Prestival 2014: Avenham Park could host all-day music festival in September

Posted on - 3rd January, 2014 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Avenham, Music, Preston City Centre, Preston News
Rick Moore is aiming to recall the spirit of the Heineken Weekenders which took place in Avenham Park

Rick Moore is aiming to recall the spirit of the Heineken Weekenders which took place in Avenham Park

Up to 20,000 music fans could flood into Avenham Park for an all-day music festival in September.


Recalling the days of the Heineken Free Music Festival when the likes of Oasis and the Spice Girls performed in the city, the man behind Prestival is Rick Moore.

He has formed the Prestival Community Interest Company and is now working to bring a day of big name acts to the city as well as showcasing local talent.

The 47-year-old who lives in Bamber Bridge wants to see music fans of all ages spend a day enjoying live music.

He said: “The inspiration for Prestival came when I read an interview with Dave Grohl.

“Grohl said it was sad how music these days was becoming so manufactured with the likes of X Factor and the like.

“He said it was a shame how youngsters wouldn’t see the likes of Nirvana [Grohl was the drummer in the legendary rock group] when kids just picked up guitars and jammed in their garage – and then worked their way up to the global stage.”

Moore said he wanted to bottle the local talent in Preston and make sure it has a way to reach a big audience.

“We are going to have one stage at Prestival,” he said, “we want to start the day earlier and ensure that local bands play to the main audience.

“Then we’ll have five or six big name acts performing later on into the evening. I think it’s better than having all the local acts tucked away on a smaller stage.”

Prestival hasn’t confirmed any bands to play yet – other than four or five local acts – but momentum is building. It is pencilled in to take place on Saturday 20 September.

Moore wouldn’t be drawn on who they were in talks with to play, but he did have this to say regarding the line up.

He said: “Let’s just say there will be five or six recognisable acts. They will all have charted. Some of them will be fondly remembered. There is a big 90s revival at the moment, particularly with the Madchester scene. And there will be no acts which have come from reality shows. Prestival is about real music.

“The Heineken weekenders were very popular, and part of that was the quality of the acts playing.”

The Prestival team are currently in talks with Preston City Council about using Avenham Park.

They are applying to start the music from around 10.30am and go through until 11pm, the current cut off point for live entertainment in the park.

Prestival will also seek to lift the 15,000 limit for the crowds, they want to get 20,000 people into the park.

Moore says the council have been supportive, seeing the festival as a way of continuing the legacy of the Preston Guild.

He said: “The applications are in and we’ve been working closely with the parks services. We wanted to use Avenham Park rather than say Moor Park because it’s perfect for an event like this.

“It’s just minutes from the city centre, and you’ve got all the road, rail and bus infrastructure in place.

“Also, it’s just a fantastic venue. A natural ampitheatre. There was a lot of good feedback from acts who performed at the Guild about just how good a venue Avenham Park is.”

Thousands of people were in Avenham Park during the 2012 Preston Guild

Thousands of people were in Avenham Park during the 2012 Preston Guild. Image credit to Bernie Black burn.

Tim Joel, events manager at Preston City Council, said: “We have been approached with a proposal for a weekend music event and we are working with the organiser to test the feasibility before making a decision.

“Events of this nature take a lot of organisation and resources and the council has to be satisfied that the organiser has the plans and resources in place in order to support such an event.”

The festival won’t just run for one day either, Moore say the Prestival team are currently looking at entertainment on the Friday and Sunday at between 10 to 12 venues in the city.

“We want there to be a weekend of entertainment,” said Moore, “and the city to come alive with local bands and nights at different venues.

“We want a fringe weekend, so there’s lots of events on the Friday and then chillout events on the Sunday too.”

On the subject of financing the event, Moore says discussions are progressing well. He says their newly registered status as a community interest company is proving a unique selling point.

He said: “The difference between us and maybe some other festivals is that we’re in this for the long run. Anything we do is about wanting to turn this into an annual event. It has to be sustainable.

“We don’t just want to rock up, have a load of bands play and then it never happens again.”

Prestival will also be donating money to charity. As part of its community aims it is supporting Emmaus Preston, a charity which works to re-home homeless people.

“We want to buy a house for Emmaus,” said Moore, “that sounds like a grand aim but we want to aim big. A percentage of any profits from the festival will go towards supporting Emmaus and getting them another house to help homeless people rebuild their lives.”

Tickets for the festival are expected to be around the £65 mark and Moore hopes to have tickets on sale by April.

More than 50 local bands have already expressed an interest in playing but Moore wants to see more come forward.

Prestival is also looking for local businesses to sponsor the event, but also any in the catering industry should get in touch too via the Prestival website or Facebook page.

What do you think? Would you go to Prestival? Who should they book? Will it work? Let us know in the comments below

Image credit to Brett Biro

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