Prescot Festival kicks off with a bang

Wigan Youth Brass Band outside the Royal Albert Hall following the Schools Prom in 2015 (courtesy of David Little)
Wigan Youth Brass Band outside the Royal Albert Hall following the Schools Prom in 2015 (courtesy of David Little)

A big band paid tribute to Frank Sinatra, Glenn Miller and other legends of swing when the Prescot Festival opened the Prescot Festival.

Crooner Chris James joins the 17-piece jazz orchestra Swingshift to celebrate the first night of the 10-day event, now in its 12th year.

The festival continued on Saturday with Prescot Remembers, commemorating the town’s role in the two world wars. The full afternoon of activities includes a Q&A with WWII prisoner of war Erich Kirster, excerpts from the wartime play Some Mother’s Son, displays of memorabilia and vintage cars, a children’s inflatable assault course and a talk about Prescot War Memorial at 100.

In keeping with the remembrance theme, Saturday evening begins with a performance of Mozart’s moving choral Requiem, sung by up to 100 choristers from across the North West. An upbeat second half features the award-winning Wigan Youth Brass Band in a programme of military marches and nostalgic wartime melodies.

The opening weekend concludes with a double-bill of family entertainment perfect for a Father’s Day treat.

Prescot Parish Church hosts a concert with Nigel Ogden, the star of BBC Radio 2’s The Organist Entertains, while on nearby Brown’s Field the Prescot Carnival offers stalls, a funfair, ‘Pop Up Shakespeare’ and more.

Of five major events on the opening weekend, two are entirely free and two are free to anyone under the age of 16 accompanied by a paying adult.

“As ever, we’ve worked hard to keep the festival affordable and accessible to everyone,” said Artistic Director Dr Robert Howard.

“As the week progresses, we look forward to barn dancing, songs from the shows, folk music, schools’ competitions for young poets and instrumentalists and so much more to suit local audiences of all ages.”

The full programme (Friday, June 17 to Sunday, June 26) is online at www.prescotfestival.co.uk, and tickets are available on the website or in person from Poco Coffee at 30 Eccleston Street, Prescot, L34 5QJ.