Lancashire

Blackpool Illuminations switch-on to be free event again

Gary Barlow stepped in at the last minute to perform at the switch-on Image copyright PA
Image caption Gary Barlow stepped in at the last minute to perform at the switch-on

Blackpool's illuminations switch-on is to revert back to being a free event.

Last year was the first time visitors were charged, paying £34 a ticket for the concert, which saw Gary Barlow step in after The Script withdrew.

The organisers had introduced a fee in the hope of making the event profitable within five years, but the two-day event lost them £372,000.

It led to the scrapping of Marketing Blackpool, set up to improve tourism and part-funded by the council.

This year's event will be a weekend festival on the resort's Headland and will be screened on the promenade.

Blackpool Council said it hoped sponsors and "media partners" would foot the bill.

TV presenter Jonathan Ross flicked the switch to turn on Blackpool illuminations at the end of August.

The Script were due to play at the concert but withdrew citing a "serious family illness".

Barlow then stepped in and asked organisers to make an undisclosed donation to Children in Need.

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