Families left cold by Stafford Christmas Lights switch-on

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Hundreds of people were left disgruntled after sound problems plagued the Christmas Lights switch on event in Stafford.

Many have taken to social media to complain after many in the large crowd were unable to hear live acts.

It also caused a 42-minute delay for the countdown, the switch-on by 11-year-old leukaemia sufferer Orla Fielder, and the firework display.

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Local DJ Lee Middleton, 34, was outraged by the organisation of the event.

“Keeping young children waiting for almost 45 minutes is really not acceptable,” he said.

“There was a distinct lack of festive feel to the entire thing and people left in their hundreds – cold, bored and fed up.

“The fireworks were not a patch on last year, the lights look nice but didn’t come on straight away.

“All in all, I was very disappointed and so were my kids.”

John Marsh, 53, from Cannock, said it was a shame, especially for the children.

“Don’t people realise this is the bit that starts Santa on his way for them?

“Cold and disappointed is not the way to start off the holiday season.”

Jessica Bell, 24, from Hixon, and her three-year-old had a different view of the event: “We both thought they were brilliant today – Harry more so because his favourite cartoon character, Mike the Knight, was there!”

“There was a guy who passed out in front of us during the countdown for the lights though and it took a good 10 minutes before anybody could get to him – but the lights and fireworks, music, acts and the atmosphere were as good as ever!”

Live acts included the Military Wives Choir, Harley and Jake with their DJ and drumming set, and a preview of Stafford Gatehouse Theatre’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Panto along with the cast of Sleeping Beauty.

Local bands also included Neomantix, Minefield and Naked Sunday.

A spokesman for Stafford Borough Council said they had taken on an ambition programme to give more local bands a chance to play on stage, which resulted in the event over-running.

“We did have a new stage and sound crew this year and with performances running over it made it difficult to carry out as many sound checks as we would have liked,” he said.

“We hope it did not completely spoil what was a wonderful day and evening of activities and will be looking to make any necessary improvements for future events.”

(Additional reporting by Matthew Sargeant)

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