The 2017 Christmas Lights Switch-On lit up Derby and kicked off the festive season. Thousands of people joined the celebrations that took place on Saturday 18 November organised by Derby LIVE and presented by Gem, who are the official radio station for the event.

X Factor star Amelia Lily headlined the event which was hosted by Gem at Breakfast presenters Jo and Sparky. The traditional Christmas celebration was held on the Market Place and included a festive parade from The Spot to the Market Place.

A host of local community acts and performers took part in the Christmas Lights Parade including; The Merrill Melody Makers Choir, which is made up of pupils from year’s seven to 11 and was formed as part of the Merrill Academy enrichment programme in September 2016. Up and coming Derby artist Emzae, posted her first demo online at the age of 19. Using a mixture of digital and analogue instrumentation, Emzae combined influences and experiences from different areas of her life to create her own brand of melody-driven, bittersweet pop. Baby People – Urban Choir performed their unique blend of R&B, Pop and Soul. Dynamic acoustic pop duo from Derby, Scribble Victory created a fresh, full and energetic performance, using just two voices.

Amelia took to the stage between 5:30pm and 6pm to perform three songs including her debut single You Bring Me Joy, which reached number two in the UK charts, before switching on the Derby Christmas Lights at 6pm.

Cabinet Member for Leisure and Culture, Councillor Amo Raju, speaking at the event said: “The Christmas lights switch is on is one of our 50 pledges which we promised to you and which we have delivered”.

He went on to say, “It an important part of the year and it is important for everyone, especially our children who look forward to this time of year”.

Councillor Raju also thanked local acts The Merrill Melody Makers Choir, Emzae, Baby People Urban Choir and Scribble Victory. He concluded his speech by thanking sponsors Gem and wishing everyone “merry Christmas”.

As an extra festive treat Derby LIVE’s Beauty and the Beast stars Aston and Louise performed on stage as Gaston and Belle.

This year’s parade was led by Santa with festive cheer in his red Cadillac. It included a fantastic array of performers including, three local dance schools, street dance school Upbeat Community Dance, Ashbourne based Peak Dance Academy and Dynamicmotif Dance and Performing Arts Academy, an Erewash based dance school that were dancing in a Beauty and the Beast theme. The parade also included The Ambassadors of Borrowash Showband, along with walkabout acts Christmas Elves and Christmas Belles.

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