Leyland Live is a smash hit

Baxter Rhodes performing in the Original Bistro French during Leyland Live on Saturday night
Baxter Rhodes performing in the Original Bistro French during Leyland Live on Saturday night
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Leyland’s first music festival saw more than 1,000 people enjoy live performances at the weekend.

Leyland Live was organised to coincide with the town’s festival, and went ahead despite the main parade and park attractions being called off.

Organiser Nigel Stewart said: “I’m a dreamer, and I thought this could be a huge success, but I never could have forecast getting such a great response.

“The managers of the venues, the acts and the punters all said it was absolutely fantastic.”

The venture raised around £5,000, and saw more than 90 acts travel around 12 venues in Leyland town centre on Friday and Saturday nights.

More than 1,000 wristbands were sold for the event, which had 24 volunteers on board, and Nigel is delighted all of the hard work paid off.

“It was a privilege to organise,” he said.

“Most of the performers were local, from Leyland, Chorley and Preston, and they really got on board with the idea and the community spirit.

“They brought their supporters along with them, so it brought a lot of people to Leyland, and the businesses I’ve spoken to said it really helped them.

“Some places were jam-packed, and said they’d never been so busy before.

“Hundreds of people were walking round the streets deciding whether they wanted to see jazz, blues, folk or rock, and it was all right in front of them.

“It really brought Leyland to life, and it brought a lot of money into the town.”

The money raised from sales of the £5 wristbands was used for expenses for the venues, acts and equipment, with the rest going to charity.

Nigel said: “The venues and the council were all fantastic in backing this, and I have a vision to make it an annual event.

“It seems people want it to happen again.”

The main Leyland Festival is now scheduled to take place in September, and Nigel has been approached to organise another Leyland Live to coincide with the main event, as was the original plan this time.

“It’s being looked into,” he said. “People said it’s exactly what Leyland needs.

“More venues have said they would like to get involved next time.”

Liam Campbell, from Coppers Tea Rooms on Golden Hill, said: “It was a real surprise to us just how busy it was – some people were standing to watch the performances.

“We recently got a licence to open late and serve alcohol, and this was a trial to see if it would be popular.

“We served cocktails from teapots, and it went down really well on both nights, so we’re thinking of doing it every Friday from the end of the month.

“It opened up our business to a whole new audience, and it was a good way of introducing our new evening venture to the town.”

Annabelle Draper, lead support worker at Roccoco coffee lounge, on Chapel Brow, added: “We don’t normally open during the evenings, but we did this as a one-off, and it was a really great atmosphere.

“There was just a real buzz about the place, and it was good for business too.

“A lot of people said they didn’t even know we were here before, and said they will come for lunch sometime soon, so that’s great.”