Crowds of people lined the streets as Preston was turned red to launch the first Lancashire Encounter festival.
More than 50 volunteer cyclists from the University of Central Lancashire brought the People’s Canopy – a series of mobile structures on bicycle wheels – from St Peter’s Square to the Flag Market.
The canopy, designed in collaboration with the award-winning People’s Architecture Office in Beijing, was greeted by a pop-up cycle hub on the Flag Market with refreshments, bicycle powered smoothies and information stalls.
The spectacle is the brainchild of In Certain Places , a programme of events led by UCLan, and will now sit in the Flag Market for the duration of the festival from Friday to Sunday.
The canopy will host and be home to commissioned artworks, community gatherings, performances, workshops, meetings, interventions, an arts market, a day of activity presented by UCLan and a whole spectrum of creative activity across the festival weekend.
In Certain Places is a programme of artistic interventions and events, led by curators Elaine Speight and Professor Charles Quick in the School of Art, Design and Performance at UCLan.
The People’s Canopy project has been developed with the aim of creating new, visible connections between UCLan and the city centre, and celebrating UCLan’s international links.Elaine Speight
Elaine said: “The People’s Canopy project has been developed with the aim of creating new, visible connections between UCLan and the city centre, and celebrating UCLan’s international links. As well as encouraging greater movement and exchange between the University and city, the Canopies have also been designed to provide the temporary market place for local, independent businesses and a social space in which communities from within the university and wider city can share ideas, culture and traditions.”
The Lancashire Encounter is designed to bridge the 20-year gap between Preston Guilds, and organisers hope it will become a biennial event from next year.
The event also includes Preston Pride on Saturday and the Run Preston road races on Sunday.
The performances and activities will be taking place under the small Covered Market, People’s Canopy, old Post Office, Flag Market, Dean’s Court Chamber, and the Harris Museum & Art Gallery.
Coun Veronica Afrin said: “Excitement is building and it will be a great weekend. In fact we can’t wait and hope it’s the start of something quite unique for Preston and for Lancashire.”