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Wigan’s famous Boxing Day fancy dress tradition will go ahead with virtual event

This year, the 42-year-old tradition is moving online to hold onto its title as the UK's biggest fancy dress party

There were fears it would not be held at all this year due to COVID-19 restrictions.

But Wigan’s famous Boxing Day fancy dress tradition will go ahead, it has been confirmed, with a virtual event hosted by United We Stream GM in partnership with Wigan Council.

For this year only, the 42-year-old tradition is moving online to hold onto its title as the UK’s biggest fancy dress party in the UK.

Residents of Wigan Borough and beyond will be encouraged to dress up and tune in to the event from their living room as acclaimed Wigan DJs perform.

The #WiganBoxingDayFancyDress event is part of a programme of feel-good shows for residents to enjoy through the award winning digital broadcasting platform, United We Stream GM, during the Christmas break.

Four specially curated productions will take place on December 18th and 19th, Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve, which will be an incredible 24-hour house party.

18th December kicks off with a world exclusive at 8pm: the first showing of Manchester music documentary-film, Manchester Music Then and Now: Music Worth Fighting For.

Produced and directed by Marketing Manchester’s Simon Donoghue, the short film celebrates the incredible people and places who make up Greater Manchester’s contemporary music scene and details the extraordinary resilience of the response to the pandemic.

Thirty years on from Madchester, Music Worth Fighting For features famous faces and places from the Manchester music scene, including A Certain Ratio, Blossoms, Courteeners, Denise Johnson, New Order/Joy Division, Happy Mondays, Lottery Winners, Manchester Collective, Working Men’s Club and Elbow, alongside Valve and DJ Olli Ryder, son of Shaun Ryder, and Oliver Wilson, son of late Factory Records supremo Tony Wilson.

It also hears from industry professionals including technicians, band bookers and photographers, plus the promoters and managers of the many grass roots venues and festivals that attract thousands of visitors to Greater Manchester each year.

On Saturday 19th December, regardless of tiers, United We Stream is hosting an uplifting ‘Best of UWS’ for people to relive their best party moments of their first season.

From 4pm until midnight, United We Stream GM will provide the soundtrack to a Saturday night stay at home party, bringing together some of the finest moments from their archive of more than 300 DJs, performers and artists.

Then on Boxing Day, it’s the Wigan takeover, with a world premiere at 6pm of a new film 42 featuring six DJs over six hours.

MC Finchy and DJ Kenty, acclaimed DJ Caino, Kyle H, DJ Harvey, Danny Mac and Jake Slater are all confirmed to perform.

The leader of Wigan Council, David Molyneux, said: “We have all had to make changes to our lives this year and Boxing Day will be no different.

“As this challenging year draws to a close, it’s important to think differently so this uplifting tradition continues to thrive.

“We’re delighted to be working with United We Stream, who will help us to harness the annual enthusiasm, creativity and excitement that people across the country bring to Wigan on Boxing Day.”

Rounding off this special festive season of shows is the phenomenal Hacienda House Party 24-hour stream, which will feature some of the biggest DJs in the world including Moby, Todd Terry, David Morales, DJ Paulette and Norman Jay MBE.

The non-stop marathon broadcast will begin at 10am on New Year’s Eve and also feature a bespoke one-off live performance by Haçienda Classical with Manchester Camerata and the AMC Choir.

Photo: Darren Robinson Photography

“Greater Manchester is known to party,” said Greater Manchester Night-time Economy Adviser and United We Stream executive producer, Sacha Lord.

“One of the highlights of the calendar is Boxing Day, and there’s no bigger party, than the Wigan Boxing Day Party.

“Traditionally this is a time when thousands of people come out to the streets of Wigan, in fancy dress, tummies full of turkey and their dancing shoes on. The turkeys still happening, but sadly, we won’t be able to take to the streets.

“That won’t stop the party, though, and United We Stream GM are bringing the streets to you.

“Join in, dress up, nothing will stop us!

“We hope that these four very different shows will allow you a bit of escapism for a few hours.

“As always, United We Stream GM will be completely free to watch, and I know for many that money is very tight, but if you can spare a pound or two, that would be great, and your donation will go straight to our chosen, local good causes.”

United We Stream GM is free to view, but donations to oneGM will be encouraged. People can watch the streams via the website’s event page, and their Facebook, Twitter and You Tube accounts.

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