Westlife lined up for Norfolk gig

They have had a number one single, a number one album and switched on the world famous Oxford Street Christmas lights - all in the last few weeks. And now Irish boy band Westlife have been confirmed as the first big name to appear at next summer's Blickling gigs.

They have had a number one single, a number one album and switched on the world famous Oxford Street Christmas lights - all in the last few weeks.

And now Irish boy band Westlife have been confirmed as the first big name to appear at next summer's Blickling gigs.

The series of concerts, which will feature five or six nights of entertainment across two weekends, has become a firm favourite in Norfolk's leisure calendar.

Previous stars appearing at Blickling have ranged from pop to rock and young to ageing, including Tom Jones, Meat Loaf, Will Young, Jools Holland, Bryan Adams, Sir Cliff Richard and Ronan Keating.

Westlife will play on July 15, the first Saturday of the two weekends, and tickets go on sale today.

With 13 number one hits, the band are currently back in the news because of their recent success with the single You Raise Me Up and accompanying album Face To Face.

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And the foursome of Kian Egan, Shane Filan, Mark Feehily and Nicky Byrne could make it 14 number ones at Christmas with the release of When You Tell Me That You Love Me, a duet with Diana Ross set for release on December 19.

The single has already been hotly tipped to be this year's Christmas number one.

Blickling is in good company with its continuing ability to attract such big acts. Westlife's other gigs in 2006 will include Wembley Arena, Newcastle Arena, Birmingham NEC and Sheffield Arena.

“We hope this year's season of concerts will be bigger and better than ever,” said concert organiser David Heartfield.

“Not only do we have Westlife but a series of other great names will be announced in the New Year.”

Regular visitors to gigs at the National Trust property will see a new feature this year. Big screens showing the performers will be introduced, so taking some of the pressure away from the front of stage area.

Mr Heartfield said he hoped the new screens would “enhance the experience of concert goers”.

And as long as the appropriate permissions are granted, the capacity of the concerts will increase slightly from 9000 to 10,000 this year.

Promoters have also issued a warning to people not to be caught out by ticket touts and only to buy tickets from the official outlets.

They said that the popularity of concerts at Blickling had led to “unscrupulous” traders, particularly on-line, taking advantage of fans.

The advice issued was to check with the official outlets first, which may have tickets left even though sellers were already trying to make a mark-up on the internet.

t Tickets are priced at £37.50 and are available from today by various methods, including:

Call 08700 460 461, operating 24 hours and including a booking fee

Or call Blickling Hall on 0870 010 4900, which also includes a booking fee, although personal callers paying by cash or cheque pay no booking fee.

Alternatively log on to www.ticketline.co.uk .

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