Extended festival to provide a huge boost for town

Peter Taylor with characters from Star Wars
Peter Taylor with characters from Star Wars

The prospect of the biggest Lytham Festival yet has been greeted with delight by tourism and business leaders.

This year’s event, running from August 1 to 7, will feature more than 50 events, including an unprecedented five nights of entertainment at the main arena stage on The Green.

Denize Ashton, Mayor Cheryl Little, Jakki Hatton and Joe Robinson

Denize Ashton, Mayor Cheryl Little, Jakki Hatton and Joe Robinson

Concerts featuring top stars such as Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Canadian rock giant Bryan Adams, The Village People, Bay City Rollers and musical theatre band Collabro will be preceded on Wednesday, August 3 by an al fresco screening of Star Wars: The Force Awakens as what organisers Cuffe and Taylor claim will be the UK’s largest-ever seaside outdoor cinema comes to Fylde.

In addition to the big screening, Cuffe and Taylor have also confirmed details of live entertainment to take place at a wide variety of events around town – Lowther Pavilion, the Assembly Rooms, the Church Stage at St Cuthbert’s Church, Stage Too at the adjoining Victory Hall and the RNLI Lifeboat Museum - while two nights of open-air cinema will be back at Lytham Hall - with the Rocky Horror Picture Show and Labyrinth the films being shown - after proving a success on its debut last year.

Acts confirmed so far at Lowther are country duo The Shires, comedian and ventriloquist Nina Conti, former X-Factor winner Matt Cardle, punk band The Dolls and Space, boyband Lawson and 80s synthpop band Heaven 17.

The Assembly Rooms will host the World Jazz Stage throughout the week of the Festival featuring an eclectic mix of jazz, folk and world music including Off The Rails Big Band, Jeremiah Ferrari, Fire Beneath the Sea, Bugalu Foundation and Drop the Floor. There will also be a series of drum and song-writing workshops.

In addition, there will be the art installation CounterpART, comprising 12 installations around Lytham presented by a group of local, regional, national and international artists. There will also be art sessions at Lytham Assembly Rooms.

The bumper schedule was officially launched in front of an invited audience at the Clifton Arms Hotel - as well as via live streaming on You Tube and other websites - and Lytham Festival director Peter Taylor said: “I and all the Lytham Festival team are confident that Lytham Festival 2016 really does offer something for everybody and with tickets to some events available from as little as £12 we hope that as many people as possible can come to Lytham and experience a fantastic array of live entertainment.”

The Festival is set to boost the Fylde economy by more than £3m, as a predicted 100,000 extra visitors are attracted to the event and Coun Cheryl Little, chairman of Fylde Council’s tourism and leisure committee, said: “What a brilliant Festival we have in store - it just gets bigger every year, has really put Lytham on the showbusiness map nationally and all credit to Cuffe and Taylor for their hard work.”

Denize Ashton, chairman of the Lytham Business Partnership, was also among the audience at the glitzy launch and added: “The Festival is a wonderful event and it is brilliant for business that it attracts so many extra visitors to town.”

Comedian Bobby Ball, who lives locally, was also bowled over the wide array of events on offer at this year’s event, saying: “I’m flabbergasted at just how much there is on during the Festival, at so many venues around town. It’s great to think of so many stars names and so many visitors coming to Lytham.”

Tickets are on sale to all Lytham Festival events now, at www.lythamfestival.com