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A couple of weeks ago Rob and I were given free tickets to the Blackpool Ifest Illuminations Switch on! I was thrilled to go because:

  1. It was a free night out
  2. Eating chips at the seaside is one of the purest British pleasures
  3. Mr Tim Burton was switching the lights on!

I am a big Tim Burton fan, seriously, move aside Christopher Nolan, Batman Returns has my top spot for best Batman movie! So I was excited to get to see one of my favourite creators in real life!

I was a little worried about getting in to the arena because the letter that came with the wristbands said that entry was on a first come, first serve basis and people may be denied entry after 7pm if the venue was full. I also thought that traffic and parking might be problematic.

Rob and I both arranged to finish work early that day to give us plenty of time to get there. Surprisingly we got there in no time and the traffic in Blackpool was amazingly clear and easy going. We managed to get a space in a carpark that was a two minute walk to the tower…although we did have to pay £9 for parking! Guess you can’t have everything!

We got to the arena at around 6pm, and although the place was busy we ended up just to the left of the front of the stage. We were near enough the exit to not feel hemmed in and close enough to the stage to have a good view of all the acts.

As for the acts themselves…well they were a bit hit and miss with me, but to be fair I am not someone who gets excited about live music. Rob, thinks this is because I haven’t seen any great musicians perform live – I think it is more down to general gig awkwardness – all that standing, head bopping, feeling anxious about being supportive of the band whilst not looking like an idiot….is that just me?

Anyway back to the acts, there were quite a few from previous runs of The Voice, X Factor or Britain’s Got Talent that I failed to recognise as I don’t follow those programmes! Lawson were very good and the the night seemed to shift up a gear when they came on stage. They had a great presence and songs that I actually knew and liked! People were also very excited to see Professor Green but he had some crackling mic issues which was a shame.

It tried to rain a couple of times during the evening, but it was mostly dry and when it did rain Rob and I were in our Ember and Earth rain jackets so it didn’t effect us at all. In fact a couple of people came up to me to say they liked my jacket – which made me feel very cool, despite not recognising half of the acts!

In fact the parts I enjoyed the most were Lawson, seeing Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen and the cast of the Full Monty do their thing! (Don’t worry – it still managed to stay PG and was pretty hilarious!) Oh and of course seeing Tim Burton complete with giant lobster claw glove for turning on the lights was pretty cool.

I think if we went next year I would be tempted to go on later in the evening, get some food first and then try our luck at slipping in to the arena for the switch on. The better performances tended to be towards the end of the night and although the crowds swelled at certain times I don’t think anyone was actually turned away.

We managed to meet some friends in the crowd and once the lights were on, we headed out on to the promenade to admire the illuminations. We were also ready for a snack and sit down on the beach. There is nothing like eating fresh hot donuts at the seaside at night! Magical!