Everything you need to know about Preston Arts Festival 2021

Posted on - 25th September, 2021 - 12:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Arts, City Centre, Longton & New Longton, Preston City Centre, South Ribble News, Things to Do in and around Preston, What's On in Preston
The Larder Lancaster Road Pic: Tony Worrall
The portrait exhibition opens at The Larder on Monday 4th October. Pic: Tony Worrall

An array of arts activities is set to take place in Preston from next weekend. Opening on Saturday 2 October, with a portrait painting challenge at The Harris, Preston Arts Festival will combine historical guided walks with live music, art exhibitions, talks, photography workshops, poetry and craft and pottery activities.


At the opening event, 20 artists will compete to win a £500 prize. The event runs from 12.30pm to 4pm, it is free to watch and £20 to enter, see the festival brochure for further information. There will be a prize presentation and exhibition opening at The Larder on Monday 4 October at 7pm.

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The festival’s opening concert is free to attend and will feature musician Robin Stopford, the Rawstorne Singers and singer Pippa Long performing in the presence of the city’s Mayor, Javed Iqbal. It takes place at St George’s Church, PR1 2NP from 2pm on Sunday 3 October.

A sunny day in Winckley Square Pic: Tony Worrall
Guided walks will take place in Winckley Square Pic: Tony Worrall


Friends of Winckley Square will be hosting six guided walks exploring Preston’s history. They begin on Sunday 3 October with an exploration of Churchgate and Fishergate, where Preston’s rich and powerful families lived until factory building in the late 18th Century. Other walks will explore women’s rights in the 19th century, the extraordinary women of Winckley Square, discovering the ancient settlement beneath modern Preston, the Edith Rigby trail and a guided walk that visist key locations around the city centre, including the site of the first gas works. The walks cost £4 per person and booking is recommended as numbers are limited.

Book through Eventbrite or contact for further information.

The Ferret Pic: Tony Worrall
Performances will take place at The Ferret, Continental, The Larder and St George’s Church Pic: Tony Worrall


The festival will also feature performances by Ska Face, playing 2-Tone classics, at The Continental on Saturday 2 October starting at 8pm. Tickets are £10 plus booking fee from the Ska Face website.

On Sunday 3 October, people are invited to turn up and bring their instruments to Preston Scratch Band to perform classic songs from across the decades. The session is open to all levels of experience and ability. They promise that the results will be a little raucous, far from slick, but fun for everyone. No audience, just participants. £5 cash on the door at The Larder, from 1pm to 3pm. 

Also on Sunday 3 October, The Ron Hayes Big Band will play Stan Kenton, Count Basie, Woody Herman, and Duke Ellington at The Continental. Doors open at 1.30pm. Tickets are £10 advance or £12 on the door (under 11s go free with ticket holders). Tickets are available from Skiddle. 

On Monday 4 October, The Woodentops will be playing at The Ferret as part of their Wooden Foot Cops On The Highway Tour 2021. Taking place from 7pm to 11pm, the minimum age is 14 and tickets cost from £14 plus booking fees.

There will be an open mic poetry evening on Wednesday 6 October at 7.30pm with Damson Poets at The Continental. This event is free but there will be a collection.

On Thursday 7 October, from 7.30pm to 11pm, Nick Harper presents an evening of music at The Ferret.

Friday 8 October sees Tool Shed – The Tool Tribute from Liverpool perform music from progressive rock titans TOOL, from 8pm to 10.55pm at The Continental.

On Saturday 9 October from 8pm to 3am, BEATS OF RAGE will present Nathan Fake at The Ferret.

Then on Saturday 9 October, starting at 7.30 pm, there will be a concert celebrating some of the finest story telling of our Musical Theatre heritage ranging from Showboat to Dear Evan Hansen. It will feature a wide collection of musical numbers that dealt with some of the social issues of the day. Tickets are £10 and the concert takes place at St George’s Church, PR1 2NP.

Also on Saturday 9 October, from 8pm to 9pm, the Peter Bruntnell Band will be performing at The Continental.

Then on Sunday 10 October Lavinia Blackwall (ex-Trembling Bells) and her band Stilton are joined by The Amber List from 7.30pm to 10.30pm for a groovy Sunday Shindig at The Ferret.


A variety of workshops will be taking place throughout the festival including a walk/photography shoot workshop focussing on portrait photography using natural light in Winckley Square Gardens. This will take place on Sunday 3 October 10.30am to 1pm. Tickets are £4 and can be booked via Eventbrite.

A further walk/photography workshop takes place in Winckley Square Gardens on Tuesday 5 October from 11am to 12.30pm. This one is on developing skills when framing the image and managing the light. Again, the cost is £4 per person, with booking via Eventbrite.

On Tuesday 5 October there will be a poetry workshop at The Larder from 2pm to 4pm, costing £5.

A mark making workshop hosted by Preston Art Society is taking place on Tuesday 5 October, from 7.30pm to 9.30pm, at St Margaret’s Parish Centre, Ingol, PR2 3ZU. It’s £5 entry

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An Evening with Preston Card Makers, making birthday and Christmas cards, takes place on Wednesday 6 October from 7pm at Ashton Community Centre. Contact Kath Derbyshire on 07825091278 or for more information.

Fired4U is hosting an adults evening of pottery painting on Wednesday 6 October, and a Halloween-themed craft and pottery painting session for pre-school aged children on Thursday 7 October. Contact Fired4U for details.

On Sunday 10 October at 10am, freelance photographer and member of Preston Photographic Society, Ryszard Kosik, will lead an innovative workshop in the Winckley Square Gardens providing guidance and feedback on his creative approach to photography. Bookings are via Eventbrite or contact for further information.

The Artistry House reception area
The Artistry House will be hosting an exhibition of paintings by their in-house artist Norman Long.


From Friday 1 October to Saturday 9 October, The Artistry House team opens their beautifully renovated Winckley Square property for an exhibition of paintings by their in-house artist Norman Long. The exhibition is an eclectic collection of work stretching through the whole house.

There are different events being held including a free preview with wine on Friday 1 October from 4pm to 8pm at The Artistry House, 16 Winckley Square, PR1 3JJ.

On Monday 4, Wednesday 6, Thursday 7 and  Friday 8 October from 10am to 12.45pm, The Extraordinary Women of Winckley Square exhibition is open at Central Methodist Church, Lune Street, PR1 2NL.


On Tuesday 5 October, An Introduction to Musicals of the 21st Century – a talk and demonstration given by Katy Bradley – will take place from 1.30pm to 2.30pm. It’s £5 cash on the door at St Mary’s Community Centre, Leyland, PR25 1PD. Contact or 01772 933042 for more information.

On Saturday 9 October the Behind the Blue Door open house art exhibition with artist talk, My Artwork and My Inspiration by Norman Long, takes place at The Artistry House from 1pm to 2.30pm. Booking is essential for the talk at Eventbrite.


From Wednesday 6 to Saturday 9 October, Broughton Players present Easy Terms, a comedy by Phil Vickery. Starting at 7.30pm at Preston Playhouse, Market St West, PR1 2HB. Tickets are £10 from 01772 744771.

Dean Taylor productions present Sir Walter and his Queen (Raleigh’s Greatest Gamble), a play by Dennis Crompton, on Thursday 7 October from 7.30pm. Tickets are £10 on the door, and it’s £8 each for groups of four or more. Taking place at St Andrew’s Community Centre, Longton, PR4 5AA.

On Friday 8 October at 7.30pm, heart-warming and provocative one-woman show Catch 22 Years will challenge perceptions of recovering from addiction and self-discovery. Written and performed by Katie O’Brien. Tickets are £8 and the venue is to be confirmed – see social media for updates.

Preston Arts Festival Finale Concert takes place on Sunday 10 October at 7pm. Tickets are £10 per person and available from TicketSource or with cash on the door at St. George’s Church, PR1 2NP.

For further information regarding any of the events, see the Preston Arts Festival brochure or go to the Preston Arts Association website and click on ‘Festival’.

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