The Mayor of Preston Coun David Borrow will set the ball rolling in St George’s Church, Lune Street, and there’s a free concert featuring organist David Scott-Thomas who will also direct the Octavius choir. This will be followed by Preston Ukulele Strummers and then the Beijing University Dance Troupe.
The festival is organised every year by Preston Arts Association and provides a showcase for local arts organisations and individuals.
Over the three weeks, there will be about 120 events.
With several of the usual venues including the Guild Hall and the Minster off the table, this year there are events at the Playhouse, the Continental, the Ferret, the Stanley Arms, the Dolphin Inn, the Speakeasy and venues at UCLan in addition to churches, village halls and libraries.
The festival includes plays from the Hall Players, Broughton Players, Longton Players and Dean Taylor Productions. PAA was also delighted to welcome Garry Cook to introduce some somewhat more edgy material like that he brought to his highly successful Lancashire Fringe festival.
National Poetry Day will be celebrated with poetry readings from Damson Poets, Preston Poets’ Society, ScRibble and UCLan.
The Friends of Winckley Square are contributing to the festival for the first time.
Music events include Gilbert & Sullivan afternoon tea concerts from Penwortham St Leonards G&S, the Silver Bell Jazz Band, the Kell Wind trio, a Rodgers and Hammerstein concert, the Japanese classical pianist Reiko Fujisawa, the Japanese psychedelic rock band Acid Mothers House, Preston’s own R&B band The Stumble, plus an evening of traditional Moravian cimbalom music... and much more.
Many libraries are also featured with a wide range of activities.
The festival ends on Sunday October 20 with a finale in the form of a salsa, bachata and kizomba workshop day and evening party led by the former world champion salsa dancer Phil Kaila.
See www.prestonarts.com for full show details.