Manchester Christmas lights switch on 2018 brings out the stars
- Manchester begins Christmas with memorable 10 minute firework display
- Major stars grace the stage in Albert Square
- DJ Jonas Blue pushes the big red button to begin Christmas celebrations in the city
Christmas 2018 was triggered with the push of a button at Manchester’s Albert Square as music filled the streets and fireworks lit up the sky.
The council partnered with Hits Radio for the event, and the firework display marked the start of Festival Sparkle in Manchester.
Members of the public were urged ahead of time not to bring any bags. Those that did were searched. Alcohol was not permitted.
Several high-profile performers were among the line-up for the Christmas light switch-on, including DJ Jonas Blue, known for his hit songs including Rise, Fast Cars and Perfect Strangers.
Thousands of people converged on Albert Square to watch the event, and the line-up included Max George, the cast of Wicked, the Manchester Show Choir and Dance Academy.
The show was preceded by Christmas songs and a televised performance by the cast of Dr Dolittle featuring Harry Potter’s Mark Williams and Coronation Street star Vicky Entwistle.
The first song of the evening was performed by the Manchester Show Choir with a cover of the Pogue's Christmas hit 'Fairy Tale of New York'.
Workers looked down into the square from their offices, giving them the best views of the show and earning them the envy of those below.
Max George, a native from Manchester, found fame on the X-Factor and later landed a role in the US TV series Glee. On stage, he said:
I am a very proud Mancunian right now
The symbolic Manchester bee was projected onto the front of the town hall.
At 7.30pm, the line-up started with a cover of the Pogues' Fairy Tale of New York performed by the Manchester Show Choir.
The standout performances of the night were by Max George with his hit, We Own The Night, and songs from the musical Wicked performed by the Palace Theatre Company.
The crowd was lit with flashes of iPhones and multi-coloured glow-sticks and some members of the public climbed onto the ledges of windows for a better view.
At 8.30pm, the countdown begun for Jonas to push the big red button setting off every Christmas light around Manchester, as well as a magnificent 10-minute firework display.
Everyone was mesmerised as the sky was lit up by hundreds of fireworks, with rockets shooting over Manchester town hall.
The streets were filled with multi-coloured flashes of light and the sound of bangs and rips lasted for the entire display.
And in an unexpected twist, fireworks were fired out of the clock itself.
The Darkness’ Christmas hit, Don’t Let The Bells End, was played once the switch button had been pressed.
Concluding the show, performers wished the Manchester crowd a good night and a Merry Christmas.