Meadowhall shoppers dreaming of a bright Christmas got their festive wish when chart stars last night switched on the lights - almost a MILLION of them, writes Graham Walker.
The shopping centre’s spectacular decorations include 875,283 LED bulbs, 3,600 crystal icicles, 9,228m of crystal garland and 8kg of glitter.
X Factor boy band Union J, indie band hitmakers The Vamps and pop star Little Nikki also lit up the Capital FM stage in the car park outside when they played their hits in front of 15,000 music fans.
Support acts were Amy Jo, Brit School, Be Minor, Reconnected and a Michael Buble tribute act.
And although the weather outside was frightful, the crowd partied as they sang and danced in the rain.
VIDEO: Press the play button to watch our video report.
The third annual Christmas Lights Switch On charity concert - now a highlight of festivities at the mall - raised £16,000 to be shared between Sheffield Children’s Hospital Charity and Capital FM’s Help A Capital Child.
Shoppers inside got more than they bargained for as they marvelled at the centre’s brand new Winter Wonderland Christmas decorations.
Jaymi Hensley, of X Factor sensation boy band Union J, who had chart hits Carry You and Beautiful Life, said: “It was fantastic to be asked to help turn on the lights. We’ll be back at Sheffield City Hall on December 16. It will be one of the first gigs where we will be singing songs off our new album.”
Bradley Simpson, of The Vamps, who had a smash hit with Can We Dance, revealed their Christmas came early with news that they are set to support two huge names in 2014. He told The Star: “We’ve a couple of singles out early next year and then I think we are going to go on tour with Taylor Swift and The Wanted. We’d love to come back here and play in Sheffield. We played here on tour with McFly earlier this year. That was super fun.”
Little Nikki, billed as the next big pop princess for 2014, is looking forward to releasing singles in 2014. But she’ll be home for Christmas: “I’m spending it with family and friends, opening lots of presents and eating yummy food.”
Capital FM’s Simon Hirst, who hosts Hirsty’s Daily Dose breakfast show, presented the concert with colleagues JoJo and Danny. He said: “Another great year at the Capital and Meadowhall Light Switch On Charity concert.
“ It was no surprise that the atmosphere was amazing. You can always rely on Sheffield to give a brilliant response!”
Alex Caley, Events Manager from Meadowhall said: “It’s always such a great atmosphere at the Meadowhall Lights Switch On and it was another superstar line up this year with The Vamps, Little Nikki and Union J all performing on the night.
“We were also delighted to be able to raise funds for two very worthy calls with Meadowhall’s charity of the year, The Children’s Hospital Charity, Sheffield, and Capital’s own charity, Help a Capital Child, benefiting from the funds raised through ticket sales from the concert.
“Now we’re in the run up to Christmas and there is so much happening here at the centre. We’re really excited to welcome Santa on the 14th for our annual parade, and his Magical Kingdom is then open right up until Christmas Eve!”
Meadowhall will welcome Santa to his Magical Kingdom grotto with a parade on Thursday, November 14, at 5.30pm. Opening times, until Christmas Eve, will be Monday to Friday, 10am-8pm, Saturday 9am-7pm and Sunday 11am-5pm.
* Meadowhall Christmas opening hours from November 25 are Mon to Fri, 9am-10pm; Sat, 9am- 8pm, Sun 11am-5pm. From December 9 to December 23, Mon to Fri 9am-11pm , Sat 9am-8pm, Sun 11am-5pm. Christmas Eve, 9am-5pm; closed on Christmas Day. Boxing day 8am-6pm, December 27, 9am-10pm,; December 28, 9am-8pm, New Year’s Eve (am-4pm and New Year’s Day 11am – 5pm. The Oasis Dining Quarter will open outside trading hours.
Meadowhall Christmas Lights By Numbers
* 875,283 LED bulbs
* 3,600 crystal icicles
* 5.7 miles (9,228m) of crystal garland
* 8kg of glitter
* 12,000 free parking spaces
* 310 retailers.