The festive season is officially here as Leeds prepares for the big Lights Switch On at Victoria Gardens…
Every year, Victoria Gardens is transformed into a festive wonderland as folk take to the streets for the Leeds Christmas Lights Switch On – and 2019 will be no different. This year, they’ve enlisted the help of our local sporting heroes to kick off Christmas in style, with loads of entertainment planned from 6:45pm on Thursday 7th November 2019.
The honour of hitting the switch goes to Leeds United. Current first-team stars will be joined by members of the ladies’ team and club legends on stage as the club continues its centenary celebrations throughout 2019. It’s set to be a huge season for the Whites as they chase the long-awaited promotion back to the Premier League, led by manager Marcelo Bielsa.
Local lad and central midfielder Kalvin Phillips told us, “As a local lad it’s an honour to be involved in the Leeds Lights celebration along with my teammates. The lights switch on is always a special night for the people of Leeds and it leaves the city looking amazing for Christmas – there is no better place to be than round here during the festive period.”
Before the team lights up Leeds, the fun kicks off with your hosts, Radio Aire breakfast show presenters Ant and Katy, who’ll introduce the evening’s guests and they’ve got some big names in attendance. You’ll get to hear from the Lord of Mayor of Leeds, Eileen Taylor, and the city’s new Children’s Mayor, Wania Ahmad, who will talk about raising awareness of and tackling mental health for children in the classroom.
As always, you can look forward to a host of top music performances too. The X Factor winners Rak-Su will headline and show off their smooth r&b sounds from their self-titled debut EP and 2019’s follow-up ‘Rome’. You can also see Katherine Picar on stage. She will add to the Christmas spirit by performing the festive classic ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ ahead of starring as Princess Ariana in the annual Carriageworks pantomime, Sleeping Beauty, which opens on Friday 22nd November 2019.
Pop opera pioneers G4 will also be joining in the fun at the Christmas Lights Switch On. The legendary group will play a handful of Christmas classics to warm up the crowds before their forthcoming festive concert at Leeds Town Hall later on in November. “It’s a huge thrill to be a part of this annual festive celebration in the heart of my new home town of Leeds,” G4 lead singer Jonathan Ansell said. “It’s magical how the city transforms into a Christmassy wonderland with so many happy faces right into the distance all eager to see the switch on.”
There’s more music courtesy of a duo of young stars – Sophie Littlejohns is the 2019 Breeze Has Talent winner and will perform a few of the hits that won her that accolade. She’ll be joined by BBC’s Pitch Battle star Hannah Slavin who will play her debut single ‘I Am A Mess’. The little ones will get to see CBeebies presenters Alex Winters and Evie Pickerell in person as they have a festive sing-along with two elf performers.
There’s loads going on around Victoria Gardens in addition to the on-stage entertainment too. Funfair rides and attractions will once again line Cookridge Street with loads for the little ones to have a go on, and there will be a massive fireworks display to end the evening in style.
Leeds Light Switch On, from 6:45 on Thursday 7th November 2019 at Victoria Gardens on The Headrow. It’s free to attend. Note that Cookridge Street, Alexander Street, The Headrow, Upper Basinghall Street, Park Row, Calverley Street, Park Square and St Paul’s Place will be closed to traffic.Feature image copyright Sarah Zagni.