AN East Lancashire community festival is returning in August as a free event after a break last year because of coronavirus.

Waterfoot Wakes will offer a month-long family celebration of theatre, comedy, music, art and culture.

The organisers are appealing for cash to set up the festival and make it free to visitors.

They have launched a Crowdfunder campaign to raise £3,500 towards the £10,000 cost of running the event.

Waterfoot Wakes has been running since 2018 as a partnership between The Boo multi-arts venue, The Old Library Café and Edgeside and District Community Partnership.

It replaced The Boo’s Puppet Festival expanding it into a community arts event across Waterfoot in Rossendale

The 2020 festival, set to be the biggest yet, had to be cancelled because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Organisers then focused on how it could come back better in 2021 and decided the event should be completely free to everyone.

Now Waterfoot Wakes is seeking to raise £3,500 towards the running and programming costs and is offering rewards for donors including vintage Horse + Bamboo puppet and mask theatre company tour posters and merchandise, business sponsorship and food and drink vouchers for use during the festival.

Any Crowdfunder pledges will go directly towards the cost of the festival and paying for the artists.

Highlights for Waterfoot Wakes 2021 will include: Clive Chandler’s Punch and Judy; Half String Theatre’s Puppet Van; Paper Balloon’s The Great Floating Paper Balloon Radio Show; The Boo's Comedy Night with Tez Ilyas; Circus Workshops; and Compact Disco.

Horse + Bamboo are also co-commissioning Analogue Farm, to create a live, weekend-long promenade performance taking place at the Whitworth venue.

The performance will be based on children’s book 'Mid Summer With Mossy' which has also been commissioned by Horse + Bamboo and created by David Chatton Barker of Analogue Farm. The book is one of the Crowdfunder rewards along with the first book in the series 'Mid Winter With Mossy'.

The organisers hope that the money raised by the appeal will help ensure the event's long-term future.

This year's festival will run over the entire month of August rather than the traditional weekend to ensure it is Covid-safe for its audiences.

IThe Waterfoot Wakes online Crowdfunder will run until Friday July 23.