In this industry, Christmas always starts early and we were delighted to work with Broadway Bradford on our first Christmas lights switch-on of the season, earlier this month.

This year’s event was bigger than ever, with a jam-packed full day of events and performances, and an incredible star-studded line-up. Record numbers of people visited the centre over the course of the day (smashing last year’s figure of 52,000!), enjoying talks, meet and greets, ice sculptures, choirs and much, much more.

Broadway Bradford Christmas Lights Switch On 2019

With events of this scale, it’s more important than ever for us to be involved from the very beginning, and AYRE worked closely with event organisers, providing pre-production support and logistics planning to ensure every technical component of the show ran smoothly on the big day.

Our crew was on site as soon as the shopping centre closed the evening before, installing the equipment and preparing as much as possible. On the day itself, we had two production teams working in shifts to deliver the full days programme, whilst our MD Chris remained on-site all day as Production Manager. Our teams built a 6m wide x 4m deep x 4m high truss, which was designed to fit into a predesignated space, planned out by the client. The stage measured 5m wide by 3m deep to accommodate the diverse roster of performances, with access steps to one side.

The staging was completed with various lighting and audio solutions, with a system capable of delivering crystal clear audio to every part of the large event space. We also rigged two 65” screens from the truss to display upcoming events and the itinerary of the day.

Broadway Bradford Christmas Lights Switch On 2019
Broadway Bradford Christmas Lights Switch On 2019

It’s always an exciting challenge when the line-up is so diverse, as it keeps our tech crews on their toes, working hard to accommodate the ever changing lighting and audio requirements and keeping each transition smooth and seamless. This requires lots of pre-planning to ensure correct mics and equipment are on site and in the right place at the right time. It also often involves liaising with artists own audio technicians, in this case Rak-Su’s and Heather Small to ensure our equipment and designs work together.

The event was opened by The Bradford Bulls Bullettes, performing a high-energy cheerleading routine followed by dance troupe, Articulate and performances from The Bradford Playhouse and show-stopping magician, Sebastian Walton.

An exciting element of the event was The Festive Pitch Battle, which welcomed eight local school choirs to perform in front of a judging panel for a chance to be crowned Bradford’s best choir of 2019. Ireland Wood Primary School, Bradshaw Primary School, Dixons Music Primary, Lindley Junior School, St Francis Catholic Primary School, Wibsey Primary School put on their best performances to impress judges Jacqui Blay (Pulse 1 and Pulse 2’s Content Controller) and Ian Ward The Broadway Centre Manager, with Lindley Junior School taking the crown and winning £1,000 for the school.

Broadway Bradford Christmas Lights Switch On 2019

Choirs are very popular at this time of year, but whatever the season, be it choirs or singing groups, it’s important to ensure every voice and instrument is projected well on stage. Different groups have different technical requirements, so it’s useful to get as much information as possible from your performers to relay to your production teams ahead of the event so they know what to expect.

Heather Small and X-Factor winners Rak-Su headlined the show with incredible live performances for the excited audience. Often, artists bring their own technicians and equipment with them and we work closely with them to ensure they have everything they need and all systems are working in sync. On this occasion, we also provided Heather Small with an In-Ear Monitor and a wireless handheld mic.

Of course, no Christmas celebration is complete without confetti cannons (a great indoor alternative to fireworks), which we coordinated perfectly to mark the official lights switch-on.

The event was part of the Sparkling Bradford initiative which aims to highlight the whole region as a key destination this season in partnership with organisations including Bradford Council, Made in Bradford, University of Bradford and Bradford Bid. We’re delighted to have had the opportunity to work closely with Broadway Bradford to deliver a fantastic event to help put the city on the map!

Dare we say, it’s never too early to start planning for Christmas 2020? If you’re looking for a way to kick the season off in style, get in touch with AYRE today…