Preston's Encounter Festival 2023 declared a resounding success as 50,000 people enjoy three-day extravaganza

Organisers have hailed this year’s Encounters Festival a great success and revealed planning is already under way for next year’s event.
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The three-day extravaganza transformed the heart of Preston into a vibrant hub of creativity, unity, and celebration.

With a diverse line-up of performances, workshops, and activities, Encounter Festival 2023 upheld its reputation as a cultural milestone in the Preston calendar.

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Officials estimated around 50,000 people were involved over the whole weekend, up on last year's 32,000.

More than 2,000 people participated in workshops and activities while the festival worked with 160 artists.

The festival featured a range of art installations, including the Creative Scrap Store, where attendees could discover their creativity using found and scrap materials.

Compact Disco, a travelling discotheque with a sustainable twist, brought the joy of the party to the streets with an oversized dynamic disco ball created from discarded CDs.

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A total of 450 people participated in the centrepiece Torchlight Procession which wound its way through the city streets in a display of lights, music, and community spirit.

Families enjoyed a day of fun and food at Winckley Square with the show, Parade! The Giant Wheel rolling along Fishergate as a unique highlight attracting 1,200 audience members.

Baby Boo's interactive atmosphere captivated young minds through lighting, sound, colours, and film projections.

And The Magical Story Jars drop-in activity inspired children to have fun playing with ideas and creating their own stories.

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The Community and Traditions Stage, hosted by BBC Radio Lancashire broadcaster Hussnain Hanif, celebrated local talent and cultural traditions.

Traditional Lancashire Clogging fused with Appalachian flat foot enthralled audiences with intricate footwork and rhythmic movements.

And 500 members of the public watched the TimeLess performance at Preston Bus station.

While more than 500 people interacted with the playscape and games on The Flag Market Festival Hub.

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Coun Peter Kelly, Cabinet member for culture and leisure services at Preston City Council, said: "Encounter Festival has once again demonstrated its ability to unite our community through the arts. It's a celebration of culture, diversity, and the boundless creativity that defines Preston.

“The Encounter Festival team extends a heartfelt thank you to all the artists, performers, volunteers, funders, and, most importantly, the attendees who made this event possible.”

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