The festive season is officially here as Leeds prepares for the big Christmas 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 2018 will be no different. This year, they’ve enlisted the help of a local sporting hero to kick off Christmas in style, with loads of entertainment planned from 6:45pm on Thursday 8th November 2018.
The honour of hitting the switch goes to world boxing champion and local lad Josh Warrington. The Rookwood-raised fighter is one of the world’s top boxers, as he proved by beating Lee Selby at Elland Road in the summer for the IBF Featherweight Title. He’s now preparing for one of British boxing’s biggest fights of the year as he defends his championship against Carl Frampton in Manchester in December, but he’s taking a short break from training to help his hometown kick off the festive season.
Warrington told us, “I’m a very proud Leeds lad and this year has already been a fantastic year for me, making history for the city and becoming Leeds’s first male World Champion. It’s going to be an absolute pleasure to be turning on the Christmas lights and getting everyone into the spirit of Christmas.”
Before he lights up Leeds, the fun kicks off with your hosts, Radio Aire breakfast show presenters Ant and Caroline, 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 and the city’s new Children’s Mayor, Rio Abbott, as well as from members of the New Zealand and England rugby league teams ahead of their Elland Road game later this month.
Local lad and Britain’s Got Talent finalist Micky P Kerr will perform a set of hilarious tunes including a brand new song he’s penned about the Christmas lights. He’s looking forward to it too, “I’m dead chuffed to be asked to perform in front of the home crowd at the Christmas Lights switch on. This will be the biggest busking gig of my life!”
You can see 2017 X Factor finalist Kevin Davy White, who returns to the city after wowing crowds on the show’s tour at First Direct Arena earlier in the year with his unique brand of heartfelt blues, rock and soul. Local indie quartet Victors will also run through a couple of their tunes, fresh from appearances on This Morning and Hollyoaks.
There’s more music courtesy of a duo of young stars – Frankie Bounds is the 2018 Breeze Has Talent winner and 16-year-old Emeli Mumford will perform ‘Dear Santa’, a new Christmas song she has written and co-produced to raise money for Save the Children. The little ones will get to see CBeebies presenters Alex Winters and Katy Ashworth in person as they have a festive sing-along with panto favourite Jez Edwards, who’s set to perform in this year’s production of Beauty and the Beast at Carriageworks.
There’s loads going 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 6:45pm on Thursday 8th November 2018 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 for a period.Feature image copyright Sarah Zagni.