After 13 years, a Merseyside arts festival has proved it can still pull in big crowds.
The Prescot Festival of Music & the Arts drew an impressive 1,600 visitors between 16 and 25 June, with a programme that starred the Chilled Lemons Jazz Quintet, Leyland Band—Lancashire’s number one-ranking brass band—and the Band of the Yorkshire Regiment, one of the country’s most popular military ensembles.
The official figure doesn’t include the Prescot Carnival—one of more than a dozen events packed in to 10 days—which this year attracted an estimated 5,000 people in blazing sunshine and soaring summer temperatures.
Among other hugely popular highlights of the festival were the Phoenix Concert Orchestra, the Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral Girl Choristers and a screening of Willy Russell’s classic BBC play Our Day Out, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year.
“There was a real buzz in the air this year,” said founder and artistic director Dr Robert Howard, “and audiences were unprecedented in their enthusiasm, be it through applause, cheering, standing ovations or—as in the case of the brilliantly entertaining Our Day Out—roars of laughter
“Festivals often don’t last more than three or four years, so we’re massively proud to have sustained this top-quality celebration of arts and music for well over a decade now.”
In 2016, Dr Howard, Assistant Head of Music Faculty at St Edward’s College, Liverpool, received the ‘Exceptional Service’ award from the British Arts Festivals Association (BAFA) for his pioneering role with the festival.