Town all set for Christmas lights switch on
Organisers say Barnstaple’s event will go ahead despite the weather.
Latest at 4pm: Light switch on still to go ahead despite the weather. Any changes will be updated so keep checking back and follow us on Twitter @Northdevon24
ORGANISERS of Barnstaple’s annual Christmas Light Switch-On event say this year’s spectacle has the making of being the best yet – despite the wind and rain.
While tonight’s (Thursday) Plymouth switch-on has been cancelled due to the forecast of gales, organisers of the Barnstaple event say the show will go on regardless.
Town centre manager Craig Bulley told the Gazette: “We are clearly keeping an eye on the forecast and public safety will be paramount but as we stand, all is going ahead as planned.”
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Barnstaple has set itself a tough act to follow with a top billing of entertainment in the form of Joss Stone, The Saturdays, Noisettes, Newton Faulkner and Dionne Bromfield in recent years.
And tonight, the town is set to be the envy of South West towns and cities once more when the ‘Queen of British Soul’ Beverley Knight takes to the stage on the Square.
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The singer will turn on the Christmas lights at approximately 6.25pm before performing some of her best-known hits.
Noted for her staggering live performances which have gained her a legion of fans from David Bowie to Prince, and Take That to Jamiroquai, Beverley has been one of the UK’s most consistent artists of the past 15 years, selling more than a million albums in the UK.
She has been awarded an MBE for her services to British music and for her charity work and has won three MOBOs. Beverly has also been nominated for three Brit Awards, and the prestigious Mercury Music Prize twice.
Beverley recently wowed an estimated television audience of one billion with an outstanding rendition of the song, I Am What I Am at the London 2012 Paralympics opening ceremony.
This year’s switch-on, organised by Barnstaple Town Centre Management and BID Barnstaple, has been switched from a Sunday to a Thursday at the request of retailers, who it is hoped will benefit from what is certain to be a huge footfall in the town.
The music begins at 4pm with popular local musician, Steve Ley, who recently starred on the BBC3 series Tourettes: Let Me Entertain You.
Steve will be followed by the charismatic Breaks Collective and Friends, before a performance by a capella singing group, Semi Toned from Exeter University. Mama Stones House Band, featuring Leigh Coleman, will take to the stage at 5.30pm to get the feet tapping in readiness for Beverley.
When the show has finished on The Square, the party atmosphere will continue as a Samba Sol lead the crowds up the High Street to the Pannier Market where the party carries on with live music from iFunk and the odd surprise or two.
The Christmas light switch-on event, and the majority of all the Christmas lighting in the town and street entertainment right up until Christmas, is made possible by BID Barnstaple in partnership with Barnstaple Town Centre Management.
Dane Stanley, chairman of BID Barnstaple, said: “Once again Barnstaple has set the bar high for others to try and follow, delivering what we think will be one of the best light switch-on events in the South West.
“Beverley Knight is going to be a huge draw as she is a class act and appeals to such a wide age range – we are very excited about her appearance on stage and we just know the crowds will love her and give her a really warm welcome.
“Barnstaple will be aglow with Christmas lights and street entertainment and we are looking forward to showing what our town can offer to shoppers and visitors from across the region.”