Thanks for supporting Lancashire Fringe Festival

Lancashire Photography Festival

Lancashire Photography Festival, Preston, Apr 03, 2021.


Preston – outdoors – on now until May 23

I’ve been blown away by the response to Lancashire Photography Festival.

Holding an outdoors art event like this is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. It’s one of those ideas you sometimes have, but never think will actually happen. I had been talking up the idea of an outdoor arts-based festival for two or three years around Preston but could not get anyone interested in doing it with me. But when lockdown came along it quickly became obvious that an outdoors art exhibition at a time when all other arts venues were closed was a no brainer.

I began a massive period of research last summer which started with putting the images of cult artist Cold War Steve in the windows of The Larder on Lancaster Road. I talked to dozens of outdoor photography festivals around the world, plus specialist producers and printers who have staged similar exhibitions, installations and events.

Special thanks during this phase goes to freelance producer Julie Brown, Imitating The Dog’s Simon Wainwright and their projection specialist Andrew Crofts. Nic Greenan, lead of cultural partnership for Bradford City Council could not have been more open and helpful speaking to me about the outdoor photo installations in Bradford. Photographer Carolyn Mendelsohn supported me and the advice and encouragement of Jean-Christophe Godet, the artistic director of Guernsey Photography Festival, gave me the belief that a festival in Preston was possible.

Aimee Grundell’s openness and willingness to talk about her experiences of printing and installing outdoor images was absolutely invaluable. She went on to oversee the printing and installation of the festivals two major exhibitions – John Davies’ landscapes on Winckley Square and Peter Dench’s The British Abroad on the hoardings of the former BHS building on Fishergate. If Jean-Christophe gave me belief and insight to make it all possible, Aimee stepped forward and made the dream a reality.

There was a huge amount of planning for this festival before any image was ever printed. Finding locations and gaining permissions was far from easy. There were a few problems. Quite a few. I did complain to the council a couple of times when things weren’t happening.

I should also give huge thanks to those people who came and helped me install almost 200 images around Preston. It took me a week to put paste the images up and – timewise – I would not have been able to get all this done without people turning up and picking up a brush. For the first three days I had massive help from Teddy Cook and Betsy Byrom, then along came Jill Reidy, Norma Foulds, Charlotte Young, Richard Davis, Dave Bennett, Jill Cross and Ruth Wenham. Then I had huge problems with a five-metre high image of Preston Bus Station – this would not have gone up if it was not for Tarquin Scott and Richard McCann.

It was brilliant to do workshops and engage with over 120 local photographers, with many of them going on to produce six-image documentary photo essays, most of which can be seen at Preston Market hoardings. There are too many people here to mention – including Preston Photographic Society and all the Blackpool Sixth Form College photography students who have taken over windows of The Larder – but I’d like to thank everyone for taking part, and also thank those who helped on the organisation side.

Doing any kind of photography project during lockdown is hard – doing a documentary one is even harder, especially as some people taking part had little or no photography experience. But it was brilliant to see the beautiful and diverse images produced by people who had taken part in the workshops.

And possibly as important as the photographs are the people who have shared information about the festival to all your friends on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I’ve not begun collecting data on this properly (a quick check tells me the #lancsphotofest hashtag has reached 200,000 people) but I know from the multiple mentions and notifications I get every time I look at my phone that this festival has been loved and shared by so many people. I’ve heard countless wonderful stories and read unbelievably kind words about the festival – I was even told that the people of Connecticut, New England, USA, want their own outdoor festival after seeing images from this one in Preston. So if you are one of those people reading this who has shared details about the festival or photographed it – thanks for all your support.

I got funding for this festival from the Arts Council England to develop my own career as a producer. I’m so grateful for them for that. This festival is a move away from my work as a producer with theatre and performance (I also delivered Lancashire Fringe festival in 2017 and 2019 if you didn’t know) but it has been a brilliant experience.

The festival is essentially a pilot – to test ideas and see what works and doesn’t work. Some of what I have done has not worked. Also, there were initial plans for some special events and projection installation but these were dropped because of lockdown and social-distancing concerns. I hope these can be added in the future. I did not have enough money to do some massive full-building prints. Floor prints in the Fishergate Centre didn’t happen because they were closed. If I had a bigger budget, more images would have been cut to fit irregular spaces and window shapes. I hope all that can come if this festival develops into something bigger. For that to happen, I am going to need support from Preston to enable me to develop this festival into a truly unique event in the north of England, if not the UK – and then the world.

And now, with work on the festival done, I now turn my attention to my next project. I just don’t know what it is yet.
But like any good freelance photographer and producer, I’m available for work.

Garry Cook
@gazcook @EnjoyTheShowUK
(Sorry if I forgot to mention anyone)

PS No one has told me if there has been any complaints about the photos of drunk people on Fishergate. But I’m telling you now they’ve made people laugh out loud.

Lancashire Photography Festival – map and line up

Here is thefestival map and details of who is showing images at all 17 locations in Preston.
The festival launches on April 2, 2021 across the city of Preston, Lancashire.

Download the festival pdf here:

1. Landscapes by John Davies (Winckley Square)

John Davies is one of the UK’s leading documentary photographers. His stunning large-scale black and white images of industrialised scenes are recognised around the world. // Twitter: @JohnDaviesLive

2. The British Abroad by Peter Dench (former BHS building, Fishergate)

Photojournalist Peter Dench has tirelessly documented British culture at home and abroad.

The London-based photographer produces beautifully brash colour images depicting brutal scenes of alcoholic excess. Photos from his series The British Aboard are presented here. // Twitter @peterdench // Insta: @denchphoto

3. The History of Preston (former Past Times building, Fishergate)

Seven historical images highlighting significant moments in the history of Preston, including the unveiling of Preston War Memorial, Avenham Park during the 1862 Preston Guild and Edith Rigby.

4. Beauty Spots by Dave Bennett (Old Cock Yard)

During the lockdown, Bennett walked daily for exercise, taking photographs along the route. He documented the increase in the number of people on his country walks, and the incidents which followed. The images were taken in the Peak District. // @djbnet

5. The Mask by Alf Myers (Avenham Street)

Myers is a Preston-based street photographer who focuses on people. This series was taken during lockdown. // Twitter: @AlfMyers // Insta: @alfmyersmono/

6. A Small Dose of Covid by Cory Robinson (Yates’/Co-op bank tunnel)

These stark documentary images were taken at one of the UK’s new mass vaccination centre at Blackburn Cathedral, one of 18 sites opened earlier this year.


7. Planet Earth by NASA (side of Stanley Arms, Lancaster Road)

This photo of Planet Earth was taken by the Apollo 17 crew on December 7, 1972. Take a selfie of yourself with Planet Earth. // @NASA

8. Preston Bus Station by Ashley Hardman (Lowthian Street, rear of Healthrack)

Preston Bus Station is easily the most iconic building in Preston, known around the world for its striking Brutalism concrete architecture. // Insta: @ashley.hardman.1

9. Protection by Richard Davis (Lowthian Street, rear of Healthrack)

Davis’ work has been exhibited by the British Culture Archive in London, Manchester & Berlin, as well as having work promoted by renowned Preston-based photography publishers Cafe Royal Books. This series of images were taken in Manchester during the pandemic.

Insta: @richarddavismcrphotography // Twitter: @WiredDavis

10. Suspended Travel by Charlie Holt (Lowthian Street)

Images by artist Charlie Holt capture the frustration of being unable to visit both faraway destinations and places closer to home. // Insta: @charlieholtart

11. Living Rooms (Lowthian Street)

Three large-scale living-room portraits by Tyler Duncan (@tyidunky98), Claire Walmsley-Griffiths (@cjgriffithsphoto) and Joe Fenna (@fennaphoto).

12. Photo essays by various photographers (Preston Market hoardings)

Fourteen photographers from across the country – but mostly based in Lancashire – exhibit their photo essays on subjects as diverse as family, loneliness, vaccination and lockdown life.

13. Preston Guild 2012 by Bernie Blackburn (Lancastria House,
Lancaster Road)

Artist Bernie Blackburn has photographed his hometown of Preston for the over two decades.

Twitter @bernieblac

14. Self-portraits by Preston Photographic Society (former Club Arena, Tithebarn Street)

Members of Preston Photographic Society have produced 20 self-portraits for Lancashire Photography Festival. // Twitter: @prestonphoto // Insta: @prestonpps

15. Doorstep Portraits by Zo Taylor (former Tithebarn pub, Tithebarn Street)

Taylor is a Blackpool-based photographer. These Doorstep Portraits were taken during lockdown in 2020 to help raise funds for Streetlife, a charity which supports vulnerable young people in Blackpool. // @ztphotography

16. Blackpool Sixth photography students (The Larder, Lancaster Road)

Over 30 documentary photography images by A Level students from Blackpool Sixth Form College. // Insta: @blackpoolsixthphotography

17. Suspended Boris by Foka Wolf (secret location)

Cult artist Foka Wolf has become one of the UK’s leading satirists by publishing spoof posters and prank adverts. Their installation in Preston, hidden down one of the city’s darkest alleys, is a controversial art work featuring Prime Minister Boris Johnson. // @fokawolf

18 [Blue dots] Moor Park skaters by Garry Cook (various locations)

Twelve life-size images of skaters, scooter riders and BMXers who use Preston Skatepark at Moor Park are sited at various locations across the city, including Tithebarn Street and Old Cock Yard. The images were taken by Garry Cook // @gazcook

Lancashire Photography Festival 2021

In 2021 we are delighted to continue our arts work the Preston’s first OUTDOOR PHOTOGRAPHY FESTIVAL – bringing brilliant documentary photography to the streets of Preston.

This festival will mix work of some of the UK’s best documentary photographers with new comissions and the work of local photographers. Our aim is to get as many local photographers involved as possible – and get their images displayed across the city.

Enjoy The Show wants LANCASHIRE PHOTOGRAPHY FESTIVAL to become the leading outdoor photography festival in the North of England – making Preston the home of documentary photography, bringing tourists to the city and making Preston proud of arts and culture.

The festival is perfect for 2021 and beyond, bringing art into the city in a safe socially-distanced way. With The Harris museum also set to close for several years for refurbishment, this festival will help ensure arts events carry on in Preston.

Follow @EnjoyTheShowUK on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to keep up to date with festival developments – and look out for further announcements.

@EnjoyTheShowUK is run by @gazcook

Lancashire Fringe Festival – the information you need

Press release

May 3, 2019

Performers announced for Lancashire Fringe Festival

Some of the UK’s most hard-hitting, controversial and funny shows are coming to Preston as part of Lancashire Fringe Festival.

Hugely respected names in contemporary performance will play alongside acclaimed poets and award-winning performers, giving the people of Lancashire a unique festival experience – and all the shows are free to attend.

Lancashire Fringe Festival, funded by the Arts Council, will see acclaimed performers like Kate Fox, Louise Orwin, Bob Karper, Joana Nastari, Louise Fazackerley, Lee Mark Jones, Ruth E Cockburn and Katie O’Brien perform across Preston between May 15 and May 24.

The festival aims to engage a wide range of audiences, particularly people who do not usually come and see live shows, and includes everything from comedy and poetry to shows covering complex  social issues like addiction, sex work and fracking.

Poet Louise Fazackerley opens the festival at Vinyl Tap on Wednesday, May 15. She will be supported by three poets who she has been working with as part of the festival’s artists development programme.

Several newly-commissioned pieces of work by local artists have also been included in the line up, so regional talent gets a chance to perform to a wider audience. This includes Neil Procter’s Lancashire People’s Theatre who have paired  14 Lancashire-based writers with professional actors to deliver a series of monologues over two nights during the festival.

Preston Central Methodist Church hosts Katie O’Brien’s brilliant Catch 22 Years, which examines addiction in a unique and unexpected performance by the award-winning actress. That is followed by new work from writer Karen Featherstone who is performing I Surrender! for the first time.

The Harris Museum hosts four stunning pieces of theatre on Saturday, May 18, kicking off with Dan de le Motte’s comedy-lecture about the Royal Family and Daily Mail Online message boards, followed by the hotly anticipated Control Pant Symphony by Natalie Wardle and Goth Diary by Karina Azlanova. The night ends with the brilliant Oh! Suburbia! by Bob Karper.

Acclaimed writer and performer Louise Orwin brings her new show Oh Yes Oh No to The Continental on Sunday, May 19. This stunning piece of theatre – hailed as “bold, brave work” by The Guardian – looks at female sexuality, consent and power.

A fantastic double bill at The Ferret on Monday, May 20 sees new work by Lancashire’s Ruth E Cockburn alongside outrageous show A Rock N Roll Suicide by Lee Mark Jones.

Kate Fox brings her hugely successful touring show about strong Northern women Where There’s Much There’s Bras to the Harris Museum on Wednesday, May 22. Also on the same bill that night is Blackpool-based Jo Catlow Morris’ play Nanners With Banners, about the Preston New Road’s anti-fracking nannas.

Poet Benjamin Guilfoyle stops off in the city on Thursday, May 23 at Vinyl Tap to perform. His performance is part of a 12-day walking tour between Lancaster and Brighouse.

And the festival ends in style with hard-hitting show about about strip club workers called F*ck You Pay Me by Joana Nastari. This show is at UCLan’s Media Factory, and is a collaboration with of Derelict Mayhem, a two-day contemporary performance festival of new work.

Lancashire Fringe Festival, created by local producer Garry Cook, is using a Pay What You Decide  model, where audiences making an optional donation at the end of each show. Some shows cost over £20 per ticket when performed at other venues across the country.

Preston-based Cook has already put on several one-off shows in the city this year, including pulling off a major coup for the city by persuading poet Hollie McNish to come to the Harris Museum for a sell-out gig in March.

Cook said: “The one-off shows I’ve been doing for the past year have gone down brilliantly with Preston audiences – everyone has loved them. And it’s the audiences who have turned up to these shows – some people come to every performance – who have helped make this festival possible. I can’t thank them enough.

“There are some absolutely stunning shows in the festival. It has taken a lot of work to get some of them here but I’m delighted with the line up, and hope the people if Preston and Lancashire will come and help make this festival a huge success so that we can carry on doing it for years to come.

“I want to encourage people who do not usually see this kind of performance to come to one or two shows and experience something remarkable. All these shows have been chosen not just because of their subject matter but because they deliver a message in a hugely engaging, entertaining and exciting way.

“Even if you think a show covers a topic that doesn’t interest you, you will be blown away by the visual storytelling techniques these artists use. There are some exceptional talents coming to Preston over these 10 days – it’s a wonderful opportunity for Lancashire people to see shows which usually only come to London or Edinburgh Fringe.

He added: “If you turn up, you will experience something that will stay with them for the rest of your life.”

Lancashire Fringe Festival takes place between May 15 and May 24 in various venues across the city. Find out more at


Weds May 15 (venue: Vinyl Tap)

7.30pm The Secret – Louise Fazackerley + Helena Ascough, Richy Integer & Amy Lee Tempest


Thurs May 16 (venue: Stanley Arms)

7.30pm Lancashire People’s Theatre Monologues #1


Fri May 17 (venue:  Preston Central Methodist Church)

7pm Catch 22 Years – Katie O’Brien

8.15pm I Surrender! – Karen Featherstone


Sat May 18 (venue: Harris Museum)

7pm  From the Message Boards – Dan de la Motte

7.45pm Control Pant Symphony – Natalie Wardle

7.55pm Goth Diary – Karina Azlanova

8.15pm Oh! Suburbia! – Bob Karper TBC


Sun May 19 (venue: The Continental)

7.30pm Oh Yes Oh No – Louise Orwin


Mon May 20 (venue: The Ferret)

7pm  Ruth Cockburn

8pm A Rock N Roll Suicide – Lee Mark Jones


Tues May 21 (venue: Stanley Arms)

7.30pm Lancashire People’s Theatre Monologues #2


Weds May 22 (venue: Harris Museum)

7pm  Nannas With Banners

7.30pm Where There’s Muck There’s Bras – Kate Fox


Thurs May 23 (venue: Vinyl Tap)

7pm The Wandering Poet – Ben Guilfoyle + Lyndsay Price, Flora Martyr, Rikin Parekh & Lorna Smithers


Fri May 24 (venue: Media Factory, UCLan)

8.15pm F*** You Pay Me – Joana Nastari (part of Derelict Mayhem festival) FREE tickets link:


Garry Cook is a photographer, writer and producer. He has put on several one-off shows in Preston and his Arts Council-funded Lancashire Fringe Festival takes place across the city this May 15-24, 2019. Follow him at @gazcook

More information available at

All the shows can be seen as Facebook events at

Photographs available on request.