Swindon’s first virtual Christmas light switch on to honour NHS & Emergency Services

By Anita Jaynes on 23 September, 2020

inSwindon BID are making final preparations for their first virtual Christmas Light Switch-On taking place online on Saturday 3rd October, from 6-7pm. The virtual Christmas Light Switch On which will launch their new festive campaign for 2020 – Swindon’s Illumina.   

inSwindon BID announced the transformation of the traditional Christmas Light Switch-On into a free-to-access live streamed event back in August and confirmed that the new campaign aims to drive footfall safely into the town centre in support of all businesses through visual, virtual and digital experiences across the festive season. 

Swindon’s first Virtual Christmas Light Switch-On will take place online via their Facebook page, @inSwindon, on Saturday 3rd October, from 6pm-7pm and this year will feature an exclusive projection and lighting show which celebrates Swindon as a community and recognises the amazing work of Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, emergency services and keyworkers throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust will also feature across the show with a special message from CEO, Kevin McNamara and video from staff. 

Acting BID Manager, Anita Bellinger said, “To us, paying tribute to the tireless work of our NHS Trust, emergency services and keyworkers is so important this year. The annual Christmas Light Switch On attracts up to 10,000 visitors to the town centre each year. Sadly, due to the social distancing restrictions arising from Covid-19 it can’t go ahead in its usual format. Taking the event online means more people can enjoy the show safely from the comfort of their own homes and experience the Christmas lights and other elements within the campaign at their own leisure, throughout the season.”

The virtual Switch-On will be hosted by BBC Radio Wiltshire’s Ben Prater alongside a fun-loving host from Children’s Entertainers ‘Totally Crazy’ who’ll be bringing the fun for viewers at home with a festive activity for the kids.  

inSwindon BID are continuing to release their line-up of entertainment which so far includes: 

  • Just for Boys, from Swindon Dance, who created a dynamic routine performed throughout the building demonstrating just how contagious dance can be!
  • Jenny Bracey, with a voice that rocks you, and a guitar to boot, will be preforming a medley of originals and covers in her own style. 
  • Billy & Louie, a local pop-duo who will be appearing later this month on the BBC’s new series ‘Little Mix: The Search’. They have performed at venues up and down the UK, as well as releasing four singles and a Christmas song which they will be performing on the night. 
  • Phoebe Maddison, who has appeared on ITV’s The Voice Kids with pop star Pixie Lott and has gone on to receive an esteemed British Citizen Youth Award for her inspirational charity work, as well as winning ‘West End Calling’, where she performed to her largest audience of 80,000!
  • PQA Swindon, who have created a special performance with their students aged 3-17years, in support of the event for 2020. 
  • The UK’s freshest Hip Hop Reggae Ska Energy Collective, The Tribe, will be performing some of their original hits for viewers throughout the online event. Their high energy performances saw them through 11 performances over 9 stages at Glastonbury Festival, making them a festival favourite, popular with audiences of all ages. 

Anita Bellinger added, “There really is something for everyone and we hope the community will tune in safely with family and friends and enjoy the show, as well as supporting the acts and groups that have come together as part of the event. We still have a few more surprises to reveal, so stay tuned.”

Viewers will also be able to enjoy an exclusive aerial hoop performance from Josie Ellis, who will be performing to a unique version of ‘Carol Of The Bells’, by LOrchesta Cinematique, following a special message from Mayor of Swindon, Cllr Gary Perkins and inSwindon BID. 

Of course, it wouldn’t be Christmas without that special appearance from Santa and his Chief Elf, Buddy McJingles, who will be sending a very important message this year, as well as teaching an interactive routine to the kids at home that they will be asked to perform with the Hosts, later on in the live show. There is also the chance to win a £50 voucher for The Entertainer, for which details will be announced later this week via the BID’s website. 

inSwindon BID are also asking viewers to get involved at home by donning their Christmas jumpers, onesies and all, as well as lighting up their homes or sitting rooms to support the event. Viewers will then be asked to send their pictures live on the night via the comments on the Facebook stream, to be in with a chance of winning one of two shopping vouchers of £50 and £100 to spend across the town centre this Christmas. 

This year’s Switch-On moment will take place with a group of local NHS Heroes, nominated by The Great Western Hospital’s NHS Trust, followed by the exclusive lighting and projection show as the Christmas lights illuminate Swindon town centre. 

And there’s more – from 1st November, as part of Swindon’s Illumina 2020, visitors will also be able to enjoy a ‘Luminary Business Trail’, which will see a variety of stars illuminate windows across the town centre as part of the visual campaign, plus a Virtual Christmas Market’ will also take place via the BID’s social media channels to promote businesses across the town centre to visitors looking for their all-important gifts and seasonal shopping and will feature a selection of competitions. 

For all the latest information across Swindon’s Illumina and the virtual Christmas Light Switch-On, visit www.swindontowncentre.co.uk or social media channels, @inSwindon