A carnival scene with a crowd, stalls and a fox puppet in the foreground, and a row of buildings in the background.
The colourful street parade at Hi! Street Fest Lowestoft. © Adam Barnes.
The colourful street parade at Hi! Street Fest Lowestoft. © Adam Barnes.

Hi! Street Fest

In the summer of 2023, more than 60,000 people came together for Hi! Street Fest, a series of community-led street parties and carnivals celebrating England’s high streets.

At the centre of the celebrations was a large-scale puppet, a curious fox named Farrah, who travelled the country on her scooter to find out what makes high streets so special. Taller than a double-decker bus, Farrah visited Lowestoft, Gloucester, Wigan, Gosport, Middlesbrough, Stalybridge, and Greenwich.  

In 6 of the high streets, she was greeted by a larger-than-life, locally-inspired host puppet. Through working in partnership with Emergency Exit Arts (EEA), one of Britain’s pioneering outdoor arts companies, each high street offered a unique mix of dance, music and performance as hundreds of local volunteers worked together to celebrate the history and heritage of where they live.  

In celebrating what makes each high street special to its communities, Hi! Street Fest marks a dazzling finale to Historic England’s High Street Heritage Action Zones cultural programme, a four-year programme to revitalise more than 60 high streets.

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Find out more about each place, and how each host puppet represents their heritage and history, by clicking on the gallery images below.

Legacy of Hi! Street Fest

Across all 7 locations, 2,000 parade participants and volunteers brought Hi! Street Fest to life, giving a wide range and depth of community involvement. You can find out more about the community engagement that underpinned Hi! Street Fest in this short film from Lowestoft.  

Hi! Street Fest events have now ended, but the programme's impact remains. From training local producers and artists, to the host puppets that remain with the communities that created them, the Hi! Street Fest programme and work undertaken by Emergency Exit Arts has enabled communities to continue to put on outdoor arts events that celebrate what they love about their place.

Supported by

HM Government
Heritage Fund logo
Arts Council