Blackpool’s Back! Switch-On Success

5 September 2014

The 2014 Blackpool Illuminations Switch-On Festival Weekend has been given a resounding thumbs-up.

Featuring huge stars like Peter Kay, Little Mix and Pixie Lott, last weekend’s seafront spectacular earned rave reviews from the vast majority of those in attendance. 

Businesses too have been reporting positive trends with many hotels being fully booked throughout the three day event.

And now an analysis of the coverage of the event and the build up to it shows the coverage – based on buying a similar amount of advertising – was worth an estimated three quarters of a million pounds with this figure still rising.*

This included daily coverage from media partner Rock FM and the Bauer network, national and regional television coverage, numerous national newspaper reports and a wide range of reports on some of the most viewed websites in the world.

The Switch-On Festival Weekend began with Britain’s most popular comedian, Peter Kay, switching on the Lights after a star-studded night of entertainment featuring some of the most popular names in British music.

Superstar girl band, Little Mix, headlined the Friday night concert with support coming from Texas, Pixie Lott, Union J, Neon Jungle, George Ezra and Matt Cardle amongst others.

Rock FM’s Hywel and Jamie, oversaw the festivities while the first ever Switch-On Food Festival ran throughout the day on Blackpool Promenade.

Fireworks launched from the top of The Blackpool Tower as the lights turned on the Golden Mile and along the length of the town’s famous Promenade.

The Friday night celebrations were then followed up two top quality nights of family shows on the Saturday and Sunday evenings.

Saturday’s West End themed show included performances from the cast of Thriller Live, Dirty Dancing – The Classic Show on Stage, Chicago, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Jon Lee of S Club 7 fame and friends performing songs from the Jersey Boys and Leanne Jones, star of Hairspray. Each of the acts wowed the crowd with their repertoire of familiar musical tunes.

Sunday’s show, meanwhile, featured a number of top nineties acts including Atomic Kitten, Liberty X, 911 and Damage before Rebecca Ferguson headlined the show and brought the three day festival to a close.

Councillor Graham Cain, Blackpool Council cabinet member for tourism and leisure said: “As always the incredible PR value that switch-on generates alone – from the weeks and days of pre-event coverage to the newspaper, radio and TV coverage of the weekend – makes the investment more than worth it.

“Based on buying equivalent advertising, we estimate that value to be worth around three quarters of a million pounds.

“That’s an incredible boost for Blackpool’s tourism industry and just what we need.

“When you couple that with bringing a world class show like Mamma Mia! to Blackpool, the new Blackpool’s Back advertising campaign which has been so successful, the arrival of Illuminasia and the quality of our existing attractions, it really has been a very good year for the town on the tourism front.

“We hope the three day event will become an integral part of Blackpool’s calendar for years to come and the work to plan for another fantastic show for next year will start soon.”



*The estimate on the value of coverage is calculated by compiling all coverage of the Switch-On event, both in the run up to the event and post-event and comparing the comparative value of advertising in the equivalent spaces with the same prominence. This includes all TV, radio and online coverage from the likes of BBC, major national newspapers and newspaper websites. Further coverage is expected in monthly magazines and in other areas so the estimate could potentially rise

VisitBlackpool is the tourism arm of Blackpool Council and is tasked with promoting the UK's most popular holiday destination to leisure and business visitors, both domestically and internationally.

Blackpool’s Back

Merlin Entertainments – which runs a host of attractions in the town including The Blackpool Tower, Madame Tussauds and Sea Life – together with Visit Blackpool, are driving the exciting family-focused awareness campaign to re-energise the iconic seaside resort.

The initiative #Blackpoolsback aims to challenge any negative perceptions of the resort, by reminding families of everything Blackpool has to offer.  This includes an unrivalled concentration of world-class family attractions, an award-winning beach as well as a summer packed with exciting events.

Bauer Media Group

Bauer Media UK reaches more than 20 million UK consumers every week through a portfolio of world-class, multi-platform media and entertainment brands including Kiss, heat, Grazia and Empire. It creates and curates entertaining media content that audiences love whenever, wherever and however they want through a multi-channel strategy and a focus on product excellence and audience insight.  The result is an exciting array of influential brands, content and talent which provide compelling and engaging advertising opportunities with valuable audiences for UK commercial partners.  Bauer Media UK is part of the Bauer Media Group, one of the world’s largest privately owned media businesses with media assets all over the globe.


Blackpool Illuminations

  • Blackpool Illuminations will shine nightly from Friday 29 August to Sunday 9 November
  • Blackpool Illuminations attracts more than three million visitors to the resort each year
  • The Illuminations display stretches for more than five miles
  • Blackpool’s first electric lighting was in 1879 when just eight Siemens arc lamps illuminated the Promenade.  The effect was described by Victorian visitors as ‘artificial sunshine’.
  • The Illuminations cost £2.4 million to stage
  • The Lights are credited to the pumping of more than £275 million into the local economy

The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) is making a real difference to people and businesses in the Northwest. With €755 million to invest between 2007 and 2013, ERDF is enhancing the competitiveness of the region’s economy by supporting growth in enterprise and employment. ERDF in the Northwest is managed by the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA). For further information please visit

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