Preston’s pop-up Mobile Event Tent finally launches

Posted on - 14th May, 2022 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Arts, City Centre, Preston City Centre, Preston Council, Preston News, UCLan, What's On in Preston
Preston Mela dancers at The MET launch Pic: Michael Porter Photography
Preston Mela dancers at The MET launch Pic: Michael Porter Photography

Preston’s new interactive Mobile Event Tent (MET) has launched almost a year later than planned.

The MET is one of Preston’s pop-up projects, financed from £1 million of initial funding the city secured from the government’s Towns Fund for a series of regeneration projects in the Harris Quarter.

The original plan was for The Met to be launched in July 2021, however a ‘series of setbacks’ was blamed when it still hadn’t opened by September. It was then expected to launch during autumn before closing for winter and reopening for a full spring programme.

Read more: Preston events rearranged as £500,000 Mobile Event Tent falls behind schedule

Situated at the former Indoor Market site, The MET will offer a full programme of live, creative events for the community.

The programme starts today (Saturday 14 May) with the Bordello Collective’s All Together But Different storytelling event, reflecting on Preston residents’ experiences over the last 18 months of the pandemic. 

Inside The MET Pic: Michael Porter Photography
Inside The MET Pic: Michael Porter Photography

The contemporary structure of The MET has been designed and developed in Preston, in partnership with architect Charlie Mackeith of Research Design, and Professor Charles Quick of In Certain Places, UCLan

The interior walls have been decorated by artist Jenny Steele, who was commissioned to work with Preston’s diverse cultural groups to create representative art works. An explanatory video from Jenny can be watched below or on YouTube.

The octangular-form design is made up from specially adapted shipping containers, along with a state-of-the-art ‘stretch tent’ fabric cover. The result is a multi-use and creative space, spanning 150 square metre space and able to accommodate up to 100 people.

It is hoped that The MET will play a key role in encouraging people back into the city centre, generating economic activity, and providing work for local artists. After the summer, The Met will move on to various other locations across Preston to host community, networking, live arts and music events.

Read more: ‘A real buzz’ – Lancashire Fringe Festival off to a great start in Preston

John Chesworth, Executive Chairman of Harrison Drury Solicitors and Chair of the Preston Towns Fund Board said: “The MET is the key project in our Towns Fund Pop-Ups plan which will act as a catalyst to bring life back into the city, and lead into the delivery of our substantive Towns Fund projects, which are targeted to improve the cultural assets of Preston.

“The achievements of Professor Charles Quick, his team and architect Charlie Mackeith in designing from scratch and delivering The MET in such a short time period is remarkable.

“It speaks a great deal about the ambition of Preston and its ‘go-ahead’ attitude, to do something so fresh and innovative.

“Because the MET is mobile, we hope it will provide entertainment, art and culture at locations throughout the city, bringing the experience to residents and visitors across Preston.”

To find out what’s on at The Met, visit Eventbrite.

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