News - Don't rain on our parade!

Friday June 7, 2013




Don’t rain on our parade – it’s our 18th birthday!



This weekend, Sunday 9th June, the West End Festival’s Mardi Gras Parade, which features some 600 participants and is sponsored by itison, returns to Byres Road for its 18th birthday and it’s expected that there will be 70,000 visitors to the area to witness the colourful spectacle and enjoy a day out.

In addition to the parade, which leaves the Botanic Gardens at 3pm, there will be street buskers, 60 food and craft stalls spread along Byres Road, the first ever Seafood Showcase (free event) in a bespoke arena and the first Ceilidh on the Corner.

Entertainment will be organised from 1pm and stop for the parade to take place and then start again at 4pm.

Byres Road will be closed from 8am until 8pm on Festival Sunday and west end businesses and residents are being asked to be mindful of this, as there will be no access to Byres Road during these hours.

What’s going on in the parade?

Fairytales of the Unexpected by Royal Conservatoire of Scotland students - a Disney style castle section with a variety of costumed characters and puppets within its walls.

A group of human roller-skates.

Large puppet makes representing Glasgow and Scotland.

Several community groups are following the flying high - aspiration theme.

A group of pink itison morphs.

Clyde, the official mascot of the Commonwealth Games 2014.

Other sections have interpreted things more individually. CAOS from Clydebank are Outer Space, Temple-Shafton Youth Project are dragons, our city centre youth project are flying machines whilst another group are iPods and iPhones. There will also be a thistle section too and three separate Chinese sections (lions and dragons).

Six full samba bands including home grown favourites sheBOOM and Samba Y Bamba - and a community-based one which was formed out of a programme of samba drumming and costume making workshops all over the city and it is made up of people from the different areas.

Seafood Showcase

There will be cookery demonstrations by Glasgow Chefs such as John Quigley and through the Showcase there will be activities geared towards getting families cooking and eating together as well as trying to get people to buy better. Zero Waste Scotland and Seafood Scotland are supporting the event. As well as the great food available there will be live music from the Seafood Buskers and the Fisherman’s Wife’s Choir. The Showcase will take place from 12pm – 8pm at Byres Road.

Ceildh on the corner

Grab your granny by the hand and head along to Ceilidh on the Corner also at Byres Road.

There is nothing better than a family jig with some of Scotland’s premier Ceilidh bands to wipe away the cob webs of a Sunday afternoon. This fun event kicks off at 12pm with Reely Jiggered and that is what you will be if you keep dancing through the sets of Lua Dansa, Deoch n Dorus and The Reel Stramash.

It’s an opportunity to make a day of it with friends or family and get your stomp on with some of Scotland's most well-known Scottish dancing including the Gay Gordons and the Canadian Barn Dance. Tickets £5.00, Concessions £3.00, Family Ticket £15.00 (2 adults and two children).


Liz Scobie, chairman of the festival added a reminder:

“The local shops, restaurants and bars will be celebrating with us and it’s great that so many people can take advantage of what the festival, in particular Festival Sunday, has to offer.

“We’ve been working to alert people to the road closure, licensing, the activities taking place and also to remind people that it’s a family friendly day.

“We want everyone and their Granny to come along on Sunday – it's a special birthday for us this year and we hope everyone will join in the celebrations in true party style!"


As it’s a family day festival goers are urged to be sensible when drinking and abide by the licensing laws.


For media enquiries:

Laura Sutherland, Aura PR

T: 0141 337 6712 / 07764 936 840 E:


 Notes to editors:

    • Interviews available on request with Liz Scobie and MD of sponsor, itison, Oli Norman


    • West End Festival is supported by Creative Scotland, Glasgow City Council and Glasgow Life


    • Journalists, photographers and camera crews have been invited (via email on Monday from Laura) to the parade on Sunday, 9 June. A press desk will be set up and manned. A follow up media invitation will be sent on Friday, 7 June


    • Each year the Mardi Gras parade is made up of costumed groups and individuals who come from all walks of life. Most (but not all) of the groups are from support organisations that help people in a variety of ways in their everyday lives. The parade is an opportunity for them to work together to create entertaining and stunning artworks that can draw attention to important work of those organisations and individuals. The support organisations work tirelessly all year around to make a difference to peoples’ lives and the art projects are a great way to remind participants and spectators of the value of meaningful, shared, social activities.




Meeting the author of Katie Morag

Wednesday June 5, 2013

Mairi Hedderwick did a Katie Morag event at Hillhead Library attracting around 180 children and their families on Saturday, 1 June. This was the opening event of The West End Festival  Literature programme.  The following day on Sunday, 2 June, Mairi Hedderwick delivered a fascinating  event on the Art of Travel Writing and Illustration, also at Hillhead Library.  Her illustrations and her travel writing are remarkable.

Mairi Alexander Harrison

 The two children, pictured above, Alexander and Harrison happened to be in the Junior Library on the Sunday and heard that Mairi Hedderwick was upstairs.  The boys are real Katie Morag fans so they joined us at the end of the adult Travel writing event buy more Katie Morag books, meet Mairi and get their books signed.

They were thrilled to meet her.

Guest blog by Teresa Lowe  - Literature Programmer


Guest blog - Kibble Flavours of the Festival

Thursday May 30, 2013

Each year the Mardi Gras parade is made up of costumed groups and individuals who come from all walks of life. Most (but not all) of the groups are from support organisations that help people in a variety of ways in their everyday lives. The parade is an opportunity for them to work together to create entertaining and stunning artworks that can draw attention to important work of those organisations and individuals. The support organisations work tirelessly all year around to make a difference to peoples’ lives and the art projects are a great way to remind participants and spectators of the value of meaningful, shared, social activities.


On 22nd April 2013, we invited members of the public and community organisations to the Kibble Palace to share in a showcase event profiling the community engagement aspects of the Mardi Gras Parade and several organisations who exemplify this model were represented, including Glasgow City Council’s Leaving Care Services, LGBT Youth Scotland, Depot Arts, New Rhythms For Glasgow, Turning Point Scotland and Spider Arts.


There were live musical performances from a Springburn Community Choir (Local Vocals), some featured live singing from young people from Leaving Care Services, an original dance work by a new dance group in Drumchapel “Aspirate” and several costume artworks by artists Kenny Burns and Siobhan Lawson.


To see some of these fantastic organisations in action, come along to the Mardi Gras Parade on Byres Road on Sunday 9 June 2013. The street will be closed, there will be food and drink, stalls and entertainment, and the parade with costumes and samba bands will set off from the Botanic Gardens at 3pm. See the West End Festival website for more information!

Guest blog post by:

Noel Bridgeman, West End Festival Parade Co-ordinator


Torchlight Procession update

Wednesday May 29, 2013

Torchlight Procession update from organiser via WEF blog


Event Cancellation

Saturday, 1st June 2013

Dear All,

It is with regret that we have taken the decision in consultation with The West End Festival to cancel the inaugural Torchlight Procession on Saturday 1st June due to issues with the proposed procession route.

All purchases will be refunded within the next 7 days.

Best wishes

The Torchlight Procession Organising Group.


Guest blog - Putting the fun back into food for children

Wednesday May 29, 2013

DD logo

Dribble Delights are putting fun back into food for children with food allergies and food intolerances. We would like to invite all of you to our stall on Sunday,  9 June, 2013 where we will be promoting our e-book and future range of baby food and toddler snacks.

Our delicious and nutritious recipe e-book guides you through the weaning stage and beyond. It’s packed full of advice and tips from a top baby nutritionist and also highlights the quality ‘free from’ staples for your pantry – cherry-picked by Cheryl Ryder (who’s been there, done that and bought the bib (!)) Our e-book is exclusive to Lulu, available to purchase here.

DD Lulu book

The festival has been hugely popular in previous years. Set against the beautiful backdrop of Byres Road and the iconic Ashton Lane, what could be better than milling around the stalls of Glasgow’s front runners in art, culture and cuisine?! Hopefully the sunshine will be in attendance too.

Cheryl and kids

We would also urge you to keep your eyes peeled on Reporting Scotland as Dribble Delights will be featuring soon! CEO, Cheryl Ryder, will be baking with her children and discussing her own personal experiences with food allergies and intolerances – the frustration, stress and how Dribble Delights can improve this for parents in similar situations. Stay tuned!

DD healthy food

Do come along for competitions, samples and a fresh outlook on delicious, nutritious food made without gluten, wheat, soya, dairy, lactose, egg or nuts!

Check out our website for more information.


West End Festival Literature programme

Wednesday May 15, 2013

Family Book events

Announcing a feast of Festival book events for families!  Opening the West End Festival Family Book Programme will be the creator of the much loved Katie Morag stories - Mairi Hedderwick at Hillhead Library on Saturday 1 June at 2.30pm.  A combination of masterly storytelling and the stunning Hebridean illustrations give this remarkable series enduring appeal for children and adults alike. Join Mairi to hear all about Katie Morag’s adventures!

Saturday 8 June sees a Socktastic celebration of a fantastically funny picture book Socks with Nick Sharratt who is one of most creative and loved illustrator talents in the UK.  Later, he will be joined by Julia Donaldson, creator of The Gruffalo. In their new picture book Animal Music, the animals get together for a sing-song. Why not join in the fun and meet two leading talents of the children’s book world! At The Kelvin Gallery, University of Glasgow. Tickets John Smith’s Tel 0141 342 5986.

All aboard The Tall Ship on Sunday 9 June at noon to hear the captivating tales of Bottlenose Bay which have already been featured on Bookaboo on television. Meet award-winning illustrator/writer Jan Fearnley to hear about the adventures of Harry the harbour mouse and a host of other loveable characters.  Tickets £2.50 in person only from The Tall Ship.

On Saturday 29 June there is a chance to be a princess for the day and enjoy storytelling and fun activities at a Princess Poppy party. The adventures of the enchanting Princess Poppy have become a firm favourite with little girls.  A global phenomenon, over 2 million copies have been sold to Princess Poppy fans worldwide.  Join author Janey Louise Jones at Hillhead Library at 11.30 am to hear the latest tales about the delightful Princess Poppy.

Princess Poppy - Holiday

Spotlight on The Children’s Wood and North Kelvin Meadow

With some seventeen literary happenings at North Kelvin Meadow and The Childrens Wood during The West End Festival, there are some magical experiences on offer for families and schools. On Saturday 15 June, children’s writer and storyteller Lari Don will visit this special piece of West End wilderness, to read her stunning new retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, encouraging the listener to imagine fairy tales and magical journeys of their own.  Meanwhile, back by popular demand, actor Tam Dean Burn celebrates Father’s Day on Sunday 16 June with a collection of favourite Julia Donaldson stories with musical accompaniment from Emma Schad and Andy Alston. In the afternoon, there is a once in a lifetime opportunity for children to meet The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo's Child!

Sunday 30 June sees Glasgow’s own literary and artistic genius Alasdair Gray lending his unique voice in a reading of The Just So Stories and Tales by Hans Christian Andersen to mark this closing Celebration of the West End Festival Book Programme at North Kelvin Meadow.  At this colourful family event, there will be a range of other activities.  Children and adults are also  invited to come dressed as their favourite character from the Just So Stories!

Alasdair Gray

Spotlight on the West End Festival schools book programme at Glasgow City Libraries

Unputdownable stories are the hallmark of Cathy MacPhail’s writing for young people.  The West End Festival and Glasgow City Libraries are proud to premiere her latest novel Mosi’s War at The Mitchell Theatre on Monday 3 June at 10am. We’re delighted that an author who connects with such a wide range of children and young people is able to open the Schools Programme for The West End Festival.

Back by popular demand,  ‘A master of funny’ the hilarious writer (a.k.a. “The Fibster”) Steve Hartley returns to The West End Festival and The Mitchell Library for a super-heroic session of fun and fibbing. Be a part of “Fact or Fib”, the silliest game-show in the galaxy. Play the “What If?” game, and help Steve make up the biggest, fattest fib in the universe. And finally. . . hear all about Oliver Fibbs and The Giant Boy-Munching Bugs.

 The West End Festival and Glasgow City Libraries are also very excited to feature Carrie and David Grant, presenters of CBeebies show Pop Shop and voice coaches for Take That and Fame Academy. Carrie and David are passionate about promoting opportunities for children to enjoy music. Their brand new series of high energy picture books Elephants Birthday Bells and Lions Speedy Sauce are all about MAKING MUSIC and JOINING IN!  

lions speedy sauce

These are just some of our events for schools - don't miss out!

The West End Festival’s roving Writer in Residence

My West End –The Never Ending Story

Come meet our first ever Roving West End Festival Writer in Residence, Cathy Forde and be inspired to create a short piece about your favourite West End Place.  It could be new, or in the past.   Perhaps your special West End place has vanished and is now a memory or has changed significantly. Or maybe it is a new discovery or a cutting edge new design June.  Open to all at 6.30pm Thursday 6 June at Hillhead Library.   Elsewhere in this fascinating project, Cathy will lead school classes in a series of creative writing workshops held at The Botanic Gardens and The Childrens Wood encouraging them to express their response to their special West End place.



WEF book events

Wednesday May 15, 2013

This year the West End Festival is proud to showcase an incredible array of literary talent at 50+ book events across a variety of venues across the west end from The Tall Ship to Cottiers Theatre to libraries, schools and The Children’s Wood.

lochhead, liz image by Norman McBeath

Scotland’s National Poet Liz Lochhead headlines our new series of Literary Late Nights at The Cottier that also features Christopher Brookmyre and the outrageous humour of his novel Bedlam. We also have Glasgow’s own Doyenne of Darkness, up and coming Glasgow crime writer Caro Ramsay with her crackling crime thriller Blood of Crows and former New York Club producer Martin Belk with his unique memoire Pretty Broken Punks about coming of age amidst New York’s demi-monde.  Tickets from Cottiers 0141 357 4000 or


News- WEF's opening Torchlight Procession launched

Wednesday May 1, 2013

This year’s West End Festival will be opened by an inaugural Torchlight Procession, which will start at the iconic Riverside Museum and end at one of Glasgow’s historic buildings, Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery.

Riverside Museum with Kids 2

The Torchlight Procession will take place on the evening of Saturday, 1 June and will be the first family event of the festival, bringing people together by torchlight to celebrate Glasgow’s West End.

Michael Dale, Director of the West End Festival said: “This is a real family event, signalling the first weekend and inclusiveness of the festival. Participation is the key to its success and we encourage people of all ages to join in.  The route from the Museum to the Art Gallery is doable for all ages, taking in new sites and old, including the University and Kelvingrove.

"We want people to come out for the evening with their families and feel a part of something special.”

Riverside Museum will be the host for families and participants prior to setting off on the procession with live music, entertainment and a special festival late opening night.  The mass procession of Torchbearers will then take the route from Riverside to Byres Road, University Avenue and finish at Kelvingrove Museum, where they will be met by street performers and musicians.

Torches are priced at £7 and will be available to purchase prior to the event at:


Blog: Alopex Events raises money for #wef13

Monday April 29, 2013

“It’s 6:50pm and I’m running late, literally.  My train has only just pulled into Glasgow Central Station and I’m already caught up in a leg race with an old German couple struggling to keep up with fashion.  The unconventional leather footwear that stupidly points out at the end of my legs rain down against the coat of skin on Platform 13, with my footsteps leaving damp puddles of echo along the tarmac as I move into a taxi waiting outside to take me to the CCA”.

For some it is just another night at the CCA, for others it’s the chase of a pursuit.  The making of a something for those still living on the edge of a dream leads to one point.

On Monday the 11th March that point was the “Glasgow Film Premiere Night” which was organised by the ‘Alopex Events’ team with conjunction with’ Burning Horseshoe Productions’ and ‘Quick off the Mark Productions’. The night consisted of showing two short films by directors Rodney Reynold and Chris Quick.

The first of the two films to be shown; “The Greyness of Autumn” follows the final Days of Danny McGuire, an ostrich living in Scotland. Danny’s life is suddenly turned upside down when he loses his job and his girlfriend in the same day. As Danny struggles to reinvent himself in a society that treats him as a second class citizen, he questions whether there is much point living in a world that will never see past the feathers”.

Where the film should unearth everyday problems we all face, it somehow manages to quake a cackle of laughter. The Greyness of Autumn has proven to be great exercise for your face, but don’t expect your heart to walk away lightly either.

There is simply just not enough hands up puppet Ostriches speaking with a Scottish accent.

“A Priest with Two Guns”, the second of the two films to be shown at the Premiere. “After a confessional Father O’Reilly is startled by a noise and investigates to find a small box outside the front of the church. He opens the box to find a severed hand and a Dictaphone. Upon listening he discovers that his brother Shaemus owes £20,000 to McEleroy the Money Lender and he has 24 hours to repay the debt or Shaemus dies. It is left to O’Reilly to use all his capabilities to find the money but he comes across many obstacles alone the way”.

Blood, violence and lots of men wearing black clothes pointing guns at each other, this persuading modern day Celtic western shooter has it all which has been influenced by Tarantino as Director Rodney Reynold admits to.

No matter how meaningful words can be, the barrel of a gun speaks much louder and there is more emphasis on that whilst they are duel wielded by a psychopath who’s arms are twice the size of a double barrel shotgun.

Organised by Alopex Events, the team of who were recently put together -- Barbara Walsh, Jade Anderson, David Sharp and James Stewart – study Events Management in their first year at The City of Glasgow College.

The team would like to thank everyone who attended the event and everyone who helped the process along the way.

Expect to see big things happening in the future from these Short Films, Actors and the Directors. All profits from this venture are to be donated to the fantastic West End festival, celebrating Glasgow’s culture, sense of family and most of all its love of FUN.



Friday April 26, 2013

Tonight, Thursday 25 April, the West End Festival (WEF) launches its 2013 programme and is delighted to announce that the Mardi Gras Parade will be back in Byres Road this year on Sunday, 9 June as part of Festival Sunday.

Following a public appeal the Festival has secured funding for its iconic Parade Day from Glasgow based daily deals and events service - which ensures its return in 2013.

Parade Day attracts up to 80,000 revellers to the streets and this will be the first time the Festival has had sufficient funding to close Byres Road for the Parade since 2008.  Its return to the heart of the west end is predicted to attract record visitor numbers.

West end resident and founder of, Oli Norman, has pledged the £15K sought by the public appeal to ensure the event goes ahead this year.

Oli said:  “It was a huge blow to lose the Mardi Gras from the West End Festival programme last year.  We saw the public appeal in the media and decided we had to make it happen.  Not only is the Mardi Gras a huge amount of fun, it’s also a great support to local businesses and communities: something we’re really passionate about at itison.”

The programme includes over 400 events in some 80 venues across the west end of Glasgow, with events ranging from music and theatre, to walks, talks and community galas.

In addition to the crowd funding project, funding is also given from Creative Scotland and further funding of £31,600 has been contributed from the Integrated Grants Fund from Glasgow City Council to the overall 2013 West End Festival programme. Glasgow Arts is also providing financial support to arts-led community projects in the run up to the parade.

Bailie Aileen Colleran, Executive Member for Communities at Glasgow City Council, said: “The West End Festival is a fantastic celebration of culture, and one that has brought colour and entertainment to the streets of the West End since 1996.  It is now an established part of Glasgow’s events calendar, attracting visitors from all across the city and beyond, and so many people are already looking forward to what will be taking place in June.  The festival is something Glasgow City Council is pleased to support through our Integrated Grants Fund.”

Chairman of the Festival, Liz Scobie said: “We asked for help and got it which shows how much affection there is in the community for the Byres Road Parade.  The festival brings everyone out to have fun with friends and neighbours and it’s impossible to put a price on that. The Parade and the Gibson Street Gala are very special local events where people take over the streets that they walk along every day of their lives. Everyone just relaxes and enjoys the neighbourhood.   Come along and you’ll see what I mean.

“Securing funding for the 2013 Mardi Gras was hugely important for the city.  With the Commonwealth Games coming to Glasgow next year, there are exciting times ahead and our ambition is to ensure the West End Festival and the communities and organizations involved are an integral part of that.”

The WEF takes place from Friday, 31 May to Sunday, 30 June this year and it’s set to be the best yet!

Highlights include the opening Torchlight Procession, Glasgow Mela, Cottier Chamber Project, Gibson Street Gala, Big Band Festival, Bard in the Botanics and much more. The new website will launch on 26 April with full event listings.


Further information:

Laura Sutherland, Aura PR

M: 07764 936 840 E:

Notes to editors:

    • Interviews available on request


    • Supporting imagery available on request


    • Generous funding is given from organisations such as Creative Scotland, Glasgow Life and Glasgow City Council


    • Other sponsors and funders include Ikea, G1, Hugh Fraser Foundation


    • More than 1 million visitors have attended the event from its start in 1996


    • The festival involves a mixture of new projects delivered by over 100 Glasgow-based organisations and arts groups and a programme of local and international artists, overseen by a small festival team. The West End Festival includes events, exhibitions, performances, talks, tours, workshops and screenings, and many are free of charge to allow accessibility


    • A crowd funding project has been started so that the festival can raise money and reward pledges – it finishes on 6 May




    • Scotland’s biggest free multi-cultural festival, the Glasgow Mela, will take place in Kelvingrove Park from 12 noon until 8pm on Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th June.  Bringing some of the biggest names in urban, Bhangra and Bollywood music to Glasgow, the weekend promises vibrant tunes, dance, entertainment and live performances on three stages across the whole park.  For more information visit

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