Wednesday October 12, 2016

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Today the West End Festival has launched a new winter event for St Andrew’s Day, “Glasgow’s St Andrew’s Day Torchlight Parade”.

The Torchlight Parade will be open and accessible to all families and friends who want to take part, on Saturday, 26 November. Another sparkling event from the West End Festival and supported by Scotland’s Winter Festivals, Glasgow City Council and Byres Road and Lanes BID.

Vouchers for torches are now on sale at a price of £10 via the festival website or you can phone Ticket Source.  A donation from every torch sold will be made to Beatson Cancer Charity which the festival has chosen to support from this particular event.

This evening celebration of Scotland’s patron saint will take the form of a torchlight parade passing through the main parts of the west end using a rolling road closure. Samba Ya Bamba and SYB Youth Band will be playing in the parade.

The rolling closure will mean the roads are safe for the procession to walk but will limit any inconvenience to road users.

Michael Dale, festival director said: “We’re delighted that the West End Festival has received the support of EventScotland through the Scotland’s Winter Festivals programme to be part of this winter’s activity in Glasgow and is able to use its resources to organise a celebratory event for everyone to take part in.

“With the funding, we can be sure to make this event fun and inclusive for people in Glasgow and beyond to both take part and spectate.”

It is expected that there will be up to 3,000 people in the procession. We are encouraging those not taking part in the procession to come along and enjoy the spectacle along the route.

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “St Andrew’s Day is the perfect opportunity for Scots and Scots at heart around the world, to celebrate all that is great about our nation – including our thriving contemporary culture, our rich heritage and our first class food and drink. 

“We are a country renowned for our warm hospitality, and what better way to mark our 10th Scotland’s Winter Festivals than honouring one of our patron Saint’s most inspiring traits - sharing. This St Andrew’s Day, in the spirit of St Andrew, I encourage everyone to take the time to share – be it a conversation, pot of tea, or even invite someone to the many St Andrew’s Day events happening up and down the country, such as Glasgow’s St Andrew’s Day Torchlight Parade.”

David Welch, chief executive of Beatson Cancer Charity, said: “Glasgow’s St Andrew’s Day Torchlight Parade is a fantastic new addition to the city’s winter activities and we are delighted to be its charity partner. 

“As The Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre is situated in the west end of Glasgow, it’s very fitting to support such an exciting new event and we’d like to take this opportunity to wish Michael and the organisers the very best in putting together a really great evening. 

“We are looking forward to it already and hope lots of people come out and join in the fun in support of Beatson Cancer Charity. All money raised will have a direct impact on thousands of cancer patients and their families who visit The Beatson and its related facilities, both now and in the future, through the dedicated work of the charity.”

We look forward to seeing you  on Saturday, 26 November!

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West End Festival launches month-long programme on 21st anniversary

Monday April 25, 2016

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Glasgow’s largest multi-cultural event, the West End Festival (WEF), launches its programme today, (Monday 25 April), celebrating 21 years.  

WEF is thrilled to announce a special collaboration with Glasgow favourites, Belle and Sebastian, celebrating their own 20th anniversary with a series of unmissable shows (10 – 15 June). The group performs at WEF before heading to London’s Royal Albert Hall for two sell-out shows on 22 and 23 June.

Two special events, both FREE, are taking place at the Kelvingrove Bandstand: ‘Summer Arts Community Stage’ 5 June, wonderful arts groups from across Glasgow’s north west - from samba drumming to joyous singing, upbeat dance to fresh young theatre; ‘A celebration of singing’ on 18 June, a day of song for everyone to enjoy at Kelvingrove Bandstand as we welcome local choirs to the stage of the iconic venue. The WEF is working in partnership with Glasgow Life for these two events.

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Michael Dale, WEF director said: “Over the last 21 years, we have not only played to over a million people in free and ticketed events, but we have given birth to a number of important mini-festivals such as the Bard in the Botanics, the Cottier Chamber Project, the Gibson Street Gala, the Partick Farmers' Markets and The Electric Gardens. All of which have their origins in the West End Festival, and all of which have gone on to bigger things.”

WEF announced last month that it was reviewing its development after 21 solid years. Options now include the winter festival, The Electric Gardens at the Botanic Gardens, very successful in year one and pounded by bad weather in year two.  As a result the hugely popular Byres Road parade has been suspended this year.  WEF want to reassure committed festival goers that it will return bigger and better in the future.

There are still hundreds of events taking place throughout the festival month, many of which are free and are family friendly.

Five things not to miss!

  • 3-26 June, Festival of Architecture 2016, The Ideal Hut Show exhibition at Botanic Gardens
  • Maryhill Community Hall will host the voice of Capercaillie, Karen Matheson, on Saturday, 4 June.
  • Oran Mor’s All Dayer on Sunday, 19 June
  • Sounds of Shakespeare, commemorating 400 years since William Shakespeare’s death, Friday, 3 June at St. Brides Church
  • Gibson Street Gala, Sunday, 19 June

Liz Scobie, WEF chairman added: “A festival as dynamic as WEF in a city as dynamic as Glasgow can’t stand still, and as well as new venues and new performers, we hope you notice the ever-increasing section on singing.  This year there are at least 29 choirs and singing groups – a whole festival in its own right!

“The West End Festival is 21 today and all of us connected with it feel very happy that we've reached this major milestone.  Over the years we've grown to become the largest community festival in Scotland and this is due to the efforts of a small army of dedicated staff, volunteers who donate their time and effort, and numerous supporters and sponsors who give us their money and encouragement. 

“We must thank Glasgow Life, the W M Mann Foundation, the Hugh Fraser Foundation, the Cross Foundation and the Scottish Book Trust for their contributions.  But special thanks must be reserved for Glasgow City Council whose confidence in the WEF has never wavered.  Let Glasgow Flourish!

This year, the West End Festival is supporting The Big Lunch, which takes place across the UK on 12 June. WEF is helping spread the word to communities around the west end of Glasgow.

The programme will be available later this week in outlets across the west end and is available on the mobile-friendly website from Tuesday 26th April 2016.

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WEF announces dates & celebrates 21st anniversary

Wednesday March 23, 2016

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Scotland’s biggest community festival, Glasgow’s West End Festival (WEF), celebrates its 21st anniversary this year, with a packed programme of events from Friday 3rd to Sunday 26th June.

A full programme of festival events will focus on Kelvingrove Park, making full use of the refurbished Kelvingrove Bandstand.  A massed samba event, a festival of singing, a big band concert and a series of rock concerts are some of the highlights.

In recognition of WEF’s milestone anniversary, the festival looks to the future to ensure it continues to be one of the most valued events in the Glasgow calendar.  Focus will be placed on working more closely with partners in both the public and private sectors to design and deliver a fresh programme of activities, increasing the opportunity for community participation and engaging a wider audience.

Festival chairman, Liz Scobie, said “Our 21stbirthday is a truly significant milestone.  We have evolved from a few events to a programme of more than 400 and the participation of hundreds of thousands of people of all ages supported by a small army of volunteers.

“WEF remains a charity and we are extremely grateful to all the unsung heroes who give their time and energy to make our festival happen. As we take time to develop our new-look festival, we have decided that there will not be a parade in Byres Road this year, whilst making plans for it to return bigger and better in the years to come.

“WEF’s award-winning commitment to community impacts on the quality of people’s lives and helps provide a sense of belonging, neighbourliness and cohesion.  Who can put a price on that?”

Festival director, Michael Dale, added “We continue to have a packed programme of events organised by west end businesses, venues and promoters.  These will include Oran Mor’s “All Dayer”, the Queen Margaret Drive and Gibson Street Galas and a large “Festival of Singing” featuring some 20 choirs and choral groups.”

In particular, WEF is supporting The Big Lunch on Sunday June 12th as part of a nationwide community project to get as many people as possible to have lunch with their neighbours in streets, gardens and parks throughout the UK.

An Eden Project initiative, last year’s event attracted over seven million people in a simple act of community, friendship and fun.  Funding of £150 is available for The Big Lunch for anyone who organises individual events.

Advertising and sponsorship opportunities remain available for businesses interested in supporting the development of WEF, the area and the people who live, work and visit the west end.

The full programme will be launched in April. Keep an eye on westendfestival.co.uk for updates, news and more.

Photograph: Festival fun in west end park by John Linton Photography

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Black Friday 25% off

Thursday November 26, 2015

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Book tickets this Friday, Saturday or Sunday and get 25% off a large selection of tickets!

Dates and time slots which apply include:

Fri  27-Nov       7.15pm 7.30pm 7.45pm 8.00pm
                 
Sat  28-Nov           7.45pm 8.00pm
                 
Sun  29-Nov   6.45pm 7.00pm 7.15pm 7.30pm    
                 
Wed  02-Dec   6.45pm 7.00pm 7.15pm 7.30pm 7.45pm 8.00pm
                 
Thurs  03-Dec   6.45pm 7.00pm 7.15pm 7.30pm 7.45pm 8.00pm
                 
Fri  04-Dec         7.30pm 7.45pm 8.00pm
                 
Sat  05-Dec           7.45pm 8.00pm
                 
Sun  06-Dec           7.45pm 8.00pm

Limited number of tickets available per slot, so hurry!!

Use code EGBLACK at checkout.

Book via this link /events/events/electric-gardens/

Feel free to share this offer!

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Electric Gardens dates announced

Friday September 25, 2015

West End Festival organisers today (Friday, 25 September) have announced this winter’s light and sound experience in Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens ‘The Electric Gardens II: Lux Botanicum’. The event will run from Friday, 13 November to Sunday, 6 December.

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Building on last winter’s successful event, the experience will encourage adults, children and groups, to walk through the darkened upper Botanic Gardens with dramatic lighting, sound effects and music. The Kibble Palace will once again be open throughout the event.  

Michael Dale, West End Festival director said: “We’re very excited to launch our second winter event, The Electric Gardens II, Lux Botanicum.  For this event, we’ve chosen to concentrate on the natural features of the Botanic Gardens, in particular the rarer trees, the animals that live in the park and a series of specially created masks that have been hidden away for visitors to discover.  

“We received positive and constructive feedback after last winter’s event, which gave us new ideas and has helped us to improve the experience for our second event. We’ll have food and hot drinks available to buy every night, and we’ve also created an exciting new ‘fire theatre’ which will be performed on stage every night. To celebrate the launch, we’re even giving a whopping discount for the first two weeks!”

The event will run 5.30pm-8pm Wednesday to Sunday with entry slots every 15 minutes. In order to help people plan their visits, the organisers have announced that there will be fixed performance times for the fire theatre:  6.15pm, 6.45pm, 7.45pm and 8.15pm each day.

The broad paths of the Botanic Gardens means the experience is accessible to all. Organisers would like to remind visitors that this is an outdoor event and the darker nights, coupled with the nature of the event and natural landscape of the Gardens, mean that families and individuals should come prepared.

An early bird offer (25% off) has launched today until midnight 9 October and for tickets on the opening weekend, there is also a discount. In response to feedback, we are also offering cheaper tickets midweek. Tickets are priced at: Child (5 to 14) £4-5.25 (early)/£5-7 (full), adults £6 - 9 (early)/ £8-12 (full) and a family ticket (for four) £18.75-27 (early)/ £25-36.  For children under five admission is free but registration is still required. 

Festival organisers want to encourage all local businesses to participate and follow Oran Mor’s example with the restaurant offering 10% off meals during The Electric Gardens to visitors holding tickets for that day.  The festival will promote any similar offers via its social media channels and email list.

Liz Scobie, the festival’s chairman, added: “We welcomed around 18,000 people at the inaugural Electric Gardens and we’re every bit as confident for a successful event this winter”. 

Tickets and information will be available via www.westendfestival.co.uk from today.  It’s advisable to book early as tickets are expected to sell quickly!

 With thanks to Glasgow City Council and the staff at the Botanic Gardens.

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West End Festival Entertains 125,000

Sunday June 28, 2015

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Photo credit John Linton


The West End Festival, which celebrated its 20th anniversary this year, has come to an end for another year. It is estimated 125,000 people attended festival events between 5 and 28 June

The festival celebrated what has been the biggest and most enjoyed festival to-date with over 400 exhibitions, performances, talks, tours, workshops and screenings at over 80 west end venues. Many of the events are programmed free of charge to encourage a wider audience and it is estimated that *115,000 festival go-ers attended free events.

Creon Brock, music and theatre programmer for Oran Mor said, “This year’s West End Festival has been another great success at Oran Mor. We've had 38 shows across the festival, and a typically eclectic range of genres including theatre, tribute bands, folk, pop, indie, jazz, talks and poetry. The highlight of the festival at Oran Mor was our 4th annual All Dayer which took place last weekend and saw 14 Scottish bands, playing across 3 stages, all in the one building”.

Other festival highlights included the Kelpie Maquettes 'coming home' (which saw over 20,000 visit the G20 Heritage exhibition) and Mackintosh Queens Cross Summer Concert, ‘Feel the Spirit’, with globally renowned composer and conductor, John Rutter. For families, author Julia Donaldson and illustrator Nick Sharratt brought the Gruffalo to the festival, giving children the unique opportunity to meet the literary character.

Festival director, Michael Dale said: “Participants from all over the world brought events to the festival including those from Japan, Serbia, India, Russia, Germany and the USA. From the mobbed streets of Byres Road on Festival Sunday to the packed out Kelvingrove bandstand finale, we’re very pleased with WEF 2015!”

This year, the festival has been working with Yelp Glasgow, the online crowd-source review company. Yelp helped recruit over 30 citizen reporters; they attended events, wrote reviews and posted them on the dedicated WEF Yelp page. Glasgow’s blogger community also got involved on a bigger scale this year helping engage more visitors and bring them closer to the festival experience.

The website also reached record activity during the festival with 200,000 page views since 5 June and nearly 16,000 unique visitors to the website on parade day alone.

The festival would not be possible without support from key funders including the National Lottery, Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Arts and Scottish Book Trust, in addition to all local businesses and participants who contribute tremendous effort.

Festival chairman, Liz Scobie, finished, “This year has been the most fantastic and energised festival yet and I would like to thank everyone involved including funders, visitors, participants and the local community.  We're already looking forward to our 21st birthday celebrations next year.  In the meantime, we're taking a short break prior to launching our second winter event at the end of 2015, The Electric Gardens!”

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Recital - From The Golden Age

Saturday June 27, 2015

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Last night, in the beautiful surroundings of Mackintosh Queen’s Cross, I attended a ‘Recital from the Golden Age’, performed by violinist Feargus Hetherington and pianist Edward Cohen. 

A golden age of anything is a period of time looked back on with fond sentiment. For violinist Feargus Hetherington, there was a clear golden age for the violin and piano duo between 1920 - 1939 with many pieces now lost and no longer played in public. Feargus’ goal is to resurrect some of these pieces and bring them, as well as the golden age of violin and piano concerts, back to their former glory. And boy did he ever!

Although not packed out, there was a fair crowd of around 30 at the event which in a way made it feel more exclusive - a sort of private evening with Feargus and Edward as they played their music. The variety of pieces packed out the hour making it seem like much longer in the best of senses. One minute a light-hearted melody which would have been suitable for a mixer on the lawn of the White House and the next a dramatic piece which could have come straight from a black and white tragic film. 

The pieces were played with such conviction, as could be seen in the faces of both musicians, filling the small stage space with enough drama and fervour to keep the audience near enough transfixed for the entire performance. It was incredibly impressive to see two musicians hold a group’s attention so completely for so long! 

A piano and violin recital is not my usual cup of tea, I’ll admit. However, after the performance tonight, I will seek to try out something of a similar caliber in the future. For any who wish to experience a performance in the Mackintosh Queen’s Cross there is A Piano Recital with Peter Seivewright tonight at 7.30pm with tickets available online and at the door.

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Moby Dick - A Play, A Pie and A Pint

Friday June 26, 2015

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Oran Mor’s “A Play, A Pie and A Pint” is a hugely successful lunchtime theatre initiative where visitors – you guessed it – have the chance to see an adaptation of a classic play while enjoying a pie and a pint (or glass of wine or soft drink if you are so inclined). It’s great to see the event continue as part of the West End Festival with its Summer Season of Classic Cuts. This week the feature piece was Harman Melville’s ‘Moby Dick’ which I had the pleasure of seeing yesterday afternoon.

Arriving ten minutes before the performance started, it was already difficult to find a seat among the 60 or so other people there where I could enjoy my pie (meat and vegetarian options available) so my first observation would be to get there early! The performance space consisted of a small runway and stage behind it making for a very intimate-feeling performance no matter where you were sat. As the lights dimmed the three performers who played all of the characters marched in from the rear, singing an old sea shanty and even slipped in a sly nod to Scotland during it. This was met with more than a few chuckles from the crowd.

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The three actors regaled the captivated audience (myself included) with the tale of the white whale and one captain’s insatiable need for revenge against it. All three of them gave powerful performances using very subtle, if any, sound effects and basic props. The transition between narrative and performance was very slick and worked well as part of the 45 minute piece. Despite watching captain Ahab descend further into his destructive obsession with Moby Dick, there were a few light hearted moments which were weaved skilfully into the performance keeping the experience not too intense for a lunch time event.

Moby Dick was incredibly enjoyable to watch at Oran Mor. Great setting, great cast, great play and great pie (although I could have eaten another!) I’m a convert to “A Play, A Pie and A Pint” and will be back to check out whatever takes centre stage next!

Moby Dick will be performed again today (26th June) and tomorrow (27th June) with tickets available online or at the door of Oran Mor. 

Daniel Irwin

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Speaking In Tongues

Thursday June 25, 2015

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Little Bat productions presents: Speaking in Tongues - the story of nine interwoven lives. It deals with the right and wrongs of emotional conduct, of contracts broken between intimates, bonds forged between strangers and the darker aspects of human nature.

Sonja & Leon and Pete & Jane are all happily married. Or so they say. But one night Sonja meets Pete in a bar – they go back to a hotel room.  Leon meets Jane in a bar – they go back to a hotel room.  Is what happens tragic or inevitable?  How well do your really know the one you love?

A woman disappears. But who was the last one to see her alive?  Her husband? Her client? Or the man who finds her shoe in his car? Speaking in Tongues takes you on a journey through a web of deceit, love, lies and death to answer the question ‘Do you truly know the one you love?’

The production company Little Bat Bat is the creation of Meli Bach in collaboration with Simon McCay and Una McDade.

“Little Bat grew out of the need / desire to DO something and not just sit around waiting for someone else to cast us in great roles.  By taking control of ‘making it happen’ we get to cast ourselves and choose projects that challenge us.  When looking for material we wanted stuff that intrigued and captivated us.  When we first read Speaking in Tongues we all thought ‘how are we going to do this?’ That’s all part of the challenge. 

The ability of this play to capture the imagination, to keep people debating and asking questions, is one of the reasons we chose it.  It is brilliant writing and technically quite difficult with simultaneous scenes and overlapping dialogue.”
                                                                                                     - Meli Bach

Speaking In Tongues Banner June 24 5 6

Review by Andrew Stewart:

"The recently renovated and elegant Webster’s theatre plays host to the fascinating production by Andrew Bovell, ‘Speaking In Tongues’.   

Meli Bach, Simon McCav, Jessica Phillippi and James J Robson take centre stage in this play about adultery and betrayal.  Opening in a sleazy hotel, we are introduced to the first four characters telling two similar stories at once.  At first this method seems confusing however as the play progresses we see the reason for this clever approach.  As the act continues we learn about the individual characters and their marriage woes.  This initially required intense concentration pays off as the story progresses.  

As the second half begins we are introduced to four more characters played by the same people.  Although again mildly confusing, this device becomes compelling and creates a feeling of pain shared between the characters.  This play is clever as it intertwines everyone’s story and brings about an interesting plot involving a detective, a woman councillor with self-esteem issues and a character who might have been a murderer.  As the plot develops, the audience begin to see how each character connects with one another and with that allows for a unique story about relationships to be told.

During the play there were many different environments including a bar and a hotel.  The clever use of props allowed the audience to feel as if they were in the set environment with the characters.  Working with little space, credit is due to the creative ability in order to make this a success.  With only four actors playing nine different characters the opening night of ‘Speaking In Tongues’ was certainly a hit at the Webster Theatre."

 

Tickets available online through Little Bat Productions for performances today (25th June) and tomorrow (26th June).

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Anne Hardy: Twin Fields Exhibition

Wednesday June 24, 2015

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Anne Hardy’s newest exhibition “Twin Fields” at The Common Guild, an exhibition space for visual arts projects and events, is perhaps one of the more unusual yet brilliant exhibitions you may visit while perusing the fine selection of art events the West End Festival has to offer.

Hardy, a London-based British artist, has had many solo exhibitions since 2004 where she predominantly creates large sets/environments and photographs them to create her art. These sets have been characterised as “hovering between reality and fiction”, and although never featuring people, have been described to have personas and very distinctive feels about them.

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 The current feature piece as part of her newest ‘Twin Fields’ exhibition, is a stand-alone wooden box which you can enter which is fitted almost like a rural cabin in the wilderness. To create the sets, Hardy often ‘comes across’ materials and uses them in her urban scenes. All elements of the set are very carefully chosen and arranged despite their incidental appearance and this is part of the genius behind Hardy and her work. It is also a unique experience to be able to engage with such immersive art through visual, hearing, touch and smell sensations.

 Anne used to create the sets in order to photograph but as she progressed further with creating the environments, they became her art in their own right. The settings for her installations are carefully chosen as they often become part of the exhibit themselves. People who have watched Anne work describe how each piece grows and evolves, manifesting itself in the surrounding studio space. The open and spacious townhouse location for this exhibit beautifully contrasts the enclosed and rustic nature of the set on display. 

 Once exhibits are finished, they are dismantled so experience this unique exhibition while you can! Twin fields will be showing in The Common Guild until the beginning of August. More information on Hardy can be found on her website and at The Common Guild.

 

Daniel Irwin

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