THIS year’s Christmas lights switch on has been deemed a success by organisers with an estimated record of 10,000 people joining in the festivities in the city centre on Wednesday.
British music sensation Conor Maynard, famous for his hit songs ‘R U Crazy’ and ‘Turn Around’, headlined this year’s popular event in Broadgate, which was hosted by Free Radio presenters JD and Roisin, and he was joined by plenty of special guests.
X Factor contestant Ben Clark also performed and Coventry talent was also well represented with ska band Ruder Than U, dance group Freeman Dance and the Local Vocals children’s choir, all entertaining the crowds.
A host of activities took place with local sports teams Coventry City, Coventry Blaze, Coventry Rugby Club and Wasps all playing their part.
“The city’s Lights Switch On event is very important to the city centre, it gives a vibrant feeling to the area as well as giving visitors and local people the chance to see some fantastic entertainment for free,” said Neal Ashby, from the Coventry Business Improvement District (BID), who organised the event alongside Coventry City Council.
“The businesses work hard to prepare for Christmas and the switch on really is an important time of the year for them as this night also marks the first Christmas late night shopping.
“Our initial feedback is that the event was record breaking in terms of attendees and started off a really busy period for the retailers with the Christmas Market also starting on the 2 December in Broadgate.”
The annual switch on is a highlight in the city’s event calendar and brings a big benefit to city centre traders.
Key shopping destinations West Orchards Shopping Centre and the Lower Precinct also played their part in the feel-good factor by switching their centre lights on.
“Christmas is clearly a key trading period in the year and we want to help where we can to encourage people into the city centre to shop and enjoy their time here as well,” said Councillor Kevin Maton, Cabinet Member for Business, Enterprise and Employment.
“Events like this are key in helping attract people to the city centre and to stay longer when they do visit.
“By linking with the Coventry BID on events such as this, we can show the benefits of not only putting on a great Christmas event for all the family to enjoy, but it helps the city commercially.”