A fabulous festive appeal has gone out to families, residents and communities all across Leeds calling on them to be part of the city’s first ever virtual Christmas lights switch-on.
Leeds City Council is asking people to submit video clips and images of their Christmas light displays at home so they can feature in a dazzling digital montage that will be the climax of an exciting online event next month.
Held virtually for the first time in its history, the 2020 Leeds Christmas Lights switch-on will also see performances from panto and theatre stars along with messages from local sporting celebrities and the Lord Mayor of Leeds.
Previous years have seen crowds gather on Victoria Gardens for the annual festive showpiece which officially kicks off the countdown to Christmas.
But current social distancing requirements and restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 have meant that the council’s events team have had to come up with creative ways to ensure thousands of people can still come together and celebrate the season safely.
Taking place on November 15, the finale of this year’s free, hour-long virtual switch-on could include footage and pictures of people in Leeds switching on lights on their tree, house or street.
The finished video will be set to a very special performance of Light up the Sky by local brother pop / rock band The Dunwells.
Lead vocalist Joe Dunwell said: “Since the start of lockdown we have been doing regular Facebook live evening shows to keep people entertained and the music alive whilst everyone has been stuck at home. The response and feedback we have received has been very humbling and to be asked by the council to help mark the official start of Christmas in such a memorable way by recording one of our most cherished songs is a huge honour.
“We really look forward to seeing all the videos and images submitted from people all across the Leeds communities and are extremely excited to see for the finished result which hopefully will bring everyone a bit of much needed festive cheer.”
Festive lights will also still be on display around Leeds city centre in the run-up to Christmas and will be switched on following the online event.
Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, said: “Christmas in Leeds is inevitably going to be very different this year and the restrictions we have in place mean that we won’t be able to celebrate in the usual way.
“After such an immensely challenging time for us all, it’s more important than ever that we come together in whatever way we can. Being able to see how people from all across Leeds are marking the festive season will be the perfect way of reminding us all that we’re all still connected and united in marking this very special time of year."
The virtual switch-on event will be free to watch on the Millennium Square YouTube channel and Facebook page on Sunday, November 15 from 4pm.
Further information on the line-up will be announced in the coming weeks. To submit your pic or video message please send by email by Sunday, November 8 to: firstname.lastname@example.org