Swindon is to have its first virtual Christmas lights switch-on.
inSwindon BID, the organisation tasked with promoting the town centre, has announced the transformation of the traditional annual gathering into a free-to-access live streamed event as part of ‘Swindon’s Illumina’.
This new campaign aims to drive footfall safely into the town centre in support of all businesses through visual, virtual and digital experiences across the festive season.
It will launch on Saturday 3 October, with Swindon’s first virtual switch-on.
Business Manager Anita Bellinger said: “The annual Christmas Light Switch On attracts up to 10,000 visitors to the town centre - however, the social distancing restrictions arising from covid-19 means it cannot go ahead in its usual format.
"Taking the event online means more people can enjoy this safely from the comfort of their own homes.”
inSwindon BID has created a variety of visual and digital campaigns to support businesses and drive footfall safely into the town centre since lockdown was eased in June.
The #ShineOnSwindon welcome back campaign featured a colourful window decal and promoted businesses across press and social media, and the organisation's unique Mural Experience was created at Swindon Bus Station and Newbridge Square earlier this month.
Mark Rogers, BID Manager, said: “It has been a very difficult time for all businesses, and we must all unite to support them. "We’ll continue to interact with visitors to ensure Swindon town centre remains a destination of choice for business, shopping and leisure.
"This is why we have been working hard to bring forward our Christmas campaign and feature visual, virtual and digital experiences for now.”
Swindon’s first Virtual Christmas Light Switch-On will take place online via Facebook and Twitter on Saturday, 3 October from 6-7pm.
It will feature a variety of pre-recorded and live performances from local talent, live hosts, special guest messages and a Twitter wall where viewers will be able to send messages of hope and support for the festive season.
The full line-up of entertainment will be announced in the coming weeks.
An exclusive projection and lighting show will be revealed for the big switch-on moment, alongside the Christmas lights which will illuminate the town centre until 6 January.
Visitors will also be able to enjoy a Luminary Business Trail, which will see a variety of stars illuminate windows across the town centre as part of the visual campaign.
A Virtual Christmas Market will also be held via the BID’s social media channels to promote businesses across the town centre to visitors looking for gifts and seasonal shopping, and will feature a selection of competitions.
The latest information about Swindon’s Illumina can be found at www.swindontowncentre.co.uk