Preston’s Encounter Festival Secures £96,000 of ACE funding in 2024

7 May 2024

Encounter Festival, Preston’s premier cultural festival, is thrilled to announce the successful awarding of funding from Arts Council England for its 2024 edition. This significant achievement underscores the festival’s commitment to delivering high-quality outdoor arts experiences and engaging diverse audiences in the heart of Preston.

WILD performance Photo: Garry Jones

Encounter Festival – taking place on Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 September 2024 – has grown exponentially since its inception in 2015, with the 2023 edition attracting over 50,000 attendees and featuring the participation of more than 2,000 artists and performers. The festival’s unique blend of large-scale spectacles and intimate shared moments has fascinated audiences and cemented its status as a cultural highlight in the region.

Councillor Peter Kelly, Cabinet member for Arts and Culture at Preston City Council expresses immense pride in the successful Arts Council England bid for Encounter Festival 2024.

“This funding underscores the significance of cultural events like the Encounter Festival in enriching our community, fostering inclusivity, and driving economic vitality. It’s a testament to the collaborative efforts of all involved and demonstrates our commitment to making Preston a vibrant cultural hub for all.”

Commenting on the funding success, Esther Ferry Kennington, Executive Producer at the Encounter Festival said:

“We are delighted to receive support from Arts Council England for our 2024 festival. This funding will enable us to continue our mission of providing cultural experiences that engage and inspire audiences across Preston and beyond. We look forward to delivering another outstanding festival and building on our success in the years to come.”

The main aim of the 2024 festival is to maintain and build upon this success by further increasing audience participation and engagement. With the support of Arts Council England funding, Encounter Festival will continue to offer a diverse and engaging programme that reflects the rich cultural tapestry of Preston’s communities.

Key highlights of the festival include:

  • The stunning Torchlight Procession, which will showcase almost 500 professional artists, amateur performers, and community participants from Preston’s multicultural communities.
  • The Festival Hub on the Flag Market, curated by Wild Rumpus around the theme of “Permission to Play,” providing a central space for audiences to enjoy and explore.
  • The Family Picnic on Winckley Square, offering family-friendly activities and entertainment.
  • A new partnership with Lancashire company Imitating the Dog to create a trail of digital projection light pieces and performances, adding an exciting new dimension to the festival experience.

Encounter Festival is also proud to be a key partner in County of Song 2024, a year-long engagement program supported by Lancashire County Council, highlighting the county’s heritage and contemporary grassroots singing practices.

Encounter Festival would like to extend its gratitude to Arts Council England for their support, as well as to all its partners, sponsors, and participants for their continued dedication and enthusiasm.

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