Preston turned purple on Saturday night as thousands of people descended on the Flag Market for Preston Business Improvement District’s (BID) ‘Purple Party’.
The event, organised to highlight the city’s award-winning status as a Purple Flag destination, saw people come to Preston to enjoy a free, live gig before experiencing the best of what the city has to offer. Official figures saw 3,018 people enjoy the event, across the course of the evening.
Headline performances from Craig Charles and MistaJam, supported by local DJ Nick Carter, created a celebratory atmosphere on the city’s Flag Market as they performed from the Harris Museum balcony.
BID manager, Mark Whittle, said: “The premise was to attract people to Preston for a special event, encourage them to visit our bars, clubs and restaurants, and even stay in our hotels, before and after the event.
“It’s the first large scale, free to attend event of this nature anywhere in the North West, which celebrates and promotes a city’s leisure sector by throwing a party for people.”
Party-goers were treated to a two-hour, live full production show, following a welcome from the SPARK! Drummers, GlowBots, carnival showgirls, stilt-walkers, fire eaters and more.
Those applying for tickets were predominately from Lancashire but some had traveled from locations including Leeds, Edinburgh, Birmingham and Inverness.
One of them, Sally Walsh (32), from Leeds, said: “As soon as we heard about this event we had to go; it was amazing, using a beautiful building like a museum to throw a party for so many people and for it to be free of charge was fabulous. We traveled down from Carlisle and are making a weekend of it in Preston; we’ve had a great time and will come back.”
Andrea Mellon, owner of Duk~Pond on Cross Street and a member of the BID Committee, added: “It was a great night, events like this are really important to show people what Preston has to offer – that it’s got something for everyone as well as being safe and vibrant.
“Preston does have a great offer post-5pm and so many people arriving in our great city and supporting our local economy was fantastic; I hope it’s a regular event.”