Preston Arts Festival returns to the city for the 15th time

Preston Arts Festival is into to its 15th year and after two weeks of great events, there is still another two weeks to come.

The annual festival is an integral part of the art and culture of Preston – this year is no exception.

Vincent Smith, chairman of the Preston Arts Association, said: “It’s bigger than previously. It’s ran slightly over three weeks this year compared to the usual two weeks, so we’ve got more great events in it.”

Michael Foreman, one of the country’s most famous writers and illustrators of children’s books, is among many famous names involved in this year’s festival.

Foreman, known for ‘War Game’ and ‘Dinosaurs and all That Rubbish’, took part in an exhibition at the Harris Museum and was part of the first event of the Preston Arts Festival.

Picture taken at Preston Arts Festival 2008

Unsurprisingly, music is an integral part of the festival and according to BlogPreston, Mike Cracknell, Secretary of Preston Arts Association said: “The range of music on offer in the festival is quite staggering. You can go and listen to a recital by up and coming pianist Jacob Byrne, or come and see Two Apiece, a guitar and violin duo with repertoire from Bach to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody.”

BBC Young Musician of the Year, Andrew Woolcock was part of the Preston Arts Festival opening concert, which also saw an appearance from the Preston Opera Company in one of the biggest events of the festival.

The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra also featured in the first week’s events, with the Guild Hall hosting a night of classical music.

Preston Playhouse was later graced with Longton Players’ production of ‘Building Blocks’, a comedy by Bob Larbey.

The Playhouse also has the line-up of the Celebration of Youth event to come, with another performance from Andrew Woolcock, singers from the Jopson Music Academy, The Pauline Quirke Academy and dancers from the Carol May’s Academy.

A display by Susan Walsh and artist Lubaina Himid MBE is the next exhibition on the agenda, with the Preston-based artists offering an exclusive opportunity to see a selection of works created for the Tetley Gallery in Leeds.

The most unique event of the festival is an evening of traditional Moravian folk music. The night includes a continental style supper and wines from the Czech Republic.

Preston Arts Festival magazine

‘Startime Spectacular’ features appearances from top comedian Johnnie Casson, the renowned illusionist Mark Raffles, piano vocalist Anne Gaelan and a Shirley Bassey tribute band.

From music to art, Fulwood Methodist Church is to host an Art and Crafts Fair with a wide variety of arts and crafts stalls to explore on Saturday 22 October.

The penultimate event of the Preston Arts Festival sees Preston’s own jazz legend The Harold Salisbury Quartet provide the finale for the festival at The Ferret pub.

For more information about the upcoming events check out their magazine.