Opera star Russell Watson will push the button on Preston’s Christmas lights this month, it can be revealed.
The tenor, who has sold more than five million albums worldwide, has been secured for the big switch-on on the city’s Flag Market in a fortnight which is expected to attract a 10,000-strong crowd.
He will be joined by X-Factor winner Matt Cardle and pop group Honey Ryder at the top of the bill with further acts still to be added to the line-up.
Today, the city’s Business Improvement District, which is organising the event, said the event would have “something for everyone” in a bid to attract crowds to flock to the city centre.
BID events manager Mark Whittle said: “The important thing is this is a family event with enough variety of acts to entertain as many people as possible. In Russell Watson we have a real A-list star, he is known across the world and has sold millions of albums globally.
“We have convinced Russell to sing some Christmas classics at the event which should hopefully get everyone in the mood. We believe the line-up we have secured is the best Preston has ever had.”
Matt Cardle, who won hit television show The X-Factor in 2010, will be performing songs from his new album, The Fire, with three-piece band, Honey Ryder, also performing.
The rest of the line-up includes a mix of other performers including boy band Forbidden Juice, who are working on the same record label as The Wanted and McFly, local artist DJ Nona, who is touring Europe with her Christmas single, and Thomas Teago, who has performed at a number of North West music festivals this summer.
There will also be performances by free running group, The Street Monkeys, and local performer, Nick Evans, throughout a day-long event leading up to the switch-on.
Mr Whittle said the event had secured a big screen and powerful sound system used by artists across the world for the event on November 17.
He said: “Preston’s switch-on is regarded in the industry as one of the best in the country both in terms of its infrastructure and the crowds we get in. We recognise how important the Christmas period is for traders in the city centre and we are pulling out all the stops to try and bring as many people to Preston as possible.
“We are also working with traders to ensure they do everything they can to make the most of the amount of people who will be there for the switch-on.”