The Blackpool Illuminations are set to be extended to the end of the year in a bid to give a much-needed boost to the North West tourism industry.
As a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic having a detrimental effect on seaside town’s tourism industry, the 2020 Blackpool Illuminations event will be extended by two months and will run right through until the new year.
Visit Blackpool has also confirmed that the switch-on concert will be replaced for the first time in 70 years.
Instead of welcoming around 20,000 people to watch the switch-on live, the event will be streamed for free in association with MTV this year.
Gillian Campbell, cabinet member for tourism and culture at Blackpool Council, said she was aware of how much the tourism industry was suffering amid the pandemic and hopes this extension will give them “an opportunity to bring in some additional trade”.
She continued: “The annual Switch-On event is the biggest night in Blackpool’s events calendar.”
“Sadly, it is simply not possible to stage an event of that scale given the current restrictions around social distancing and mass gatherings, however, it would be unthinkable not to launch our Blackpool Illuminations season with an extraordinary event.”
“Staging the first ever virtual Switch-On concert to a mass audience watching from home does exactly that.”
“We are planning for a safe, socially distanced Illuminations experience and will be keeping all government health guidance under review as we move towards the autumn season.”
The hour-long switch on concert is to be hosted by Diversity’s Ashley and Jordan Banjo and will include performances from inside the Blackpool Tower Ballroom, as well as some pre-recorded at-home performances.
The full star-studded line up for the concert will be confirmed in the coming weeks.
Ashley Banjo, who has helped choreograph and performed with Diversity at live switch on events over the past four years, said: “Jordan and I are delighted to be hosting Blackpool’s virtual Switch-On. Blackpool is very much our second home and we cannot wait to return to the resort to host what will be an amazing experience that people will be able to watch, wherever they are.”
Blackpool Illuminations will take place this year between 4th September 2020 – 3rd January 2021.
You can keep up to date via the Visit Blackpool website here.
Police warn criminals ‘don’t bother’ attending Parklife after already making arrest
Greater Manchester Police have said that criminals shouldn’t ‘bother’ coming to Parklife festival this weekend, after already making an arrest at the festival site.
Officers have been carrying out searches of people arriving on site this week – and have already arrested a 24-year-old man.
A quantity of pills and a knife were both recovered from the man, who has been arrested on suspicion of possession of Class A drugs and possession of a bladed article.
After the arrest, Superintendent Phil Spurgeon issued a statement to criminals, saying ‘don’t bother coming to Parklife’.
He said: “We have a really robust police and partnership community safety operation for the festival, and the arrest and seizure yesterday demonstrates the vigilance of security staff, our thorough search procedures and our commitment to keeping people safe.
“Make no mistake, illegal items such as weapons and drugs can have fatal consequences. Our top priority this weekend is keeping people safe, and anyone caught trying to take such items into the festival will be robustly dealt with.
“I hope the genuine festival-goers are excited for the fantastic weekend ahead and I am confident the majority will enjoy the event responsibly and safely.”
Greater Manchester Police and Parklife security staff will be working closely together to intercept anyone travelling to the festival with criminal intentions.
The arrest on 8 June was thanks to the festival’s drug detection dogs.
In a formal statement addressing the situation, the city‘s flagship further education institution says some of its systems have been accessed by an “unauthorised party” and that data has “likely been copied” as a result of this.
The University’s in-house experts are said to be “working around the clock” to resolve the issue.
External support teams are also said to be working in collaboration with the University to understand what data has been accessed.
Patrick Hackett – Registrar, Secretary, and Chief Operating Officer at the University of Manchester – explained in a statement issued this morning: “Regrettably, I have to share with you the news that the University is the victim of a cyber incident, [as] it has been confirmed that some of our systems have been accessed by an unauthorised party and data have likely been copied.
“Our in-house experts and established expert external support are working around the clock to resolve this incident, and we are working to understand what data has been accessed”.
Mr Hackett said he understands the nature of the issue will “cause concern to members of our community”, and says the University is “very sorry for this”.
The University says it is also working with relevant authorities – including the Information Commissioner’s Office, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), the National Crime Agency, and other regulatory bodies – to resolve the issue, and will provide information to those affected as soon as they are able to.
Students and staff are also be told to be vigilant to any suspicious phishing emails within the coming days – with the University’s IT Services team having published some relevant advice to refer to.