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Encounter Festival

The curtains have closed on another spectacular edition of Encounter Festival, and the resounding verdict is in – the festival has once again exceeded all expectations, leaving attendees with great memories and a deep appreciation for the power of art and community.

The three-day extravaganza, which took place from Friday 15 until Sunday 17 September, transformed the heart of Preston into a vibrant hub of creativity, unity, and celebration. With a diverse lineup of performances, workshops, and activities, Encounter Festival 2023 upheld its reputation as a cultural milestone in the Preston calendar.

Headline Statistics

  • Around 50,000 people were involved over the whole weekend, increasing the step change from the previous year’s 32,000.
  • Over 2,000 people participated in workshops and activities.
  • Encounter Festival worked with 160 artists.
  • A total of 450 people participated in the annual Torchlight Procession.
  • 1,200 audience members watched Parade! The Giant Wheel roll down Fishergate.
  • 500 audience members watched the TimeLess performance at Preston Bus station.
  • Over 500 people interacted with the playscape and games on The Flag Market Festival Hub.

Key Highlights of Encounter Festival 2023

Torchlight Procession Lights up the Night

The festival’s signature Torchlight Procession wound its way through the city streets, and was a brilliant display of lights, music, and community spirit.

Diverse Performances and Cultural Celebrations

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.

Image of two people playing instruments

Captivating Art Installations

The festival featured a range of art installations, including TimeLess and 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.

Engaging Workshops and Family Fun

Families enjoyed a day of fun and food at Winckley Square with the beautiful show, Parade! The Giant Wheel rolling along Fishergate as a unique highlight. Baby Boo’s interactive atmosphere captivated young minds through lighting, sound, colours, and film projections. The Magical Story Jars drop-in activity inspired children to have fun playing with ideas and creating their own stories.

Community Engagement

The festival’s emphasis on community engagement was evident throughout the event, as community groups actively participated in performances, workshops, and the Torchlight Procession.

As the curtains fall on Encounter Festival 2023, plans are already underway for an even bigger edition next year between 21 – 22 September 2024.

Encounter Festival Secures £96,000 of Arts Council England Funding for 2024

Encounter Festival 2023 Declared a Resounding Success

Encounter Festival Showcases a Diverse and Captivating Lineup of Performances

Encounter Festival Unveils Exciting Programme for a Weekend of Fun and Thoughtful Performances