The West End Festival is Glasgow's largest cultural event and every June takes over this popular area of Glasgow with a wide variety of events and performances. Last year over 400 performances took place in 80 venues. Look at the 2013 programme on this page, and if you want to take part please contact us as soon as you like. Next year's programme will be launched in February (abridged version) and then in late April (full version).
Over 100 Glasgow-based organisations, arts groups and local and international artists deliver a mixture of activities and projects, overseen by a small festival team. The WEF brings all of these activities together in the festival programme and includes events, exhibitions, performances, talks, tours, workshops and screenings, and many are free of charge to allow accessibility. The WEF’s ethos is to include participants and venues that can complement the already diverse programme.
More than 1 million visitors have attended the event since it started and last year the festival encompassed over 400 events in 80 venues across the west end.
The West End Festival co-ordinates and assists everyone who helps create the WEF programme, from the artists to the venues. Supporting WEF requires time and skills from many organisations and individuals. We ask you to help us maintain the standards, safety and inclusiveness of the festival by supporting us in our fundraising activity.
If you pay tax you can help us further and maximise your donations by signing up for Gift Aid at no extra cost.
150 people at a public meeting at Cottier Theatre hear founder Michael Dale and local councillor Pat Chalmers outline plans for a new festival in Glasgow.
Festival starts with one-week event in June. Highlight is the Midsummer Carnival on a sunny day. “Don Giovanni!” by Opera on a Shoestring at Cottier Theatre. Paintings on Railings starts at the Botanic Gardens. Ashton Lane pedestrianised. Outdoor play “Shukuntula” in Kelvingrove Park. Local Area committee gives first grant of £12,000.
WEF’s second year and Mayfest’s 15th (and last). Festival extends to two weeks. The Council recognises WEF with a grant of £25k. Opera on a Shoestring produce a sell-out “The Barber of Seville “. West End Walks programme starts. WEF’s first attempt at a free concert ends when Belle and Sebastian and the Bathers are rained off.
WEF takes over the swimming pool at Church Street to be the ”Deep End Club”. “The Longest Day” in Kelvingrove Park with Teenage Fanclub. 10,000 attend. CableTel is first WEF sponsor.
Glasgow is UK City of Architecture and WEF promotes “The Ideal Hut Show” with George Wyllie and Neil Baxter Associates. Shakespeare in the Botanic Gardens starts with free performances of “Love’s Labour’s Lost”. Cottiers features Paul Young, Lee Hurst, Bruce Morton and Michael Marra with Liz Lochhead. WEF receives bad news from the VAT man, nearly forcing the closure of the festival.
Millennium grant for “Burn Gigantic” by Alex Rigg, a pagan spectacle in Kelvingrove Park. The Stand Comedy Club starts up in Woodlands. “Titus Andronicus” is the Shakespeare in the Botanics, which is a sell-out.
Over 200 events. G1 Group, opening up in the west end, becomes the main festival sponsor. The Sunday Herald is the festival’s first media sponsor. The Liveliest Night of the Year kicks off at the Art Galleries, and the Council and police allow Byres Road to be closed for the first time to accommodate the Opening Parade and Street Party, resulting in a huge increase in attendance. Acts at the festival include Salsa Celtica, Kevin McDermott, Dougie Maclean, The Bathers, Paragon Ensemble, Laura Cantrell and Eddi Reader. The Japanese Embassy sponsors a day of culture, and WEF helps establish the Farmers’ Markets in Partick.
Scottish Arts Council agree a grant for the first time, but the big step forward is that Whyte and Mackay sponsor the Opening Parade and Street Party and 15 bands appear on the stages in the street. The Council’s Library programme starts and two new mini festivals take place, Bloominglasgow (to mark Bloom’s Day) and the Children’s Author programme. The Shakespeare plays take on a life of their own under a new theatre company. Music includes James Grant, Karen Matheson, Zuba, Phil Cunningham and Aly Bain, and a full programme at Ashton Lane, especially at Bar Brel. Japanese Matsuri becomes an annual event.
The first full-colour brochure is 32 pages long, with 270 events. The Opening Parade and Whyte and Mackay Street Party grows once more, and the University starts its Music Day with free performances. Return of Opera on a Shoestring to do a sell-out “Carmen” at Cottiers. Evening Times becomes the festival’s media sponsor with a significant increase in profile. WEF joins forces with the Alliance Francaise to start La Fete de la Musique. Gibson Street Gala starts.
A significant year. The first weekend sees the opening of Oran Mor, a free concert by Belle and Sebastian, and the Whyte and Mackay Street Party on the Sunday. The B and S enterprise is rewarded with a sunny day and 12,000 people crammed into the Botanic Gardens. The Parade is attended by another huge crowd with a record number of 22 live acts on the stages. A very strong music programme, split between Oran Mor, Cottier and Brel. Appearances by Capercaillie, Eliza Carthy, Bert Jansch, Kate Rusby, Martin Carthy, Brian Kennedy, Karen Dunbar, the Incredible String Band, the Vatersay Boys and Martin Taylor.
G1 Group replace Whyte and Mackay as sponsors of the Street Party. Cottier Theatre, the Kibble Palace and the Art Galleries are all closed for refurbishment. Despite this, the number of events increases to 350. Ten years successfully negotiated!
A major outdoor community play “The Life of Jesus” with 60 actors, horses and a donkey draws big crowds. G1 Group is the festival sponsor. A postcode survey of 2073 ticket buyers reveals that WEF appeals to a public far beyond Glasgow. 50.7% come from Glasgow city, 25.4% come from the surrounding area and 21.7% come from elsewhere in Scotland. 2% come from England.
The main festival sponsor is Corona. The Globe Theatre bring their Romeo and Juliet to the University Quadrangle for a week of sell-out performances. The Council gives a last-minute grant to help secure the Street Party in Byres Road.
A record number of events: 445 in 38 venues, and an attendance of 137,600 for the paid and free events. Poor June weather sees outdoor events affected.
A difficult year as the recession bites, and WEF is no exception. The Council tell WEF to raise money through commercial means which brings the Scottish Sun and SPT as sponsors. Byres Road is not closed for the first time in 9 years due to costs and the Mardi Gras is relocated to Kelvingrove Park. A huge crowd turns out on a sunny day, and the event is still a great success.
A record number of events (460) and venues (88) and festival extended to 3 weeks. Festival sponsor is Waitrose. Festival Sunday in Kelvingrove Park is again the biggest event in Glasgow with 90,000 people. Gibson Street Gala attracts 25,000 in glorious sunshine.
A record number of events (650) and venues (88). Scotland has one of the coldest and wettest Junes on record, forcing outdoor events to be cancelled, but this doesn’t stop the Festival being another city-wide success. Of artistic note is the 23-concert series of chamber music in a re-opened Cottier Theatre with almost every professional ensemble in Scotland. Excellent reviews and increased support from Creative Scotland.
Rising costs for public events, controversy over drinking in public and falling grants mean that the famous WEF Parade does not take place for the first time in 16 years to great disappointment. However, another successful Cottier Chamber Project increases its attendances and new venues such as SWG3 come on stream. Still Glasgow’s biggest festival!
Michael Dale, Festival Director
The White House, Dowanhill Park, 50 Havelock Street
Glasgow G11 5JE
Phone: 0141 341 0844
Fax: 0141 341 0855.
The West End Festival (Glasgow) is a company limited by guarantee and registered in Scotland as a charity.Company number: SC224775. Charity number: SC024263.
For all press enquiries please email Laura Sutherland, Aura PR email@example.com or call T: 0141 337 6712 / 07764 936 840
Any event organisers who wish to raise awareness of their event should coordinate any press activity through the WEF press office. We would be grateful if you could reference the West End Festival and the website in any press materials.
Download our press pack containing 3 versions of our logo and a promotional West End Festival poster. (9.5MB)
Download a pdf of our brochure (7MB)
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