Despite the disruption it causes to the Blackpool tramway, Blackpool Council remain determined to host events on the Tower Festival Headland site, with even more set to be held in summer 2018. This will no doubt result in the tramway being split in two, with some trams operating between Starr Gate and Tower, and others between North Pier and Fleetwood – leaving a section in between with no service at all!
Despite not even coming close to selling out in 2017, the inaugural ‘LiveWire’ music festival held on the Tower Festival Headland over the August Bank Holiday weekend last year has been deemed successful enough for a repeat event, and in fact this has actually been expanded from three days to four! The 2018 festival kicks off on Thursday 23rd August with Boyz II Men and Matt Goss, both of whom will be performing their only UK shows of the year (did anyone else actually want to book them!?). Saturday 25th will be headlined by Kenny Rogers, with the star acts for Friday and Sunday still to be announced. With ‘Golden Circle’ access costing £100 and VIP tickets available priced at £200 per show, its probably easy to see why a decision was made to go ahead with the event again – but the disruption it will cause to the tramway, and indeed the town in general, on a very busy Bank Holiday weekend is also a high price for residents and visitors to pay!
The heritage service will still be running, presumably curtailed at Tower on the later journeys on the Thursday and Friday. On Saturday 25th & Sunday 26th August, the advertised ‘Gold’ service will still run but, as per last year, afternoon journeys will only operate between Starr Gate and Tower. There should be no further disruption to the trams on Bank Holiday Monday 27th August.
Not content at messing up one important weekend, just a few days later the headland will again be used for the illuminations switch-on ceremony when no heritage trams will run due to the tramway again being split in two. Disruption is also expected on the first illumination Saturday of the 2018 season, 1st September, when American pop singer Britney Spears will be performing at the Tower Headland as part of a rare UK tour. Whilst this is quite a coup for Blackpool, and is likely to be a sell-out show, the timing is once again absolutely terrible and shows blatant disregard for anyone in town to see the lights. The tramway have not yet confirmed its own plans for that evening but it seems highly likely that a split service will have to operate yet again, meaning no illumination tours for the first two nights of the lights.
It is baffling that events which are presumably being created to bring more visitors to the town, keep being held on dates when Blackpool would normally be busy anyway, and when many normal visitors are likely to stay away because of the disruption caused by these concerts. With the nearby Lytham Festival offering more popular music acts without affecting visitors to Blackpool on key dates, hopefully one day common sense will prevail and someone will finally put a stop to these events, or at least arrange them to take place at less disruptive times.