Empress Ballroom, Winter Gardens
Empress Ballroom, Winter Gardens Blackpool Reviews
Empress Ballroom May 09, 2010
The Empress Ballroom is a fantastic venue in the Winter Gardens in Blackpool. The Winter Gardens are themselves something of a diamond in a dunghill – a fantastic, beautiful set of venues and exhibition halls that somehow manage to remain classy towering above the candyfloss stalls, gypsies and totally random regeneration projects of Blackpool seafront. The magnificent frontage,, for example, is almost totally hidden from the sea front by a shopping street that looks about twenty years old and could easily have been made a couple of metres wider to allow the impact of the building to remain in place. Sigh.
Back to the venue. The Empress Ballroom has amazing chandeliers, fantastic tile work, and an incredible ceiling. There is a fully sprung floor, which makes jumping up and down at an Indie gig much easier on the calf muscles but I think is actually designed for dancing – I am told this is where they film strictly come dancing. There are enough bars where the queues are rarely significant, and the acoustics are great. Just make sure you are seeing a good band here, because if you aren’t, you’ll spend the whole time gawking at the ceilings.
The only down side is the approach to letting you out. In order to manage the crowds, the venue staff had shut off access to all except one toilet block, which was nowhere near enough to cater for several thousand people leaving a gig at once. There were only four women’s cubicles and in desperation, people started using the men’s and the bouncer had to come and have a go. There’s easily another three or four ladies toilets they could have opened up. It’s a real shame that an otherwise perfect venue is spoiled by overzealous toilet shutting.
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