ROLL UP: Preston festival’s now a moveable feast...

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Preston’s summer arts and events programme is going to be a moveable feast this year.

While acts perform in the city’s Flag Market, audiences are now being accommodated on benches with wheels.

Summer lunchtime performances have started with Dr Butler's Hat Stand Medicine Band, on the Flag Market in Preston

Summer lunchtime performances have started with Dr Butler's Hat Stand Medicine Band, on the Flag Market in Preston

This week saw the first show in the summer series, by Dr Butler’s Hatstand Medicine Band, with families watching from the new seats.

The benches with distinctive blue wheels, known as Preston bench, can be moved to suit specific events and are part of the transformation of the Flag Market into a “place to go”.

Tuesday’s performance was the first in the summer schedule, ahead of Armed Forces Day, Revival Vintage Fair, Summer Party with Rebecca Keatley, from CBeebies, and Giant Games Day.

Coun Veronica Afrin, executive member for culture and leisure services for Preston Council, said: “We are excited to launch the events schedule for the summer and develop the Flag Market as a city centre venue for a wide range of 
activities.

The benches are the culmination of a design partnership between In Certain Places and Research Design, crafted from sustainable hardwood by local joiner Smithy Joinery.

Coun Veronica Afrin

“The lunchtime performances that will take place throughout the summer will bring added charm to the city centre, while the weekend events offer diversity that will cater to all ages.”

The benches are the culmination of a design partnership between In Certain Places and Research Design, crafted from sustainable hardwood by local joiner Smithy Joinery.

They were commissioned as part of the council’s ambition to develop the Flag Market as a “cultural destination” and “beating heart of the city”.

Their wheels mean they can be reconfigured to suit different events, and can seat up to 10 people.

Summer lunchtime performances have started with Dr Butler's Hat Stand Medicine Band, on the Flag Market in Preston

Summer lunchtime performances have started with Dr Butler's Hat Stand Medicine Band, on the Flag Market in Preston

Professor Charles Quick, curator for In Certain Places, said: “In Certain Places has had a long relationship with the Flag Market since 2006 when we installed Jeppe Hein’s water work Appearing Rooms and more recently with the Harris Flights.

“We are very pleased that we are able to contribute to the continued development of the space for social and events activities with the unique Preston Bench. Now the city has its own bench we look forward to seeing more of them about the city.”