Blackpool’s Winter Gardens Dance Festival set to boost local economy by £6m

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More than 25,000 visitors are set to descend on the resort for the festival.

Blackpool’s Winter Gardens Dance Festival - the largest international dance show of its kind - is set to boost the local economy by £6m.

More than 25,000 visitors are set to descend on Blackpool for the resort’s 98th international dance festival.

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The festival, which runs from May 18 until May 31 , is held at the town’s iconic Winter Gardens and welcomes more than 2,000 official competitors.

Blackpool’s Winter Gardens Dance Festival is set to boost the local economy by £6m (Credit: Tomasz Reindl Photography) Blackpool’s Winter Gardens Dance Festival is set to boost the local economy by £6m (Credit: Tomasz Reindl Photography)
Blackpool’s Winter Gardens Dance Festival is set to boost the local economy by £6m (Credit: Tomasz Reindl Photography) | Tomasz Reindl Photography

With 3,000 dances performed over 13 days, more than 50 countries are represented in the categories of Ballroom and Latin American dancing.

Tourism is already the central industry of Blackpool, and with this annual event generating an additional £6m, it is the largest single contribution to the town’s existing £1.7bn tourist-wide industry worth.

Cllr Lynn Williams, Leader of Blackpool Council, said: “The Dance Festival is a unique part of our history. With each passing year, it grows in stature and numbers, bringing thousands of competitors from across the globe.

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“It is unrivalled in terms of raising the profile of Blackpool, and the wider region, and has an enormous economic impact in creating accommodation bookings, and spends in shops, bar and restaurants.

“Not only that, it also brings a real energy and vibrancy to the town centre and we are delighted to roll out the welcome mat once again for this year’s competitors and enthusiasts.”

More than 25,000 visitors are set to descend on Blackpool for the resort’s annual dance festival (Credit: Tomasz Reindl Photography)More than 25,000 visitors are set to descend on Blackpool for the resort’s annual dance festival (Credit: Tomasz Reindl Photography)
More than 25,000 visitors are set to descend on Blackpool for the resort’s annual dance festival (Credit: Tomasz Reindl Photography) | Tomasz Reindl Photography

The Winter Gardens Complex includes the well-known, historic theatre and ballroom, but also a newly refurbished state-of-the-art conference centre.

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Together the whole site accounts for almost five acres of space in the heart of Blackpool with much of it in constant use throughout the festival.

The Winter Gardens Empress Ballroom is the largest in the UK.

Since 2023, an exact replica of the ballroom’s dancefloor (34m x 14m) has been temporarily erected within the Winter Garden complex for practice use ahead of the competitive performances.

Michael Williams, Winter Gardens Managing Director, said: “Year on year, the Winter Gardens opens its doors to an array of shows, exhibitions, and events, all brilliantly exciting in their own ways.”

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“But the Dance Festival feels momentous, not only in terms of longevity and size, but also in how it brings such an all-encompassing excitement to the whole town, which undoubtedly resonates with the wider community.

“We welcome international adjudicators, ex-finalists and champions - who all hold the Empress Ballroom in their hearts. We are so proud to host this annual event with everything that it brings to the town, its businesses and residents.”

Shaun Quilligan, owner of Quilligan's Café Bar, said the festival was “without doubt one of the highlights for [their] business”.

“The event attracts dancers and visitors from around the world and many of them enjoy dining at our café,” he added.

“As a small, family-run business, it is so important that Winter Gardens can host such amazing events.”

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