Blue announced as headliners for Blackpool Illuminations Switch-on night

Blue have been announced as headliners for the Blackpool Illuminations Switch-On concert.

The band - Antony Costa, Duncan James, Lee Ryan and Simon Webbe - will perform at The Blackpool Tower Ballroom on Friday 2 September ahead of a major arena tour and the release of their new album, Heart & Soul on 9 September.

They will be joined at the concert by singer-songwriter Tom Grennan, with more talent to be announced over the coming weeks, along with the celebrity who will pull the famous switch to trigger four months of Illuminations.

Blue have sold 16 million records and have scored multiple number one hits.

They have collaborated with some of the world’s biggest music stars including Elton John and Stevie Wonder, received numerous accolades including two BRIT awards and represented the UK in Eurovision.

Earlier this year, they announced 12 dates around the UK in December for their 20-year anniversary tour including Manchester and Liverpool.

Blackpool illuminations Credit: PA Images

This year’s Switch-On concert will feature live music performances in the ballroom with an audience made up of more than 2,000 winners of a free-to-enter ballot.

The concert and Switch-On moment will be live streamed to a global audience across MTV and VisitBlackpool channels, and event organisers are also exploring the possibility of streaming the event to an outdoor audience on the Tower Festival Headland.

Credit: PA Images

A VisitBlackpool spokesperson said: “We are thrilled to announce that Blue will be part of this year’s Switch-On concert line-up.

“They are one of the most successful and best-loved bands this country has seen over the past 20 years and we cannot wait to see them perform in the iconic Blackpool Tower Ballroom.”

The annual Blackpool Illuminations Switch-On event, one of the biggest in Blackpool’s calendar, moved indoors during 2020 and 2021 due to pandemic restrictions, but has proved so successful that it is being repeated for a third successive year – although this time with a full-capacity audience in the ballroom.

Last year’s Switch-On celebration saw Shirley Ballas, head judge of BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, pull the famous switch, watched by a worldwide audience with more than 160,000 views from as far afield as Australia, Canada and the United States.

Full details of more of the acts that will perform at this year’s event will be revealed over the coming weeks along with the identity of the Switch-On star.

There is still time to enter the ballot for free tickets. The ballot, with an initial allocation of 2,000 tickets to be split equally between Blackpool residents and visitors, will close on 1 July. There is a maximum of four tickets per person.

Listen to ITV News' entertainment podcast, Unscripted: