Scottish singer Blondell and Blackpool Promotions are renaming one of the seaside town’s best known attractions for a series of rock’n’roll weekends that they hope could attract some big name performers.
In conjunction with its owner Revoe Leisure, the pair are rebranding the Central Club as Blondell Street for the show that celebrates 50 years of rock’n’roll. Blondell – who last year performed in Blackpool as Raymond Blondell when he opened for Jerry Lee Lewis – will be headlining, but will be joined by the legendary TCB Band featuring former Elvis Presley musicians James Burton, Glen Hardin and Jerry Scheff. Presley’s backing vocalists The Sweet Inspirations will also perform along with drummer Paul Leim.
Jim O’Neill, from Blackpool Promotions, said: “We see this is as the start of something big in Blackpool. The venue is a great place with a capacity of 600 and we will be marketing the shows throughout the country. As well as appealing to people who live in the area or are already visiting we see it as helping the tourism trade by bringing new people into town.”
Blondell’s 50 Years of Rock ‘n’ Roll will have various price tiers. Basic tickets from shows on July 8, 15, 22 and 29 cost £25, but there are also local VIP packages at £49 for July 8, 9, 14, 15 and 16, which include a champagne reception, the chance to meet the TCB Band and the Sweet Inspirations, a hot and cold buffet, tour programme and free CD.
Following Blondell’s shows, Blackpool Promotions is hoping to bring former chart-topping soul star Percy Sledge over for two dates in late July. O’Neill is also hoping to attract acts such as Kris Kristofferson, Michael Bolton and Willie Nelson to the resort – probably for the Opera House – and he is even optimistic for a Jerry Lee Lewis 70th birthday show in the town.
“Blackpool has the accommodation as well as having good airport and motorway access,” he said. “They would be exclusive Blackpool dates and not part of a tour. Their appeal will be their exclusivity. I am amazed in a place with Blackpool’s reputation for live entertainment that no one is already doing something like this.”