Culture fans flock to arts festival

Phil Shotton from The Chilled Lemons Quintet. Photo by Alan Humphreys
Phil Shotton from The Chilled Lemons Quintet. Photo by Alan Humphreys

A major arts event is celebrating another hugely successful year after more than 1,500 people enjoyed a cultural bonanza.

The 13th edition of the Prescot Arts Festival drew talent including Chilled Lemons Jazz Quintet, Lancashire’s number one ranked brass ensemble Leyland Band and the Band of the Yorkshire Regiment, one of the country’s most popular military ensembles.

There was a real buzz in the air this year and audiences were unprecedented in their enthusiasm

Dr Robert Howard

More than 1,600 people turned up for the 10 days of culture, which also included 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.

The official turnout doesn’t include the Prescot Carnival, one of more than a dozen events packed in between June 16 and 25, which this year attracted an estimated 5,000 people in blazing sunshine and soaring summer temperatures.

“There was a real buzz in the air this year,” said founder and artistic director Dr Robert Howard, “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.”

Dr Howard, who is assistant head of the music faculty at St Edward’s College in Liverpool, received the Exceptional Service award from the British Arts Festivals Association (BAFA) in 2016 for his pioneering work with the festival.