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Entertainment line-up for Countdown to Christmas unveiled

THE full entertainment line-up has today been announced for Newport Now’s Countdown to Christmas family fun event.

Running from 2.45pm to 5.15pm, Countdown to Christmas will feature live music, fairground rides and celebrity guests, culminating in the official switching on of Newport’s city centre Christmas lights and a breath-taking fireworks display.

Organised by the Newport Now Business Improvement District (BID) in partnership with Newport City Council, Friars Walk and Newport City Radio, Countdown to Christmas will mirror the BID’s hugely-successful previous events with the main stage based at the junction of Charles Street and Commercial Street.

Last year’s event attracted more than 7,000 additional people into the city centre compared with an average Saturday.

The November 18 event will be hosted by presenters from Newport City Radio with acts on stage varying from local bands to the cast of the city’s pantomime to a star of the West End.

This year’s Countdown to Christmas will start with some energetic pop music from Newport-based Ukrainian singer-songwriter Lietta.

She will be followed by Newport band The Rogues, who are currently touring the UK but are taking time out to take the stage in their home city for Countdown to Christmas.

Formed in 2021, the indie rock band have been played on BBC Radio Wales and their song Skinny Dipping was featured on Match of The Day.

One-handed performer, Right Keys Only, works tirelessly to create and promote opportunities for disabled musicians. Her magnetic personality draws people in as she delivers her unique style of music, blending pulsating dance rhythms with heartfelt lyrics and stories that everyone understands.

Right Keys Only has entertained the people of Newport at several events throughout 2023 and never fails to wow her audience.

West End star Sophie Evans will be topping the bill at Countdown to Christmas, singing a selection of family and festive favourites.

Sophie’s West End roles have included Dorothy in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s production of The Wizard of Oz, and Glinda in Wicked. She has been a regular performer at Countdown to Christmas, and last year appeared as part of the Welsh of the West End group.

Sophie is also a television presenter for programmes such as the BBC’s Sunday Morning Live.

Father Christmas will be making an appearance, along with stars of the Riverfront Theatre’s Beauty and the Beast panto.

The event will also include fairground rides along on the riverfront from noon to 9pm.

A Newport community champion will be helping the city’s mayor Councillor Trevor Watkins push the button to light up the city centre for the festive season at 5pm before the fireworks display at 5.15pm. Their identity will be revealed next week, along with the full running order for the event and one more surprise for a group of lucky Newport primary school pupils.

Countdown to Christmas is the latest in a series of city centre events organised or funded by Newport Now BID, a private company representing and funded by more than 600 city centre businesses.

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