News | World News | Thousands turn out for Oxford Street Christmas lights switch-on - but there's no big countdown

Thousands turn out for Oxford Street Christmas lights switch-on - but there's no big countdown

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Christmas is here! Thousands turn out for Oxford Street festive lights switch-on but instead of a big button there was a series of intimate gigs in stores

  • The Christmas lights switch-on took place at 6pm this evening but there was no big countdown this year
  • Instead organisers put on a series of intimate gigs at stores along the road, including Ray BLK and Novelist
  • The words Christmas is calling were lit up along the road including an abbreviated version of Oxford Street
  • Lights now festoon the entire length of Oxford Street and include 1,778 baubles and 750,000 LED bulbs

By James Wood For Mailonline

Published: 16:20 EST, 6 November 2018 | Updated: 17:23 EST, 6 November 2018

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The festive season is officially underway in London as thousands arrived on Oxford Street to watch the Christmas lights be switched on - but in a break from tradition there was no big countdown this year.

Instead, organisers arranged for local musicians including Ray BLK, Novelist and Kara Marni to perform a series of intimate gigs in stores along the road.

But the new format did not stop crowds gathering in their thousands to watch the twinkling lights brighten up the street.

This year featuring the message 'Christmas is calling', the lights dazzled crowds with a variety of different colours and shapes.

They now festoon the entire length of Oxford Street and include 1,778 baubles and 750,000 LED bulbs. 

Of particular note were hundreds of globe shaped lights producing a canvas effect above pedestrians. Punters were also treated to more than 90 stores offering special offers, giveaways and even free prosecco. 

This year marked the 59th year of the Oxford Street Christmas lights switch-on. Previous celebrities to have done the honours include Rita Ora in 2017 and Daniel Craig in 2016.   

This year's Christmas lights switch-on did not feature the traditional countdown and big button. Instead, organisers arranged for a series of intimate gigs at stores along the road. Artists performing included Ray BLK, Novelist and Kara Marni
This year's Christmas lights switch-on did not feature the traditional countdown and big button. Instead, organisers arranged for a series of intimate gigs at stores along the road. Artists performing included Ray BLK, Novelist and Kara Marni

This year's Christmas lights switch-on did not feature the traditional countdown and big button. Instead, organisers arranged for a series of intimate gigs at stores along the road. Artists performing included Ray BLK, Novelist and Kara Marni

Thousands turned out for the Oxford Street Christmas lights switch-on at 6pm this evening. Punters were treated to exclusive offers and giveaways at stores along the road - who were vying for Christmas traffic in the run-up to the festive period 
Thousands turned out for the Oxford Street Christmas lights switch-on at 6pm this evening. Punters were treated to exclusive offers and giveaways at stores along the road - who were vying for Christmas traffic in the run-up to the festive period 

Thousands turned out for the Oxford Street Christmas lights switch-on at 6pm this evening. Punters were treated to exclusive offers and giveaways at stores along the road - who were vying for Christmas traffic in the run-up to the festive period 

This year's lights featured the message Christmas is calling, which has also been circulating as a hashtag online. Above those words an abbreviation of Oxford Street can also be seen - in the form of Ox St
This year's lights featured the message Christmas is calling, which has also been circulating as a hashtag online. Above those words an abbreviation of Oxford Street can also be seen - in the form of Ox St

This year's lights featured the message Christmas is calling, which has also been circulating as a hashtag online. Above those words an abbreviation of Oxford Street can also be seen - in the form of Ox St

Excited Londoners get in on the festive spirit, snapping selfies and photographs of the remarkable display. This year's lights feature a variety of different colours and images 
Excited Londoners get in on the festive spirit, snapping selfies and photographs of the remarkable display. This year's lights feature a variety of different colours and images 

Excited Londoners get in on the festive spirit, snapping selfies and photographs of the remarkable display. This year's lights feature a variety of different colours and images 

The Christmas lights on Oxford Street (pictured) now festoon the entire length of the road and include 1,778 baubles and 750,000 LED bulbs
The Christmas lights on Oxford Street (pictured) now festoon the entire length of the road and include 1,778 baubles and 750,000 LED bulbs

The Christmas lights on Oxford Street (pictured) now festoon the entire length of the road and include 1,778 baubles and 750,000 LED bulbs

At 6pm, traffic was halted at the Circus treating shoppers, passers-by and local workers to a surprise pop up performance from the New York Brass Band and eye-catching LED poi dancers, as well as entertainment from the striking festive Joy Jesters. 

Later Mercury Prize nominee Novelist, from South London, performed with DJ Karlton Philips at JD Sports, treating a packed crowd to tracks from his debut album ‘Novelist Guy.’

While singer and songwriter Isaac Waddington, wowed at Uniqlo with a full band performance and jazz-inflected tracks.

The evening, organised in conjunction with Capital XTRA, marked the first of many ‘surprise’ moments to be expected across Oxford Street in the run up to Christmas.

There is to be a seven week campaign at Oxford Street which will see its retailers delivering a series of seasonally themed in-store shopping experiences, including 50 surprise Christmas shopping treats.

These will include exclusive products and enhanced shopping services, such as an insta-famous Quality Street pop-up and beauty masterclasses in House of Fraser.

There will also be weekly surprise appearances from the streets ‘Joy Jesters’ and personal shopping sessions up and down the street.

Huge crowds arrived on Oxford Street before the lights were switched on, but there was no big countdown this year. Unlike previous years in which stars including Rita Ora and Daniel Craig have switched the lights on
Huge crowds arrived on Oxford Street before the lights were switched on, but there was no big countdown this year. Unlike previous years in which stars including Rita Ora and Daniel Craig have switched the lights on

Huge crowds arrived on Oxford Street before the lights were switched on, but there was no big countdown this year. Unlike previous years in which stars including Rita Ora and Daniel Craig have switched the lights on

This year the lights took the form of a series of spheres which lit up the road in a dazzling display. They were joined by the words Christmas is calling and an abbreviated version of Oxford Street
This year the lights took the form of a series of spheres which lit up the road in a dazzling display. They were joined by the words Christmas is calling and an abbreviated version of Oxford Street

This year the lights took the form of a series of spheres which lit up the road in a dazzling display. They were joined by the words Christmas is calling and an abbreviated version of Oxford Street

It wasn't just lights above the road that lit up Oxford Street. There were a number of performers, including Atmosphere, who dazzled punters with their glittering antics 
It wasn't just lights above the road that lit up Oxford Street. There were a number of performers, including Atmosphere, who dazzled punters with their glittering antics 

It wasn't just lights above the road that lit up Oxford Street. There were a number of performers, including Atmosphere, who dazzled punters with their glittering antics 

The words Christmas is calling were seen above Oxford Street this evening as the Christmas lights were officially switched on
The words Christmas is calling were seen above Oxford Street this evening as the Christmas lights were officially switched on
There was not big button this year however, but instead of series of intimate gigs at stores along the road. Pictured is Oxford Street after the Christmas lights switch-on
There was not big button this year however, but instead of series of intimate gigs at stores along the road. Pictured is Oxford Street after the Christmas lights switch-on

The words Christmas is calling were seen above Oxford Street this evening as the Christmas lights were officially switched on. There was not big button this year however, but instead of series of intimate gigs at stores along the road 

Crowds arrived in their thousands to watch the Christmas lights be switched on along Oxford Street. They are this year lit up in a series globes and messages with the words Christmas is calling 
Crowds arrived in their thousands to watch the Christmas lights be switched on along Oxford Street. They are this year lit up in a series globes and messages with the words Christmas is calling 

Crowds arrived in their thousands to watch the Christmas lights be switched on along Oxford Street. They are this year lit up in a series globes and messages with the words Christmas is calling 

The dazzling display lit up Oxford Street this evening as crowds arrived in their thousands to watch the Christmas lights be switched on. The official Oxford Street website said there were more than 90 stores celebrating with exclusive offers, giveaways, beauty treatments, prosecco, and unmissable moments
The dazzling display lit up Oxford Street this evening as crowds arrived in their thousands to watch the Christmas lights be switched on. The official Oxford Street website said there were more than 90 stores celebrating with exclusive offers, giveaways, beauty treatments, prosecco, and unmissable moments

The dazzling display lit up Oxford Street this evening as crowds arrived in their thousands to watch the Christmas lights be switched on. The official Oxford Street website said there were more than 90 stores celebrating with exclusive offers, giveaways, beauty treatments, prosecco, and unmissable moments

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