Blackpool in Lancashire, England is the mecca of entertainment. While the Blackpool Pleasure Beach provides fun through the thrills and spills of its rides, the Blackpool Tower Ballroom and the Winter Gardens complex provide all kinds of entertainment from music to dancing to comedy.
Blackpool Tower Ballroom
Blackpool Tower, which houses a world-famous ballroom and Wurlitzer theatre organ below stage when not in use, was opened to the public in 1894. It was inspired by the Eiffel Tower, although differs in the fact that traffic cannot pass underneath it. In 1973, Blackpool Tower, standing at 518 feet, would become a Grade I listed building worthy of protection due to its historical significance.
Inside the Blackpool Tower Ballroom, music is still played in the afternoon to keep dancers in time. Today’s organists alternate between playing the Wurlitzer theatre organ, which rises from the floor on a lift, and an electronic organ. Famous Blackpool organists from the past include the legendary Reginald Dixon, who pioneered the use of the theatre organ for dancing, and Ernest Broadbent. The current resident organist at Blackpool Tower is Phil Kelsall MBE, who has been playing for over 40 years now. The sounds from the organ are heard from its pipes that are installed away from the organ console but connected to it via electric relay switches. The technology can be likened to a telephone exchange. Each instrument will have a separate rank of pipes which are housed in a chamber within the Ballroom.
The dance floor is sprung and a treat for professional dancers and amateur holidaymakers to dance on. They can dance to waltzes, foxtrots, and quicksteps, and pretty much any tune they can request from the organist.
On normally an annual basis, BBC television’s Strictly Come Dancing will broadcast one of their shows from the Blackpool Tower Ballroom. Blackpool is considered the capital of the dancing world. When the show happens, a BBC orchestra will be used and the organ stays underneath the floor.
The Winter Gardens is an entertainment complex for Blackpool. Winter Gardens was the name given to lots of indoor complexes created at seaside resorts to extend their summer seasons into the winter, as the name suggests. This is because it was the time when they were less likely to attract visitors.
Blackpool’s Winter Gardens was built between 1875 and 1878. It was designed by Thomas Mitchell and then added to by Mangnall & Littlewood and J M Boekbinder (1894), Wylson & Long (1897), JC Denham and Andrew Mazzei (1930-1), and Charles McKeith (1939). So, it has been improved upon and re-developed many times to cater to the needs of holidaymakers looking to have a good time, whether watching a live music show, dance show, or comedy act.
The Wurlitzer theatre organ that was installed in the Empress Ballroom in 1934/35 is the original one from the Tower Ballroom.
The Wurlitzer organ inside the Opera House was installed in 1939 and was designed by the then resident organist Horace Finch, to his unique specification.
The Winter Gardens also houses the Pavilion theatre and the Spanish Hall for showcasing live music and talent. The latter is advertised as a space that can be booked for all kinds of events.
Blackpool is known for its 3 piers down what is called “The Golden Mile”. There is a theatre at the North Pier. The Central Pier boasts a Showbar, which is a live music bar. So, plenty of pier entertainment to be had, too.
Other Music Venues in Blackpool
Other notable music venues in Blackpool include the Globe Theatre, Grand Theatre, Flamingo nightclub, Hush nightclub, and The Lounge nightclub. So, we have here two more theatres for music to be performed in, and plenty of nightclubs where there will be DJs producing energetic music. To have so many nightclubs in one town is indicative of Blackpool being a popular seaside resort and tourist hotspot. The nightlife will certainly not disappoint.
So, in Blackpool, we have venues that will take care of the music for dancing, whether it be day or night. There are also plenty of places where live music can be heard, once it can take place again following the pandemic. Blackpool has it all musically, attracting many top acts during the summer season and other times of the year. The famous Blackpool illuminations, which can be seen in the autumn, extend the season just as the Winter Gardens do.