Preston’s Encounter Festival secures £96,000 from Arts Council England

Posted on - 15th May, 2024 - 6:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Arts, Preston Council, Preston News, What's On in Preston
WILD performance Pic: Garry Jones
WILD have performed at Encounter Festival Pic: Garry Jones

Encounter Festival has secured £96,000 from Arts Council England for the 2024 edition.

Encounter Festival – which will take place on Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 September – has grown since its inception in 2015, with the 2023 edition attracting over 50,000 attendees and featuring more than 2,000 artists and performers.

Commenting on the funding success, Councillor Peter Kelly, Cabinet member for Arts and Culture at Preston City Council, said: “This funding underscores the significance of cultural events like the Encounter Festival in enriching our community, fostering inclusivity, and driving economic vitality.

“It’s a testament to the collaborative efforts of all involved and demonstrates our commitment to making Preston a vibrant cultural hub for all.”

Read more: 15 Preston events for your 2024 calendar

Esther Ferry Kennington, Executive Producer at Encounter Festival, added: “We are delighted to receive support from Arts Council England for our 2024 festival.

“This funding will enable us to continue our mission of providing cultural experiences that engage and inspire audiences across Preston and beyond. We look forward to delivering another outstanding festival and building on our success in the years to come.”

The main aim of the 2024 festival is to increase audience participation by offering a diverse and engaging programme that reflects the rich cultural tapestry of Preston’s communities.

Read more: Preston artist weaves nod to city’s heritage into new Animate Cinema complex

Key highlights of the festival are set to include the Torchlight Procession – which will showcase almost 500 professional artists, amateur performers, and community participants from Preston’s multicultural communities – and The Festival Hub on the Flag Market, curated by Wild Rumpus around the theme of Permission to Play.

The Family Picnic on Winckley Square will offer family-friendly activities and entertainment, while a new partnership with Lancashire company Imitating the Dog will create a trail of digital projection light pieces and performances, adding an exciting new dimension to the festival experience.

Encounter Festival is also a key partner in County of Song 2024, a year-long engagement programme supported by Lancashire County Council, highlighting the county’s heritage and contemporary grassroots singing practices.

Read more: Galloway’s Choir launches in Preston city centre

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This story was made possible by support from you, our readers, and a host of organisations in the city, through our Crowdfund Lancashire appeal, which unlocked support from the Lancashire Culture and Sport Fund provided by Lancashire County Council. You can see all our coverage and, if you know of an arts project or event in the city we should be covering, send details to

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