£50,000 fundraising campaign launched to bring back Festival Sunday

Tuesday May 17, 2016

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The West End Festival recently announced its annual festival Sunday wouldn’t take place this year, for a number of reasons, including increasing costs and reduction in funding. Today it launches a fundraising campaign to bring back Festival Sunday.

With increasing costs for licensing, road closures, cleansing, security and policing, and cuts of funding across the board in the arts, compounded by the bad weather at Electric Gardens in November last year, which impacted on sales, Festival organisers decided not to put on the Mardi Gras spectacular on Byres Road on its 21st anniversary.

Some of the public and businesses are of course disappointed as it means there is no road closure and mass gathering to cheer on 400 parade participants. The streets of Byres Road and Dumbarton Road have been lined with up 100,000 people in past years.

Liz Scobie, festival chairman said: “We took our time this year to think of how best to go about making sure the festival is sustainable in the future.

“We’ve come to realise that as the public are so enthusiastic about the parade and businesses in the west end increase takings on Festival Sunday, we need to start to ask for help and support in future years.

“We’ve never been able to ticket the event, so we can’t charge for attending the parade, plus we’ve always wanted to ensure a real family day out for everyone to enjoy.

“As a charity and organisation run by volunteers we now have to ask the public to contribute to helping ensure we can make Festival Sunday happen.”

Michael Dale, who founded the festival back in 1996 added: “It’s just not possible to organise and run such a huge public event for free anymore.

“We’re launching a fundraising campaign online and we’re going to ask people to donate money through our website.

“We need to raise £50,000 by early next year if we’re going to put an event on like Festival Sunday. In addition, we’re also asking for everyone to give us their thoughts on what Festival Sunday could look like. It might not be as it has been in previous years firstly depending on funds and secondly, the public and businesses have the opportunity to shape something really special and potentially new.”

Liz Scobie finished: “Now is the time to launch this campaign, before the festival kicks off this year and when we’ve got an already captured audience. We’d like to thank our current funders and supporters and also thank anyone in advance who would consider supporting our campaign.”

The festival aims to reach £50,000 in this fundraising effort and is relying on community spirit and the passion from previous parade go-ers to help bring back Festival Sunday in 2017.

Donations are suggested from £5 and will be made via the website's fundraising page - click here to watch a short video and donate now.

Anyone who donates £20 or more will be entered into a prize draw and will also be added to the Festival’s website supporter list.


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.


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


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!


The Kelpies Come Home

Tuesday June 9, 2015

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Today, (Tuesday, 9 June), The Kelpies maquettes return home to Glasgow’s west end as part of an exhibition in the West End Festival (WEF), running from 9- 25 June at the Kibble Palace. 

The 10 foot horses heads artwork was hand-crafted by renowned Scottish sculptor Andy Scott at his Maryhill workshop. They acted as models to create the world’s largest equine sculpture, The Kelpies, which is the 100ft high centrepiece of the new 350 hectare Helix Park in Falkirk and forms a dramatic gateway to the new section of the Forth and Clyde Canal.

The maquettes will be the main feature of the G20 heritage exhibition, which has been designed to launch 'The Friends of Queen Margaret Drive' and start fundraising for the conservation of the Queen Margaret Drive footpath. In addition to the Kelpies, the exhibition includes pieces from the Rennie Mackintosh society, The Maryhill Burgh Halls, Scottish Canals plus local conservation groups.

The original concept for The Kelpies was to celebrate the role of horses in both industry and agriculture, as well as their role as tow horses for boats along the Forth and Clyde canal. The Kelpies maquettes have travelled around the world and appeared at major events including New York’s Scotland Week, the 2014 Ryder Cup and this year’s Grand National and Scottish Cup Final. However, this is the first time they have come ‘home’ to the G20 postcode area where they were made. 


Following the success of Festival Sunday and the WEF parade which saw thousands of people flood the streets of the west end, the G20 heritage exhibition is an event of cultural significance. The celebrated WEF is the perfect platform to welcome home these globally recognised symbols of Scottish craftsmanship.

Rhonda Fraser, chair of QMD Traders Association commented: “The G20 Heritage Exhibition demonstrates Queen Margaret Drives unique position in connecting the amazing Conservation projects throughout the Maryhill postcode with the world famous Botanic Gardens.” 

With over 400 events in over 80 venues across the west end, there is something for everyone, including children, with many of the events free to attend. The 20th WEF is geared up to be the biggest and best yet!

Falkirk Council’s spokesperson for Culture, Leisure and Tourism, Cllr Adrian Mahoney said: “The Kelpies maquettes have travelled all over the world acting as cultural ambassadors for Scotland and we’re proud to deliver them back to their birthplace for one of the country’s most celebrated festivals. We hope their presence will help make a difference to a local cause and encourage more people to visit the Falkirk area to see the magnificent Kelpies landmark for themselves.”



The West End is in blossom on Parade Day

Sunday June 7, 2015

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The West End Festival’s Mardi Gras parade took place today, Sunday, 7 June, with nearly 500 participants taking part in the spectacular, themed around ‘bloom’, and an estimated 80,000 lined the streets and soaked up the atmosphere.

The biggest date in the Festival programme is Festival Sunday, which has seen up to 100,000 people lining the streets of Byres Road, Botanic Gardens, Kelvingrove Park and spilling down to Dumbarton Road. Local businesses take advantage of the day with a temporary extension of the bars and cafes into the streets; there were markets/stalls and an awful lot of street entertainment – nearly 40 acts - to help keep the spirit alive even after the parade has finished.  

Organisations from across Glasgow have worked for the last few months to prepare costumes for participating, helping the west end come alive. From a giant thistle and wonderfully colourful hot air balloon to a life-size pear and a bluebell, everyone had a bloomin’ good time!

Hundreds of events (detailed on the WEF website) take place over the next few weeks from music to dance, literature to kids activities and as always, many of the events are free to attend.

Liz Scobie, chairman of the festival commented: “Already we’ve had huge support for our 20th West End Festival. The Gibson Street Gala, a world premiere, local markets and stalls and now the famous parade, all within a week! Thanks to our wonderful team of volunteers who help make all of this happen.

“Next week we’re launching a special exhibition at the Kibble Palace with the Kelpie maquettes, salsa dancing, comedy, whisky master-class, kids activities, science, a ceilidh and numerous top class music events and theatre. So much to choose from, it’s difficult to pinpoint one or two highlights!”

Full event listings via westendfestival.co.uk


20th West End Festival launches

Friday June 5, 2015

The West End Festival (WEF) launches today (Friday, 5 June 2015) with its biggest and boldest line-upto-date, celebrating 20 years of being Glasgow’s favourite festival. The Kelpies return home and a world premier is planned!

The biggest date in Festival programme is Festival Sunday, which has seen up to 100,000 people lining the streets of Byres Road, Botanic Gardens, Kelvingrove Park and spilling down to Dumbarton Road. This year it takes place on Sunday, 7 June, the opening weekend and will start in the Botanic Gardens and come down Byres Road. The theme ‘Bloom’ will work its way through the parade where organisations from across Glasgow have worked to prepare costumes for participating.

On the opening day alone, 18 events take place, one of which is a world premiere! Louise Macdonald presents: "Mary Queen of Scots" new works by Judith Bingham, Dee Isaacs and Eddie McGuire, performed with Schumann's "Maria Stuart Lieder"-a close look at the letters and poetry of Mary Queen of Scots.

WEF also welcomes the Kelpies home!* The Kelpie Maquettes will be on display from 9 June in the Botanic Gardens as part of an exhibition to help fundraise for Queen Margaret Drive footpath restoration.

Big names such as Elaine C Smith, John Rutter, Julia Donaldson, Liz Lochhead and Peggy Seeger feature in the programme too.

Hundreds of events detailed on the WEF website take place over the next few weeks from music to dance, literature to kids activities and as always, many of the events are free to attend.

Liz Scobie, chairman of the festival commented: “The Gibson Street Gala last weekend was fantastic and the whole area was super busy! We’ve now got our brains in gear for the parade this weekend and we’re definitely keeping our fingers crossed for the weather!

“I’d like to thank everyone involved in the festival this year, helping make our 20th anniversary something special.

 “Of course none of this would be possible without our volunteers and the generous donations from our supporters and funders, in particular, Glasgow City Council.

“We’ve got a few surprises brewing for later in the month!”

Bailie Liz Cameron, Executive Member for Jobs and the Economy at Glasgow City Council, finished: “This year’s West End Festival is set to be ‘blooming’ fantastic, and I and so many people are looking forward to the tremendous programme of events on offer this month.  There is truly something for everyone at the festival, so whether you like music, dance, literature, visual arts or children’s events, there will be something for you.” 


Closing event at the Kelvingrove Bandstand

Monday June 23, 2014

This Sunday (29 June) we're wrapping the festival up with our FREE closing event at the Kelvingrove bandstand!

It will represent the community of local musicians that WEF has previously used over the years at the free stages in Kelvingrove Park on Parade Day.

Excitingly, it will also see the bandstand being used once again during #WEF2014 for a line-up of varied bands.

If you can believe it, the bands have some unexpected members; former MSP Pauline McNeill, rugby legend John Beattie, and Michelle McManus (Honest Sam and the Dealers).

Local bands also have the chance of performing at the closing event. Michael Dale, festival director, explained the process: “We have also opened up a slot during the day for ‘amateur’ local bands to play. Bands which are interested in playing and are available, will enter a mini competition to win a slot.


Take a look at the line up below:

1pm - Pauline McNeill Band

1.45pm - L'Acoustica

2.10pm - Hat Trick

2.35pm - Community Choir

3pm - Mugen Taiko Dojo

3.40pm Possible competition winners

4.15pm - John Beattie Band

5.15pm - Honest Sam and the Dealers

6pm - FINISH


How to enter the competition

Entries of videos and Sound Cloud links along with a covering email should be sent to westendfestival@btconnect.com to show us what you can do.

Bands must also answer the following question: What does the West End Festival mean to you? Entries should be sent by 12pm on Wednesday 25 June and chosen band(s) will be notified by Friday, 27 June.

Twitter: #WEF2014 @westendfest 


_OLD Final week before WEF 2014

Thursday May 29, 2014

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Organising a festival isn't easy you know! You have to have time, resources, contacts, ideas and a passion for the project. Our WEF team certainly has passion!

As the last week before the festival kicks off runs away before us, we're busy working on final arrangements for media, calling out for volunteers for the biggest date in our programme, parade day, and ensuring our participants, local businesses and of course you, the people who flock to the festival events, are fully up-to-speed with arrangements.

We were happy to see a waiting list start for stalls on parade day. Hopefully the sun will shine as it did last year!

We were doing a count and think we've got circa 500 people in the parade! More than last year and by the looks of the costumes and puppets, it's going to be every bit as colourful!

Be sure to keep an eye on the website for highlights and of course our Facebook and Twitter feeds for news and updates.