Canopies to transform Preston during three-day arts festival

CGI of canopies planned for the centre of Preston as part of Setember's festival
CGI of canopies planned for the centre of Preston as part of Setember's festival
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The centre of Preston is to be transformed with canopies and lanterns as part of a three-day festival.

The event, planned to coincide with Pride and Freshers’ Week, will see the People’s Canopy wheeled by cyclists from the University of Central Lancashire into the Flag Market, and link together key parts of Preston.

The major event, hosted by Preston Council, is to be a pilot to test ideas for a Lancashire Festival biennial launching next year, to “bridge the gap” between Guilds.

Organisers have now launched an artist commission call out, seeking works and performances to run during the festival.

Preston Council’s cabinet member for culture and leisure services, Coun Veronica Afrin, said: “The spirit of the Guild and celebration is there, and it’s about us responding to what people expect as entertainment. It’s a very lively place now and I think it’s about having a celebration of what Preston is about.”

Council bosses say proposals need to be “ambitious, dynamic, high quality” and must have a “participatory element”.

The festival is to run from September 25 to 27, and is hoped to “build a solid case” for an Arts Council England (ACE) bid for a biennial event to launch next year.

The cost of the festival is expected to be about £65,000.

Forming the centre piece of this year’s festival will be the People’s Canopy, commissioned by In Certain Places and designed by the People’s Architecture Office from China. The canopies will first be seen in Preston at the University of Central Lancashire for Freshers’ Week, and will move into the city centre in time for the festival.

Professor of Public Art Practice at UCLan, Charles Quick, said: “In Certain Places commissioned the Harris Flights for the Flag Market in 2013, which still lasts in people’s memory. This time we wanted to connect the city centre with other spaces in the city.”

·A full schedule of the festival is yet to be confirmed, but Pride and Run Preston will form part of the programme.

To make a submission, visit www.preston.gov.uk/yourservices/events/get-involved-with-events/artistic-commissions-call/.