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Lancashire Encounter Festival

Lancashire Encounter returns for 2018. The festival is an authentic voice for Lancashire and takes place in the city of Preston. With a packed programme of events and things to do, this is an Encounter not to be missed.

Time & Date: Friday 21st September to Sunday 23rd September

Prepare for a weekend packed with an enticing programme of events...

Lancashire Encounter invites you to immerse yourself in a weekend of art, culture and more. Whatever your interests, just click on your chosen day and choose from a schedule crammed with events.

Lancashire Encounter Festival is an authentic voice for Lancashire, celebrating the breadth of the County's diverse cultural offer with high quality and high profile arts. Taking place every other year at the end of September, Lancashire Encounter sees the city of Preston buzzing with life and alight with creativity.

For inspiration on what to see and when see Event Itineraries.

The past Lancashire Encounters have seen an array of spectacular performances, inspiring arts and impressive music, bringing spectators to their feet.

Preston City Council staged its first Lancashire Encounter Festival in 2015 as a pilot. The weekend event showcased the work of artists from across the Lancashire County and community activities, drawing in 20,000 attendees. Recognising the potential of the event to grow and impact the communities, artists and arts organisations of Lancashire, as well as attract visitors into the County, it was agreed the event should become a bi-annual cultural festival.

Following the pilot, the first full scale Lancashire Encounter Festival was hosted in 2016. The full scale event saw activity spread across the city, from Preston Train Station to the Flag Market and side streets in-between. One of the most memorable experiences of the 2016 Lancashire Encounter, the Procession of Light, saw the night-time streets of Preston illuminated with awe-inspiring creations and quirky installations from community organisations and local businesses. Over the weekend the event saw 43,000 visitors flock in to enjoy all the festival had to offer.

To Encounter a flavour of past Lancashire Encounter Festivals check out the videos and evaluation reports:

Why visit Lancashire Encounter?

The Lancashire Encounter Festival not only brings together the city of Preston, it also brings together the Lancashire County and those further afield.

The bustling streets and opportunities to get involved create a memorable and vibrant weekend, with local artists and performers sharing their talent with the crowds.

Whatever the 2018 festival brings, you’ll be sure to have an unforgettable Encounter.

Visiting from outside of Preston? For inspiration in planning your trip see Planning your Encounter.

Without Walls

The Lancashire Encounter Festival is a member of the Without Walls Associate Touring Network.

Without Walls is the UK's largest commissioner of outdoor arts shows, taking inspiring new work to audiences all over the country and beyond. For more information visit Without Walls.

Arts Awards

Lancashire Encounter is pleased to announce we are an Arts Award Supporter offering a range of opportunities for young people who are completing their Arts Award.

Arts Award’s unique qualifications support young people to develop as artists and arts leaders inspiring them to connect with and take part in the wider arts world in any art form - from fashion to digital art, pottery to poetry. The programme develops creativity, leadership and communication skills and is open to anyone aged up to 25yrs through 5 different levels: Discover, Explore, Bronze, Silver and Gold.

Throughout the festival you will find a variety of art forms and activities that can contribute to your Arts Award suiting the participation, watching, reviewing and find out elements of the Awards. To find out more about Arts Award visit


Various Venues
Preston City Centre

Visitor Information