East 17 entertain Wolverhampton as hundreds turn out for the Christmas lights switch-on

Hundreds of people flocked to Queen Square on Saturday night to see the annual Christmas lights switch-on make a welcome return.

Santa with East 17 members Joe Livermore, Robbie Craig and Terry Coldwell, and Wolverhampton Mayor Greg Brackenridge
Santa with East 17 members Joe Livermore, Robbie Craig and Terry Coldwell, and Wolverhampton Mayor Greg Brackenridge

Those in Wolverhampton city centre were treated to a host of acts, culminating with East 17 performing their 1994 Christmas number one Stay Another Day.

Hosted by 101.8 WCR FM breakfast show presenter Dicky Dodd, the event was free to attend with the switch-on itself taking place at 6pm.

Youngsters even had the opportunity to meet, pet and take pictures with a real reindeer.

Paw Patrol were the first on stage, followed by performances from Chris Westwood and Marquis Drive.

As the switch on drew closer, Hit The Dhol took to the stage with their drumming set which got people in the crowd moving.

The Christmas tree and festive lights are now on in Wolverhampton city centre

Tony J from Hit The Dhol was buzzing as he left the stage.

He said: "What a turn-out, I can see over a thousand people, it has been amazing to perform our set and bring a bit of diversity to the whole Christmas spirit.

"I'm so proud of our children, we have three eight-year-old drummers who have been absolutely fantastic."

Drumming kids were part of the entertainment at the lights event

Speaking on the relief of being back in front of crowds after lockdown last year, Tony added: "As musicians, we need audiences. We need to see people dancing and enjoying themselves, without that, it's nothing.

"This time last year we were all scared and didn't know what was going to happen, today it feels like we are back to normal and you can't beat that human touch.

"The festive period is about people being together and being happy."

Following Hit The Dhol was the main act for the night, East 17.

East 17 performed their Christmas classic, Stay Another Day

The band kicked off proceedings with a rendition of House of Love, with all three members performing a backflip to close the track.

They commented "What a great crowd you are, you must be in a good mood because of the football."

'If You Ever' was the next up on the playlist followed by 'Around the World' which saw a lyric change to 'been around the world but there's no place like Wolverhampton'.

It was clear which song the crowd wanted to see - and the band swiftly disappeared, re-emerging in their iconic white puffer jackets.

The Harry Jones Fun Fair at Wolverhampton's Christmas lights switch-on

They went on to tease the song, providing short performances of 'Jingle Bells' and 'We Wish You a Merry Christmas' before finally breaking out into 'Stay Now' much to the delight of the crowd.

After the performance East 17 were rejoined by Chase from Paw Patrol and the Mayor of Wolverhampton, Greg Brackenridge to officially turn on the lights.

The Mayor said: "We've had a rough couple years, but we're together now.

"Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and as East 17 said earlier, everything is going to be alright."

Hundreds gathered in Wolverhampton city centre

Tammy and Ian from Wolverhampton watched the switch-on with their grandson Logan.

They said: "It was just good to be out again, it feels normal again instead of what it's been like.

"Logan enjoyed getting his Dinosaur and Minecraft spinning light."

People of all ages turned out to see the Christmas lights be switched on

The event also included fair rides, free face painting and the chance to meet Father Christmas.

More switch-ons will be taking place across Wolverhampton, including a Wednesfield High Street on Thursday, November 25, and Bilston Church Street on Friday, November 26.

The Tettenhall switch-on event on Upper Green will take place on Saturday, November 27, followed by the Bantock Park event the following day.

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