The West End Festival in Glasgow was started in 1996 by Michael Dale with the support of the late Councillor Robert Logan, as a small local festival centred round Byres Road but has since become the biggest community festival in Glasgow's calendar, if not in Scotland, with events running throughout the month of June.
It has been used as a model for other festival start-ups and has grown with each festival. Its centre-piece carnival parade is the largest carnival event in the UK after Notting Hill in London. In 2006 the parade day ran congruently with the Glasgow Mela; organisers billed it as "Scotland's Mardi Gras" and an estimated 100,000 people took to the streets and parks.
The Festival is run by a Board and sub committees including Strategy and Finance, Operations and Marketing Group. We strive to maintain consistency in delivering a varied programme of events and giving people of all ages something to look forward to every year.
Notable past events have included The Longest Day (1998/99), The Ideal Hut Show (in conjunction with Glasgow's Year of Architecture), in 2004 a free outdoor concert led by Belle & Sebastian in the Glasgow Botanic Gardens and in 2006 an outdoor production with a cast of sixty actors based on the life of Jesus. In 2008 the Globe Theatre from London performed "Romeo and Juliet" in the hallowed quarters of the University of Glasgow quadrangle, underneath the iconic George Gilbert Scott tower.
Regular features include the Bard in the Botanics (founded 1999), children’s author series featuring authors such as Julia Donaldson, and the Gibson Street Gala, started in 2004, which sees crowds of 15,000 visit the area for free kids' activities, community stalls and a music stage. An innovation for 2010 was a West End Highland Games at Hughenden Sport Fields. In 2015 the first Queen Margaret Drive gala day was held.
The festival was placed in the top 30 festivals in Europe by The Independent. Two other Scottish festivals were listed, the Edinburgh International Festival and T in the Park. The free 2004 Belle and Sebastian concert was voted in the top 20 gigs of all time by The Scotsman in 2007. WEF was also voted number one in the top five reasons to visit Glasgow by Trip Advisor in 2007.