The festive season starts in Manchester this year on Friday, 4 November when the biggest Christmas Party in the UK returns to Albert Square

The Manchester Christmas Lights switch-on attracts thousands of people to Albert Square every year and has welcomed some of the biggest names in show business.

Opening this year’s show, which will be hosted by Key 103’s Mike Toolan, Corrie’s Brooke Vincent and Paddy McGuinness, will be the incredible moves of the Dancehouse Academy before they appear in a panto mash-up at the Dancehouse – a fresh take on the traditional, combining the Adventures of Robin Hood with the classic tale of the Babes in the Wood.

Winner of last year’s X-Factor, Louisa Johnson, who Simon Cowell said was the best singer he’d ever seen on the show, will perform live. Louisa is currently working on her debut album, which is due for release in December soon after her Manchester performance.

Local musician JP Cooper has grown a huge and loyal fan base through relentless touring in past years. His debut EP, out on Island Records, showed his blend of soulful songs and stunning vocals that helped to sell out his nationwide tour ahead of the release of this debut album early next year.

Christmas lights switch-on party to start festive season in Manchester I Love Manchester

And the MOBO Nominated trio M.O (Modus Operandi) will complete the night’s musical acts, bringing their R&B tinged garage attitude to Albert Square.

Mancunian actor John Thomson will be a crowd favourite when he arrives on stage following the reprise of his role in iconic 90s comedy drama, Cold Feet. John is appearing on stage ahead of his role as the evil Abanazar in the Opera House’s Christmas panto, Aladdin.

And the cast from the hit musical production of Billy Elliot, playing at the Palace Theatre from 29 November, will help the crowd to get their toes tapping and bodies moving when they perform live on stage.

The show will end with a spectacular fireworks display. Once Albert Square reaches capacity access into the area will be restricted. A number of road closures will be in place on the evening. The event is free. Just get the family together and wrap up warm.

The switch-on party is just the start of the Christmas season in Manchester. The award-winning Christmas Markets return just a week later on Friday 11 November.

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