VisitBlackpool said: “We are thrilled that thanks to MTV, people will get another opportunity to see the best of our Illuminations Switch-On concert as well as the full set by KSI.

“Being able to stage a Switch-On concert in the Tower Ballroom meant we had the opportunity to create something really special – and MTV delivered a show that will go down as a unique moment in the long and proud history of the Illuminations.”

The illuminations have been extended for 2021 and will run until Monday, January 3 2022.

Screening times:

Friday, October 15 on MTV Music

MTV Live: KSI, 6pm

MTV Live from Blackpool Switch On, 6.30pm

Saturday, October 16 on MTV UK

MTV Live: KSI, 12pm

MTV Live from Blackpool Switch On, 12.30pm

 

 

Blackpool’s Mirror Ball project has been held up by weather but will be finished soon, says council

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Repairs to Blackpool’s much-loved Mirror Ball have still not been completed almost a year after it was removed for renovations.

 

But Blackpool Council insists the final stage of the South Promenade project has only been temporarily delayed because strong winds and rain have made working conditions impossible and a halt had to be called for health and safety reasons.

And the authority says the work will be completed as soon as there is a suitable window in the weather.

With a section of tiles still missing from the ball, one resident said it currently looks like a “half-tiled bathroom”.

A section of tiles on the Mirror Ball still needs completing

A section of tiles on the Mirror Ball still needs completing

However, a Blackpool Council spokesman said: “The final section of work requires the use of a cherry picker and the recent weather has made that task unsafe.

“We cannot have workmen at risk which the the weather continues to be so windy.

“We know the Mirror Ball is loved by residents and they can rest assured that the entire project is set for completion as soon as possible.”

The huge six metres diameter glitter ball, reputed to be the largest in the world, was taken down in November last year for a full refurbishment.

The Mirror Ball project will be completed soon, says Blackpool Council

The Mirror Ball project will be completed soon, says Blackpool Council

The £80,000 project has involved removing and replacing 47,000 mirror tiles and used 1,000 tubes of tile adhesive, with the work originally being carried out by partners including the council’s own Illuminations team at the Lightworks and students from Blackpool and the Fylde College.

It was expected that the art work, which rotates and lights up, would be returned to the promenade in the summer after approximately six months’ work – but the project fell behind schedule.

And last month Blackpool Council said it had needed to bring in an outside firm, Mirror Finish NW, to put things right and completely retile it.

Andy Farrell, owner of Thornton-based Mirror Finish NW , whose team was brought in around late June, said: “It is very frustrating because the weather is very changeable.

The Frankenstein Project has deteriorated badly

The Frankenstein Project has deteriorated badly

“I’m a local lad and I have wanted to work on the Mirror Ball project for years – nobody wants it to be completed more than me, I’m really proud to be involved.

“But we’ve had a situation in the last few weeks where the wind can change from being six miles per hour to 26 miles per hour within just a few minutes.

“When the cherry picker is swaying from side to side and we have a person us there trying to tile the ball, that isn’t good and we just can’t put someone at risk light that.

“We’ve been told there is a window in the weather next week and we’re confident we can get the final part of the work finished soon.”

The Mirror Ball was created by artist Michael Trainor, who was inspired by and named the work after the 1969 Hollywood film They Shoot Horses Don’t They, which features a large mirror ball.

It was originally installed in 2002 as one of a series of commissioned artworks known as The Great Promenade Show and last refurbished in 2010.

But there have been complaints from some residents that the art works have not been maintained.

Blackpool resident Craig Elwell told the Gazette: “The glitter ball was supposed to be being refurbished yet it currently looks like a half tiled bathroom, it no longer rotates and it’s missing all the lights that used to illuminate it. It’s such a shame.

“Presently the whole South Promenade looks tired and forgotten and is a shadow of the former promenade art walk it used to be.”

One of the most prominent works is Frankenstein, created by artist Tony Stallard and created from a diver’s decompression chamber, which currently looks rusty and untidy.

But the Blackpool Council spokesman said: ” We are aware of the situation and will be sending information out about that.”

 

 

Blackpool Lightpool Festival 2021: Best walking route, live show dates and times, and where to park

LancsLive - Latest news, sport, business and more from Lancashire

The stunning light festival returns with 16 days of free shows and art installations

 

Blackpool Lightpool Festival
An installation at the Blackpool Lightpool Festival (Image: Andy Torkington)

The Blackpool Lightpool festival is back and it’s bigger and better than ever for 2021.

From October 15 to 30, a whopping 16 new installations will wow visitors to the seaside town, keen to immerse themselves in artistic light installations and shows – alongside the illuminations already shining bright.

To enjoy the event at its best, most stunning potential, it is recommend to walk through the installations, where possible.

From the best route to take to where to park up before you walk the lights, we’ve put together a handy guide for people planning a visit to Blackpool in October.

What is the best route to walk?

Lumidogs at the Blackpool Lightpool Festival
Lumidogs at the Blackpool Lightpool Festival (Image: Blackpool Lightpool Festival)

We suggest you start at either Springfield Road, close to Blackpool North train station and make your way down to Bickerstaffe Square, or the same route in reverse, if you prefer.

The full route is approximately four-miles long and will take in all installations at locations including Blackpool Central Promenade, Blackpool Tower, Grundy Art Gallery, Tower Festival Headland, the Comedy Carpet, Winter Gardens and St John’s Church.

It should take around an hour and a half in total to walk to every area of the event, so allow plenty more time on top of that to enjoy each installation once you get there – just think of your step count!

Please be aware that some installations, such as one-off shows and those involving live performances will be limited to set times and dates.

Here’s a route suggestion you could take on your visit to the festival, if you are keen to seethe ART TRAIL installations, which run from Monday, October 18 to Saturday, October 30, 6pm-10pm:

Stop one: The Old Electric Springfield Road – 100 Local Lanterns created and crafted in a series of workshops will be on display in The Old Electric, forming a community exhibition.

Stop two: Abingdon Street – the Big Bird sculpture is new for this year’s light-fest.

Stop three: St John’s Church – Watch as the church is reclaimed by nature . in a large-scale projection.

Stop four: Grundy Art Gallery – check out exterior projection, the Blackpool Light of My Life.

Stop five: Winter Gardens – you’ll find a number of installations here, including And Then I Slipped, Power The Tower, 500 at

Pavilion Theatre.

Stop six: Houndshill Shopping Centre – The White Tiger roars into Blackpool.

Stop seven: Comedy Carpet -Tower Projectionsget taken in by the 3D projections as they light up the Blackpool Tower building, where you can also experience Astral Dreams project, as part of the Blackpool Illuminations programme.

Stop eight: Tower Festival Headland/Blackpool Tower – Walk through the Spiro light tunnel and you can also experience Aqualux,co-friendly light feature and there will also be an illuminated truck on selected days

Stop nine: Adelaide Street West -Stop and wonder at Lasertonic, which uses sound and colour to transform its surroundings.

Stop 10: Central Promenade – multi-sensory display House of Cards,

Stop 11: Bickerstaffe Square – stroll through the Digital Playground, complete with oversized robotic flowers as you move around.

For more information and the full Lightpool programme for 2021, click here.

Blackpool Lightpool Festival 2021
Blackpool Lightpool Festival 2021 (Image: Gregg-Wolstenholme)

What live performances are there to see?

Besides the art trail, there’s a plethora of live action shows and experiences to soak in during the festival’s 166-day programme.

Symphony of Light @ Olympia, Winter Gardens, Friday, October 22, 7pm–9:30pm

A experience with music, lasers, artwork and immersive lighting effects. Shows every 30 minutes.

World Fireworks Championship Blackpool @ Tower Festival Headland, Saturday, October 23, 8.30pm

The finale of the fireworks championships featuring a celebratory display by Titanium Fireworks.

Illuminated Tram Parade Featuring Spark! @ Central Promenade, Wednesday, October 27, 5.30pm

For one night only, the illuminated tram parade features a battleship, trawler and Great Western train travelling in convoy, joined by the high-impact drumming and superb choreography of the Spark! LED drummers, Lumidogs and a cast of illuminated giant puppets.

Global Grooves Carnival @ The Blackpool Tower Ballroom, Thursday, October 28, 6pm and 8pm

A menagerie of carnival characters will hit the Blackpool Tower Ballroom floor for an electrifying performance of music, puppetry and dance.

Silent Disco @ The Blackpool Tower Fifth Floor, Friday, October 29, 7pm-9.30pm,

Suitable for all ages, the Silent Disco will have three different music choices playing continuously throughout the night.

The Nixies of Oakpool by The Electric Sunshine Project (Springfield Road), October, 27, 28, 29, 6.30pm and 7.30pm

A spellbinding, interactive story using animation, puppetry, lights and music to retell how the Illuminations were originated.

Blackpool Lightpool Carnival of Light tunnel
Blackpool Lightpool Carnival of Light 2019

Where is best to park?

There will be limited parking along the seafront.

Visitors are urged to use the park and ride facility at Blackpool Airport, which is also open at weekends and peak times.

Find out more parking options here.

Nixies of Oakpool at the Blackpool Lightpool Festival
Nixies of Oakpool at the Blackpool Lightpool Festival (Image: Blackpool Lightpool Festival)

Are there public toilets?

There’s a number of pay-to-enter toilets.

This includes between Festival House and the Information Centre at the North Pier, Central Car Park, Bispham tram stop and on the South Shore near the Solaris Building.

Shoppers can use lavatories at Houndshill Shopping Centre food court, marks and Spencer and the Winter gardens complex

 

 

Native American gives the real reason he thinks Blackpool Illuminations design should change

LancsLive - Latest news, sport, business and more from Lancashire

NHS Manager and author Anthony Perry says he is trying to ‘fix something that is wrong’

 

The 'Wild West' themed display in Blackpool
The ‘Wild West’ themed display in Blackpool

A member of the Native American community in the UK has spoken out about his reasons for taking issue with a ‘Wild West’ tableau at Blackpool Illuminations.

NHS Manager and author Anthony Perry grew up in Oklahoma, USA and moved to the UK 18 years ago.

He now lives in Exeter with his wife and two children and is a citizen of the Chickasaw nation.

Last week, he wrote to Blackpool councillors regarding a ‘Wild West’ tableau that had been on display at Blackpool Illuminations since the 1960s.

It was discovered by a Canadian friend of his, also a Native American, after going on the Visit Blackpool website to plan a trip. Located just north of the promenade, the lights depict men in war headdresses dancing around a totem pole surrounded by cacti.

In his letter, Anthony expressed that he was dismayed to see stereotypical Native people’s dancing which he feels have long been caricatured, often in the name of ‘honouring’ them.

“Caricatures such as these reinforce racial stereotypes of Native Americans being primitive people who have no place in modern society,” said Anthony.

“There is a long history of attempts to erase our culture, redefine our history and assimilate us with Euro-centric ideals. These attempts continue to this day in North America and abroad. Much of it is so insidious that those who do it don’t even know, and some believe that what they’re doing honours people like me.

“Sometimes, it’s very much treated as ‘these are the ways we’re going to celebrate you so just accept it’.”

In his letter, Anthony referenced the discovery by indigenous peoples across Canada and North America of 751 unmarked graves at Marieval Indian Residential School in June and 251 graves at Kamloops Indian Residential School in May.

Residential schools, he stated, were but one part of the strategy to erase Native American histories and identities.

Many Native families, including Anthony’s, have relatives who stayed in residential schools or know others who did, with several still in operation as recently as the late 1990s.

Anthony added: “Research has shown that caricatures like these have harmed Native youth by lowering self-esteem and increasing depression and rates of self-harm and substance abuse.

Tony Perry, NHS Manager and Author, who wrote to Blackpool councillors about 'Wild West' tableau
Tony Perry, NHS Manager and Author, who wrote to Blackpool councillors about ‘Wild West’ tableau (Image: Chickasaw Press – Chickasaw Nation)

“Geographically that particular tableau is all over the place too. You have stereotypes of Native Americans depicted with cacti, which are more associated with the South West, and totem poles which are typically associated with the Pacific North West.

“It’d be like casually putting together Germans, English, the Spanish perhaps with a Celtic cross, it just doesn’t fit right!

“It’s the fact that on Visit Blackpool’s website, this was the main image to advertise Blackpool Illuminations and acted as the ‘draw’.

“It does little to promote Blackpool as a welcoming community.”

There have been constructive discussions with Blackpool Council about options for the tableau, revealing that there is a possibility of future government funding for Blackpool Illuminations.

This may provide the perfect opportunity to have a new tableau that truly represents the culture.

Anthony has suggested that a new light display be created using Native American artists which he knows will do a great job.

He said: “I want to turn this into a positive thing and have something which represents out culture fantastically.

“Frankly, a lot of people in the UK do not know anything about Native Americans and why should they? It is hard enough raising these issues in America!

“But Native people have played a part in British history and close to Blackpool itself.”

“Several warriors from my own tribe passed through nearby Preston with an English regiment in the Jacobite Rebellion in 1745. These caricatures just fail to recognise that we aren’t people of the past; we have endured, despite the odds, we persist and we thrive. We also are among the migrants who have found a home in global Britain.

“This isn’t about being ‘woke’ and I’m not doing it just because I’m bored. Trust me, I have a very busy life! I’m not out to ‘take down’ Blackpool Illuminations or the town either. I’m just trying to fix something that is wrong. For me, this is just about recognising that Native American people are still here. We want to be treated in the same way as black and other minority people with same respect and representation.”

Anthony has written a book called Chula the Fox and others which explores his tribal connections and life for ancestors.

 

Blackpool Lightpool Festival 2021 – what’s on, venues and dates

LancsLive - Latest news, sport, business and more from Lancashire

The stunning light festival returns with 16 days of free shows and art installations

 

Illuminated tram parade
Illuminated tram parade (Image: Martin Bostock Photography)

The Lightpool festival returns to Blackpool for 2021, and its bigger than ever.

The free 16-night programme will run from October 15 to 30 and will feature a blend of art installations, 3D projections and live shows.

“We have a total of 27 artworks, some of which have never been seen in this country before,” Phil said.

“Along with the return of tried and tested favourites such as the illuminated tram parade, larger-than-life carnival characters, the Spark! LED drummers and new outdoor projection shows, it promises to be the most magical two weeks imaginable”.

We’ve put together must-see highlights of the light festival coming to the seafront and beyond, below.

Blackpool Lightpool Festival
An installation at the Blackpool Lightpool Festival (Image: Andy Torkington)

Art trail

Monday, October 18 to Saturday, October 30, 6pm-10pm (apart from Luma which is only October 27-30)

House of Cards @Central Promenade

This is an outdoor multi-sensory display that collapses and rebuilds itself in front of you and has already wowed audiences in Amsterdam, Berlin, Bucharest and Milan.

It consists of 128 LED light boxes in the form of playing cards, programmed to choreography.

Aqualux @ Tower Festival Headland

An eco-friendly light feature to showcase the importance of water and preserving it.

In addition, on selected days, an illuminated Peterbilt truck will tour the streets of Blackpool with Aqualux on-board..

Spiro @ Tower Festival Headland

Walk through this stunning light tunnel, which spans 26 metres and has individually-mapped LEDs

Tower Projections @ Comedy Carpet

Get taken in by the 3D projections as they light up the Blackpool Tower building, where you can also experience Astral Dreams project, as part of the Blackpool Illuminations programme.

Digital Playground @ Bickerstaffe Square

Walk through this forest installation, complete with oversized robotic flowers and as you move around, the sculpture will subtly change in mood and appearance. Cool, eh?

And Then I Slipped @ Winter Gardens

New for 2021, lurk under the shimmering waterfall lights and see where it takes you.

Luma @ Winter Gardens

Luma is a eight-metre long, robotic inflatable snail – but don’t worry, she’s welcome band gentle and loves crowds.

Lumidogs at the Blackpool Lightpool Festival
Lumidogs at the Blackpool Lightpool Festival (Image: Blackpool Lightpool Festival)

Power the Tower @ Winter Gardens

Get on a bike and have a go at pedalling hard enough to power to light up the Blackpool Tower model.

500 @Pavilion Theatre, Winter Gardens

At 500, four of Blackpool’s entertainment venues are showcased.

The Nature Take Over @ St John’s Church

Watch as the church is reclaimed by nature as large vines, flowers, fruit, fungus and creatures take over the church exterior. This large-scale projection shows bold and colourful hand-drawn animations as they dance and sweep over the building’s surface, synchronised to music.

Blackpool Light of My Life @ Grundy Art Gallery

Check out this art installation by the internationally recognised artist, Chila Kumari Singh Burman.

After high-profile projects for Tate Britain and Covent Garden in London, the artist has now turned her sights to Blackpool and the exterior of the town’s Grade II listed Grundy Art Gallery.

Blackpool Lightpool Festival 2021
Blackpool Lightpool Festival 2021 (Image: Gregg-Wolstenholme)

White Tiger @ Houndshill Shopping Centre

The White Tiger roars into Blackpool. The car was originally created to celebrate the launch of the critically-acclaimed film The White Tiger, which is based on the New York Times bestseller and 2008 Man Booker Prize-winning novel of the same name.

Big Bird @ Abingdon Street

Another new addition for 2021, this 3.5 metre-high pigeon sculpture is made out of the parts of 10 London taxis and illuminated by the Blackpool Illuminations team.

Lasertonic @ Adelaide Street West

Joining Big Bird for the first time at this year’s festival, this laser projection uses sound and colour to transform its surroundings.

100 Local Lanterns @ The Old Electric, Springfield Road

Beautiful lanterns created and crafted in a series of workshops will be on display in The Old Electric, forming a community exhibition.

Live performances (various dates and venues)

Nixies of Oakpool at the Blackpool Lightpool Festival
Nixies of Oakpool at the Blackpool Lightpool Festival (Image: Blackpool Lightpool Festival)

Symphony of Light @ Olympia, Winter Gardens, Friday, October 22, 7pm–9:30pm

A experience with music, lasers, artwork and immersive lighting effects. Shows every 30 minutes.

World Fireworks Championship Blackpool @ Tower Festival Headland, Saturday, October 23, 8.30pm

The finale of the fireworks championships featuring a celebratory display by Titanium Fireworks.

Illuminated Tram Parade Featuring Spark! @ Central Promenade, Wednesday, October 27, 5.30pm

For one night only, the illuminated tram parade features a battleship, trawler and Great Western train travelling in convoy, joined by the high-impact drumming and superb choreography of the Spark! LED drummers, Lumidogs and a cast of illuminated giant puppets.

Global Grooves Carnival @ The Blackpool Tower Ballroom, Thursday, October 28, 6pm and 8pm

A menagerie of carnival characters will hit the Blackpool Tower Ballroom floor for an electrifying performance of music, puppetry and dance.

Silent Disco @ The Blackpool Tower Fifth Floor, Friday, October 29, 7pm-9.30pm,

Suitable for all ages, the Silent Disco will have three different music choices playing continuously throughout the night.

The Nixies of Oakpool by The Electric Sunshine Project (Springfield Road), October, 27, 28, 29, 6.30pm and 7.30pm

A spellbinding, interactive story using animation, puppetry, lights and music to retell how the Illuminations were originated.

‘Red Indian’ lights display “paints Blackpool as a community that supports racism and discrimination”

Home | Blackpool Gazette

The six decade reign of a Blackpool Illuminations lights display may come to an end next year following a serious conversation about racism and the problems of  culturally offensive caricatures.

 

Blackpool Council defended the resort’s inclusion of allegedly racist imagery in its famous Illuminations following complaints from a member of the Chickasaw Nation, living in England.

The offending tableau, located north of Blackpool Promenade near the junction of Cavendish Road, Bispham, depicts six axe-wielding Native Americans in war bonnets dancing around a totem pole. The man said it reinforced racial stereotypes.

A council spokesman said the lights were ‘were designed and created many years ago and intended to be a celebration of different cultures’ – but added that their continued use in upcoming years would be addressed.

Picture by Dan Martino

Picture by Dan Martino

In a letter shared with The Gazette, the Chickasaw Nation man, who met with council bosses yesterday to discuss the lights, said: “Caricatures such as these reinforce racial stereotypes of Native Americans as being primitive people who have no place in modern society. Research has shown that caricatures like these have harmed Native youth by lowering self-esteem and increasing depression and rates of self-harm and substance abuse. It has also increased discrimination against Native students.”

He added: “This is not the approach I would expect from a community whose Council unanimously supported a resolution to ‘confirm support for the anti-racist aims of Black Lives Matter and other anti-racism campaigns.’. Between now and January 2022, the night sky of Blackpool will beam a very different message until this exhibit is removed or concealed.

“Showing – let alone promoting – such illuminations also does little to promote Blackpool as a welcoming community. Instead, it paints Blackpool as a community that supports racism and discrimination. It doesn’t reflect the difficult conversations and changing societal values on race that we’ve seen since the Black Lives Matter protests that sparked your resolution. Worse still, these illuminations are seen by hundreds of thousands of people each year, which means that they spread stereotypes to other communities in the UK and beyond.

“Finally, it shows limited awareness of the contributions that Native people have played in British history. In fact, several warriors from my own tribe, the Chickasaw Nation, passed through nearby Preston with an English regiment in the Jacobite Rebellion in 1745. It also fails to recognise that we aren’t people of the past; we have endured, despite the odds, we persist and we thrive. We also are among the migrants who have found a home in global Britain.

The tableau which has been criticised for perpetuating racial stereotypes

The tableau which has been criticised for perpetuating racial stereotypes

“I would not expect such an exhibit to stand if it contained caricatures of Black, Asian or other peoples of colour; nor should it stand if it contains caricatures of the first peoples of the United States and Canada.”

Stereotypical portrayals of Native Americans and Canadians, historically a popular choice of mascot for sports teams, have been phased out in recent years following criticism from anti-racism campaigners.

Last year, Exeter Chiefs axed their culturally offensive ‘Big Chief’ mascot, replacing it with a hawk called Tom.

Numerous American football and baseball teams also rebranded themselves. In July 2020, the Washington Redskins team was renamed the Washington Football Team following years of protests over the name, which is a derogatory term for Native Americans. Five months later, the Cleveland Indians team followed suit and was renamed the Cleveland Guardians.

Picture by Dan Martino

Picture by Dan Martino

In 2006 the Texas-based Midwestern State University Indians became the Mustangs to ‘eliminate the potential for a hostile or abusive environment’. In 2007 the University of Illinois dropped its ‘Chief Illiniwek’ logo and mascot, and in 2008 the Arkansas State University changed its mascot from an axe-wielding ‘Indian’ to a red wolf.

Councillor Tony Williams, who was among a long list of councillors to be contacted, said: “Some of these displays go back to the 60s when attitudes and perspectives were much different and the writer has raised some valid points.

“Several Western-themed films have been banned in the US for the very reasons stated. Whilst in themselves the displays may not be offensive they certainly portray a distorted view of Native Americans and their culture.”

A Blackpool Council spokesman said: “Our officers have been in constructive discussion with two people of Native American origin who raised concerns about the tableau.

“We have explained the background to the historic elements of the Illuminations display and assured them that these were designed and created many years ago and intended to be a celebration of different cultures. Both have accepted that assurance.

“The Illuminations are one of the UK’s most enduring family attractions and we would never do anything intended to cause offence. We will, as a matter of course, take on board the comments received and review which features are appropriate for inclusion in next year’s display. We have also agreed to explore options for a new tableau that celebrates native American culture with input from the network based in the UK.”

Criticism of the ‘red Indian’ stereotype

Popular criticism of Native American caricatures dates all the way back to the 1960s, the same decade the Illuminations display was first put on show. Indigenous peoples and their supporters increasingly objected to the stereotypes, which they found offensive.

Arguments continue to be made about the use of Native American and Canadian cultures as a source of entertainment. Chieftains were once popular choices for sports team mascots, while ‘Red Indian’ themed Halloween costumes can still be purchased in some fancy dress shops.

These things, activists say, perpetuate harmful ethnic stereotypes about Native Americans, portraying them either as fierce warriors or ‘noble savages’.

Professor Phillip Deloria, of the Arab American National Museum, said: “After colonisation and conquest of American Indian people was complete, the older stereotypes of Indian stereotypes and violence really gave way to the much more placid, friendly kind of stereotypes about Indians being natural primitives. And that primitive kind of Indian was no longer savage but had all kinds of virtues that people wanted to appropriate and adopt for themselves.

“There’s a new kind of savagery. It’s no longer the savagery of being an Indian who’s out on the frontier who will kill you, it’s the savagery of being contaminated by modern society. Those old Indians who would scalp you at a moment’s notice give way to a new Indian savage who is the drunk in the street, who has been corrupted by American society.”

He added: “You can see a stereotype taking shape as a big cultural ideology – a set of expectations about what Indian people or other people are going to do, how they’re going to behave, how they live their lives. That makes its way into the cultural infrastructure that just seeps its way into all of our minds and our hearts and our souls. It’s an ideology.”

 

 

Blackpool Illuminations Switch-On 2021: 21 amazing photos from an electrifying evening

LancsLive - Latest news, sport, business and more from Lancashire

KSI entertained crowds from inside Blackpool Tower Ballroom while Strictly Come Dancing head judge Shirley Ballas officially switched on the bright lights for 2021

Blackpool Tower comes alive as the illuminations are switched on

Blackpool Tower comes alive as the illuminations are switched on (Image: VisitBlackpool)

Blackpool Illuminations have been switched back on much to the delight of tens of thousands of people watching on from the resort’s streets and seafront.

Crowds gathered outside Blackpool Tower last night (September 3) for the switch on of the 2021 illuminations.

To mark the event, a ticketed event took place within the Tower Ballroom with KSI, The Wombats, Ella Henderson and Wes Nelson taking to the stage to entertain a 1,500-strong crowd.

“I’m very happy to be here,” KSI said.

“The heart of England – Blackpool.”

Strictly Come Dancing head judge Shirley Ballas was given the honour of turning the lights on and described it as a ‘dream come true’.

Shirley said: “I have been coming to Blackpool since I was a child and have seen the iconic Illuminations so many times over the years. I am thrilled and honoured to have been able to switch on the 2021 display and to be a part of the first Switch-On event in this wonderful ballroom. It‘s a dream come true.”

A VisitBlackpool spokesperson said: “We are thrilled that Shirley was able to grace our Switch-On stage in the magnificent setting of the Tower Ballroom. It is a moment we will all treasure.”

The live stream including the Switch-On moment and the music performances will be available to view free of charge throughout the weekend until 9.30pm on Sunday, (September 5) here.

This year’s Blackpool Illuminations will run until Monday, January 3, 2022.

For a re-cap of the switch-on, see our live blog here.

Otherwise, enjoy the below pictures from an amazing event for Blackpool and Lancashire:

Fireworks as the illuminations are turned on
Fireworks as the illuminations are turned on

 

(Image: Blackpool Council)1 of 21

Strictly star Shirley Ballas lights up Blackpool and the world as she pulls the lever to launch 2021’s Illuminations

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Showbiz queen Shirley Ballas put on a flawless performance as she flicked the switch to launch another dazzling Illuminations season.

 

During her yearly trip to the Tower Ballroom, where she runs the rule over celebrities on Strictly Come Dancing, the 60-year-old head judge is usually working her magic from the shadows.

But tonight, in front of a 1,500-strong crowd, she took centre stage – and the spotlight – in a black and silver glistening strapless top and cigarette trousers and heels to pull the lever and light up the Tower and Golden Mile until early next year.

Shirley said that, despite visiting the resort for dancing contests since the age of seven, including a festival win at 18, doing the honours shortly before 9pm was a highlight trip.

Loading video

“It’s bigger than Strictly,” she laughed.

“It’s just an iconic moment in an iconic ballroom and I’m just thrilled to be a part of it.

“Never could I have imagined all those years ago, dancing in this magnificent ballroom, the greatest in the world, I would one day be switching on the Lights.

“It’s just wonderful.”
The Queen of Latin and Strictly Come Dancing head judge Shirley Ballas, who found success in Blackpool as a young dancer in the '80s, flicked the switch on the Illuminations on the evening of Friday, September 3, 2021 inside the Tower Ballroom (Picture: Darren Nelson)

The Queen of Latin and Strictly Come Dancing head judge Shirley Ballas, who found success in Blackpool as a young dancer in the ’80s, flicked the switch on the Illuminations on the evening of Friday, September 3, 2021 inside the Tower Ballroom (Picture: Darren Nelson)

Those inside the 127-year-old venue, transformed into a concert hall with two stages to host the Switch-On for the first time, earlier watched musical performances from multiple-platinum selling Ella Henderson, Reading Festival headlining indie band The Wombats, and former Love Island and Dancing On Ice contestant Wes Nelson.

Ella, 25, who shot to fame after finishing sixth on The X Factor in 2012 and signing a record deal that saw her release number one album Chapter One, said she was overjoyed to be performing again – after spending lockdown writing new music at a piano.

She said: “I remember coming to Blackpool with my friend for a dance competition when we were around seven.

“We had a great time, visiting the Pleasure Beach, getting up the Tower, but we stayed in this little hotel and we ended up getting stuck in the lift!

“I’m hoping it’s not going to happen to me this time.”

Wes, 23, who signed a solo record deal with EMI Records last year ahead of his first single See Nobody featuring Hardy Caprio, told The Gazette stepping into the Ballroom for his first live performance was overwhelming but exciting.

“I came to Blackpool a few times when I was small,” he said.

“I had some great times on the dodgems and in the arcades.

“Now to be part of the Illuminations… that’s just massive.

“I’m so grateful to be here.”

Television and radio presenter Becca Dudley hosted the proceedings, which were beamed around the world via VisitBlackpool and MTV’s YouTube channel, while KSI, a quasi-celeb who turned a hobby filming videos in his bedroom into a career as a boxer and singer, also performed.

The YouTuber, whose real name is Olajide Olayinka Williams ‘JJ’ Olatunji, thanked the “wild” crowd for its welcome, adding: “It’s getting hot in here… insane.”

Families, couples, friends, and holidaymakers were among the ticket holders, who applied for their free places in a ballot.

Lucy Alcorn, 22, from Clayton-le-Moors near Accrington in east Lancashire, said: “My first time at the Switch-On was when I was 14 and I’ve been lucky to get tickets for every one since.

“It’s always such a great night.”

Lucy travelled to the resort with sister duo Sam and Kath Sharpe.

Sam said: “It’s such a buzz. The Tower is great.”

Jordan Brooke from the West Midlands was enjoying a dance with her three children Mia, seven, Esme, five, and Noah, four, and said the ceremony was a treat for the youngsters.

She said: “It’s their first time at the Illuminations so we feel really lucky to be here.”

Christina Grantham, her partner Christopher Nicholson, and her two daughters Amy and Mia Storey, from Blackpool, said they couldn’t believe their luck after winning tickets.

“We moved here 18 months ago and [because of the pandemic] Blackpool was dead,” Christina said.

“What a way to experience it properly for the first time than at the Illuminations.

“We’re having a great time.”

Millions of visitors – as well as plenty of locals – will drive, walk, cycle, jog, and be taken on landau rides below the glowing bulbs that straddle the Promenade until Monday, January 3, 2022, with the annual display extended over Christmas and New Year for the first time.

Only the pandemic scuppered efforts to do the same last season.

The Illuminations also feature a number of other firsts.

They include a nightly laser show called Astral Dreams.

Designed by local man Jack Irvings, it will be projected onto the Tower.

Household favourite Laurence Llewelyn Bowen will also show off a water feature called Venus Remixed at South Beach.

The Changing Rooms star, who is the Lights’s creative chief, said: “This year, perhaps more than any other year, switching on Blackpool’s Illuminations marks an important moment of brightness as the country moves into autumn and winter.

“Turning the Lights on has always inspired an optimism and positivity of which Blackpool is understandably proud.”

Tower boss Kate McShane said: “We will never get another opportunity like this.

“It’s been a fantastic season and we want to end the year on a high.

“The spirit, tenacity, and resilience of people here has really shone through and this is the perfect antidote for the end of 2020.”