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Cambridge Christmas lights Big Switch On 2023: All the plans and timings for station area and market square

Cambridge has a new Christmas lighting scheme - and it’s about to be switched on.

Two festive events are lined up, with the first being held tomorrow (Thursday) in the CB1 area before the traditional Big Switch On event in the market square on Sunday (November 19).

A previous switch-on event in Cambridge. Picture: Richard Marsham
A previous switch-on event in Cambridge. Picture: Richard Marsham

Cambridge Business Improvement District (BID) said it had worked with contractor Field & Lawn on the new lighting scheme to ensure it not only brings some festive cheer but is as sustainable as possible.

The lighting covers both the historic city centre as well as the Station Road and CB1 areas.

Becky Burrell, marketing manager at Cambridge BID, said: ‘Working on the Christmas lights for the city is always a wonderful project to deliver. There is a sense of responsibility to ensure that the city is made to look as beautiful as possible, as well as ensuring that we work with the best products that we can.

“We have ensured that over the last 10 years and looking ahead, that all the lights we use are LED, meaning the energy consumption for the city is kept to a minimum.”

Ben Coleborn, branch manager at Field & Lawn, said: “We have worked with Cambridge BID for several years, and it is always a delight for the team to supply and install the lights in such a wonderful location.

“During the tender process it was quite clear that Cambridge BID were looking for a supplier who could deliver a scheme that not only looked great and covered a large geography but also worked with a company that have a strong environmental policy.

Last year’s Big Switch On event in Cambridge. Picture: Richard Marsham
Last year’s Big Switch On event in Cambridge. Picture: Richard Marsham

“Field & Lawn, to our knowledge, are the only carbon neutral certified festive lighting installation company in the UK. We work incredibly hard to ensure that how we operate always sits within our environmental and sustainable policies.”

Festivities kick off from 4.30pm on Thursday (November 16) outside Cambridge railway station, where Star Radio Drivetime presenter Josh Lovatt will bring his decks to play some party tunes and Christmas songs.

Vocal Remix, the Coleridge Choir and Steel Pans will also be performing to get the CB1 area the Christmas spirit, while bars and restaurants will provide refreshments before Josh turns on the lights at about 6pm. There will also be a chance to win some Love Cambridge Gift Cards.

Attention then turns to the market square on Sunday, where Star Radio will take over the stage from midday. A lively line-up of performing arts clubs, choirs and musicians will perform before the switch-on at 5pm, when mayor Cllr Jenny Gawthrope Wood will be joined by members of both the Cambridge United men’s and women’s teams.

There will also be a chance to win tickets to next year’s Cambridge Club festival, with an announcement due on one of the 2024 headline acts.

Becky said: “We are planning to kick of the Christmas season with a bang! It’s such a great community event and we are very excited to be able to deliver this for the residents of Cambridge.”

On the same day, the Grand Arcade will join in with more entertainment and performances lined up between 12pm and 4.30pm on the ground floor. A carolling reindeer and storyteller bear are now in place at the shopping centre until Christmas Eve.

Visit love-cambridge.com for more.

CB1 schedule - Thu Nov 16

4.30pm Entertainment with Star Radio Drivetime presenter Josh Lovatt and performances from Vocal Remix, the Coleridge Choir and Steel Pans
6pm Lights switch-on

Market square schedule - Sun Nov 19

12pm All Star Performing Arts
12.30pm Castle School
1pm The Collaboration Choir
1.20pm Carnival Crew
1.40pm Disfunktional
2pm Safira
2.40pm Razzamatazz
3pm On Stage Performing Arts
3.20pm Vocal Remix
3.40pm Stagecoach
4pm Magenta Slipperz
4.20pm 4th Dimension Dance
4.40pm Star Radio Take Over
5pm Switch On

Performance times are subject to change

Grand Arcade schedule - Sun Nov 19

Performing between 12-4.30pm will be:

Cambridge School of Visual and Performing Arts
Vocal Remix
St Mary’s School
Abi Dhese-Biggs
Rule Fitness
The Collaboration Choir

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