Belfast Telegraph

Monday 28 July 2014

ZingZillas swinging into Belfast Christmas lights switch-on

Zing when you're winning: The ZingZillas

They are the music superstars of the toddler world and they're swinging in to Belfast to ensure the only monkeying around at this year's Christmas lights switch-on will be onstage.

The name ZingZillas might trigger a puzzled frown from those over the age of six who do not have kids, but the four musical primates who star in their own CBeebies show have duetted with a cast of world-famous musicians and sold out concerts across the UK.

Kids love them and parents across the country are forced to sing and dance along.

The pre-schoolers' heroes will be swinging in from their monkey-shaped tropical island on November 17 to press the big button and make Belfast City Hall sparkle.

The all-singing and dancing quartet have performed with the likes of Belfast flautist James Galway, cellist Julian Lloyd Webber and jazz singer Cleo Laine.

Their EPs and albums have repeatedly reached number one on the Children's iTunes chart and they have performed at packed concerts across the UK.

Gavin Robinson, Lord Mayor of Belfast, said he was looking forward to welcoming Zac the gorilla, Panzee the chimp, Tang the orangutan and Drum the golden marmoset to the city.

“Christmas is a time for family and children especially so, as in previous years, we've aimed our event at younger audiences.

“We've seen big stars in Belfast — particularly in the last year — and the ZingZillas are the latest celebrities to add to that long list,” he said.

After all the “monkeying around” at last year's over-crowded Belfast Christmas lights switch-on, it is hoped a ticketed event this year will ensure the only ape-like activity will be onstage.

Last year's debacle saw around 20,000 people squeezed into a 10,000-person capacity area.

After the event, the Belfast Telegraph reported that scuffles broke out among audience members and some parents took their children home early because of the overcrowding.

Pre-school children's favourite Justin Fletcher took to the stage but Postman Pat and local singer Niamh Perry's acts were cancelled as a crowd-control measure.

A spokesman from Belfast City Council said this year's ticketed event is an attempt to host a “safer” event.

He also revealed that tickets will also be colour coded to direct people to different entrances on the evening.

“As a council we are always looking at different ways of organising the event and making it as safe as possible to maximise people's enjoyment.

“Last year was a complete anomaly. We didn't expect so many people to turn up to see that act. This year we have decided to ticket the event.

In addition to the ZingZillas, the Barazine youth choir will perform on the night while the event will be compered by Julian Simmons.

The Christmas Continental Market will also open earlier that day at noon.

Tickets for the Christmas lights switch-on, limited to four per person are available at Belfast Welcome Centre from November 6.

For more information visit www.belfastcity.gov.uk/christmas

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