This year’s Leeds Christmas Lights switch-on is set to be an absolute knock-out when world champion Josh Warrington presses the button and get the festive season officially underway.
Leeds-born Josh, the current IBF world champion, will be joined onstage at Victoria Gardens by Britain’s Got Talent’s Micky P Kerr and 2017 X Factor finalist Kevin Davy White on the evening of November 8 for this year’s spectacular Leeds Christmas Lights Switch-on.
Josh, who became the first male world boxing champion from Leeds at Elland Road earlier this year and who’s film ‘Fighting for the City’ premiered at the official launch of the Leeds International Film Festival in Leeds Town Hall last night, said: “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’ 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 .
“Obviously for myself, I’m preparing for December 22 and can promise that for those coming with me, I’ll be giving Leeds an early Christmas present by defending my title.”
As part of a show-stopping evening of entertainment, comedian Micky, also from Leeds, will perform some of his live musical comedy including a specially penned song and sing-along about the Christmas lights.
He said: "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!"
Singer songwriter Kevin Davy White, a finalist in last year’s X Factor will also be performing a number of popular songs for an expected crowd of thousands.
He said: “I can’t wait to play at Leeds Christmas Light Switch On! I’ll never forget the welcoming I had on the X Factor tour when I played in Leeds and I look forward to being back in Leeds at one of the biggest events in the city!”
Hosted by new radio media partner Radio Aire breakfast show presenters Ant and Caroline, the annual seasonal showpiece takes place in front of Leeds Art Gallery on Thursday, November 8 with entertainment starting from 6.45pm.
Cbeebies favourites Alex Winters and Katy Ashworth will entertain the crowds with a festive singalong along with panto favourite Jez Edwards, who will be appearing as Phillipe Philoppe in Beauty and the Beast at the Carriageworks Theatre from Friday, November 23.
Also appearing at the event and opening the show will be Leeds based indie pop four-piece VICTORS who have previously performed on This Morning and Hollyoaks, 2018 Breeze has Talent winner Frankie Bounds along with representatives from the New Zealand and England Rugby League squads ahead of the upcoming international game at Elland Road in November.
Lord Mayor of Leeds Cllr Graham Latty will be on hand along with the new Children’s Mayor – 11 year old Rio Abbott from Grange Farm Primary school, whose winning manifesto aims to raise awareness of and tackle racism.
There will also be a very special performance by Emeli Mumford, 16, from Prince Henry's School in Otley, who has written and co-produced an original Christmas song called ‘Dear Santa’, in aid of the charity Save the Children.
She has recorded the song with the Dear Santa Choir, a group of 37 children she recruited by herself. They recorded the song at Eiger Studios in Leeds. ‘Dear Santa’ will be officially released on December 1, 2018.
Other attractions on the night will include fun fair rides along Cookridge Street, street food concessions with entertainment culminating in the big switch-on of one of the UK's largest displays of city centre festive illuminations and spectacular fireworks.
A raised accessible viewing platform will be available for disabled persons with access from Victoria Gardens via the ramp approach to the Art Gallery. Due to space limitations access to the platform will be on a first come first served basis and will be restricted to one companion only. For further details please contact the events team at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0113 378 6988.
Radio Aire Breakfast Presenter Ant Arthur added: “We are really proud to be the official media partner for this year’s Leeds Christmas Light Switch on and Christkindlemarkt with Leeds City Council.
“It’s brilliant to have such incredible events in our amazing city and for free! Me and Caroline can’t wait to host the stage for what is sure to be a brilliant variety of entertainment.”
As part of the lights switch-on, the following road closures will also be in place on the night along with other traffic management measures.
-Headrow (Oxford Place to Albion Street): 6pm to 8.45pm
-Cookridge Street (Headrow to St Annes Street): from 1pm
-Calverley Street (Headrow to Gt George Street): 8pm to 8.30pm
The Leeds Light switch-on marks the official start of the city’s ‘Make it Leeds’ this Christmas campaign which will feature a number of special events and activities including the annual Christkindelmarkt on Millennium Square which starts on Friday November 9 from 10.30am.