Meet the Team: Brendon McIlroy

Saturday June 2, 2018

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We're going to be introducing you to some of the people behind the organisation of the West End Festival.

Kicking off with...

: Brendon McIlroy

Role: Senior Events Coordinator

Time working with WEF: Oh, 12 years?? Started as a stage manager for festival Sunday.

  1. What is your earliest memory of the West End Festival

Coming along for a family day out in the late '90s and seeing colourful costumes, samba bands in the glorious sunshine.


  1. Why do you think the West End Festival is so important to Glasgow?

WEF is the only community festival of it’s kind in Glasgow- it’s inclusive, accessible and there’s something for everyone. In the face of so many cuts in the arts across Scotland it’s great that WEF has endured and I think that’s because it has community at its core.


  1. What are your top tips for choosing events to attend?

Go on the WEF website and filter by day- you can see exactly what’s on, when and where. Try and see a good variety, we have everything from dance and theatre to comedy. Definitely try and come to some of our free outdoor events like Mansfield Park / Hyndland Street gala day!


  1. What is the ONE event you’re looking forward to this year?

Mansfield Park gala day! This is the first time we’ve done this event and it’s taking place in Partick and Hyndland with everything from samba bands to community choirs and a barbershop quartet.


  1. Describe WEF in one sentence

A month of fun, festivity, merriment, culture and creativity- in celebration of Glasgow's west end!

If you're a WEF participant and would like to be featured please contact Laura Sutherland.


Nessie spotted in the west end as WEF 2018 kicks off

Wednesday May 30, 2018

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The 2018 West End Festival will kick off tomorrow, Thursday, 31 May, with over 350 events taking place across the west end, in 70 venues. From gala days and choral concerts to literary events and children’s activities, the West End Festival celebrates its natural habitat in Glasgow’s west end.

The festival includes, “McAlister in Wonderland”, a production which commemorates the end of the First World War and actors are doing their final rehearsals in Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens ahead of the event in the opening weekend, featuring Mary Queen of Scots and Nessie!

Picture credit: Martin Shields Photography

Liz Scobie, chairman of West End Festival said: “We’re delighted that so many organisations develop special productions and events just for the West End Festival.

“Every year we have an eclectic range of events including choral concerts, plays, gigs, children’s activities, foodie events, community gala days and so much more.

“We’re keeping our fingers crossed that the amazing weather continues for us!”

Michael Dale, festival director added: “We’ve got some highlight events this year including our own Mansfield Park/Hyndland Street Gala Day, of course the ceilidh at Kelvingrove Art Gallery will return, The Big Sunday is back in Kelvingrove Park for a second year, Oran Mor’s All Dayer is always a triumph and both Ashton Lane and Vinicombe Street are putting on their annual bashes, too.

“Everyone’s invited. Come to the west end and make a day of it!”

The West End Festival runs from Thursday, 31 May until Saturday, 30 June.

Check out the listings on our events page.


Ancient melodies on the Sarod

Tuesday May 29, 2018

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Experience a Maestro from India play ancient melodies on the Sarod.

The Sarod is a lute-like instrument but fretless, as opposed to the well-known sitar.   The word Sarod translates to 'beautiful sound' or 'melody' in Persian.  It is known for a deep, weighty and introspective sound.  The lack of frets and the tension of the strings make the Sarod a very demanding instrument to play, as the strings must be pressed hard against the fingerboard. 

Origins of Gandharva Veda (Indian Classical Music): Thousands of years ago in India, great Rishis or sages cognised within their own consciousness the subtle rhythms and enlightening melodies of the Veda, which is pure knowledge at the basis of Nature. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi revived Gandharva Veda in our time as the tradition of musical performance that replicates the vibrations of Nature at different times of day and night.  When you listen to this music you create greater peace, harmony and joy in yourself and the world.

Uniqueness of Indian Classical Music:  It makes you feel great!  It integrates intellect and heart.  The vibrations of the body begin to resonate with the rhythms and frequencies of nature.  It has a harmonising influence as it connects you with nature's intelligence.

The Sarod: The word Sarod translates to 'beautiful sound' or 'melody' in Persian.  It's a stringed instrument and is known for a deep, weighty and introspective sound.  The lack of frets and the tension of the strings make the Sarod a very demanding instrument to play, as the strings must be pressed hard against the fingerboard.

The concert will be held in the new Sikh Temple on Berkeley street.  The glorious atmosphere of this gorgeous building will add to the sublime experience.  And the samosa and chai will be scrumptous! 

Meet Maestro Diptesh...  


The concert will take place on Saturday 2nd June at 7.30pm. Check out more info about the event and tickets here.


Lobey Dosser performance

Friday May 25, 2018

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This year's one-hour performance tells, in a slapstick comedy style, the story of the Lobey Dosser mural above Bill's Tool Store in Bain Street at the Barras.
The shop front provides the Calton home for the Mighty Fine Theatre's mural, that celebrates the origins of Bud Neill's legendary wild west cartoon series based on Sheriff Lobey Dosser. 
Not only does it show the misadventure of the Calton Settler wagon train to Arizona, but it uses tools at the axle of the drama: Rank Bajin sabotages the wagon wheels so the nuts fall off and then cycles off with all the tools  Lobey Dosser rides to the rescue with tools inc an adjustable spanner and a screwdriver to save the day.
The message is that tools provide a positive symbol of the potential of humanity to overcome adversity and build anew. 
The mural contains a portrait of the founder Bill Pearson, as Barra Boy, whose tool store continues to keep the wagons rollin' rollin' along.
Two performances will be held on Saturday 9th June at 'High Noon' and 2pm in the wee Dram 232 Woodlands Rd G3 6ND near the Lobey Dosser bronze statue. £5.00 entry. 

Take a walk on the Weill side

Friday May 25, 2018

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What is the show "Take a Walk on the Weill Side" about?
Kurt Weill's classic songs are brought to life in a cabaret style performance. The story of Jenny unfolds as to how she manipulates events around the men she loves and leaves during 1940’s Nazi Germany. It is a 'jukebox musical' of both fatalistic and triumphant stories of the many female characters created in song by Weill.

Who was Kurt Weill?
Kurt Weill was one of the greatest theatre musical composers of the 1920-40s. His best know work is "The Threepenny Opera" (1928) which contains his most famous song "Mack the Knife". By combining music and drama with sharp political and social satire, Weill sought to broaden the audience appeal of his works.

What are some well known Kurt Weill Songs featured in the show?
Alabama Song (covered by The Doors, David Bowie); Ballad of the Soldier’s Wife (covered by Marianne Faithfull, PJ Harvey); Mack the Knife (covered by Louis Armstrong, Robbie Williams, Michael Bublé); My Ship (covered by Ella Fitzgerald, Joanie Sommers) and
September Song (covered by Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Lou Reed, Bryan Ferry).

Who is Taylor Wilson?
Taylor, multi-lingual, enjoys turning the stage into worldwide territory, where every song is a one-act play and not a syllable or nuance is left untouched or unconsidered. She is a unique force that blends a luscious, classically-trained voice with an incomparable gift for dramatic truth-telling. Her willingness to take it to the edge is what sets Wilson apart from other operatically trained singers who venture into contemporary styles. She is unafraid to forsake her lush vibrato, straighten out her tone and unleash notes that cut across musical categories, to seize the essence of the song.

Who are the Karen MacIver Trio?
The "Karen MacIver Trio" are Karen (piano, accordion), Robin Mason (cello) and Marion Christie (percussion). They bring all the musical talents and energy to recreate the melodic dramas of Weill's music.

When and where is the "Take a Walk on the Weill Side" show?
The show takes place on June 9th at 19:45 in St Mary's Cathedral, 300 Great Western Road. Tickets are £15/12.50 plus booking fee and are available at

Where Can I Find Out More about the show?
Here are some links to find out more about the show:
Taylor Wilson:


Languages with Derek Rogers

Monday May 21, 2018

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This is Derek Rogers' twentieth West End Festival appearance - every year since 1999 he has presented a talk on some aspect of language, accent or dialect. This year he looks at the the choices any community must make when deciding which - if any - languages to promote and which to ignore, and how that plays out in a time of great political uncertainty.
"We should all speak proper English!" - "We're an outward-looking, multicultural country!" - "Gaelic is dead!" This is a topic where emotions run high and opinions are strong, so come along and enjoy an engaging, fun-filled debate!
Tuesday 5th June at 1:00pm
Tuesday 12th June at 1:00pm
Tuesday 19th June at 6:00pm.
@Hillhead Library
Free event - no booking required.

Call for volunteers and Board members

Thursday April 26, 2018

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Do you have some expertise that you could offer the West End Festival and help shape its future?

We're on the look out for Board members who can strategically lead the festival and shape its offering for Glasgow and indeed Scotland.

We're also calling for volunteers to help form groups for Marketing and Promotion, Fundraising and Events.

With changing times it’s important for us to keep new ideas coming to the table and indeed for us to represent the very communities and people who participate and come to the festival events.

In the first instance, we'd like you to get in touch with Chairman, Liz Scobie - outlining how you think you can help. Liz will require either a CV or your LinkedIn URL.

We'd be delighted to hear from you and we'd be grateful if you could share this post with your friends in case they are interested, too.


West End Festival announces 2018 summer programme

Thursday April 26, 2018

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Glasgow’s favourite festival, the West End Festival, has launched its 2018 programme, for the month-long event taking place 31 May – 30 June, 2018.

With over 100 organisations participating, 350 events in 75 venues across the length and breadth of the west end, #WEF2018 has a diverse range of events taking place, from gigs and ceilidhs to exhibitions and school literary workshops.

Now in its 23rd year, the festival’s umbrella model still sees event organisers and promoters submitting events from all kinds of interests and communities.

There will be a host of community gala days this year, with one specifically organised by WEF. The closure of Hyndland Street and use of Mansfield Park on 16th June, will allow a safe and friendly event to take place featuring a music stage, kids activities and street theatre. The local cafes and restaurants will be opening their doors to everyone and it’ll be an opportunity to enjoy such a popular area of the west end.

The ever-growing musical events listed are diverse - from jazz and dance to choirs and bands, not to forget Oran Mor’s annual All-Dayer.

Michael Dale, festival director, said: “For the first time, we’re excited to have the National Theatre for Scotland performing an outdoor show at the Children’s Wood. In addition, we have some international participants this year, a choir from Alabama and a string quartet from Sweden.

“We also have six ceilidhs, a new cinema at Maryhill Community Hall and Edinburgh Napier University will perform its play of the First World War.”

Once again Ashton Lane will close for a street party on 3rd June, The Big Sunday returns at Kelvingrove Park on 17th June and the talks and authors event programme continues to feature everything from architecture to wildlife and tombs to language.

A highlight event, an exciting new exhibition will take place at Mackintosh Queens Cross Church throughout the festival – “Museum of the Moon” by artist Luke Jerram. Measuring seven metres in diameter, the moon features detailed NASA imagery of the lunar surface. The internally lit sphere sculpture is at a scale of 1:500,000. There are also “Under the Moon” evening concerts. 

Liz Scobie, chairman of the West End Festival commented: “What can I say? Another year of eclectic events which demonstrate the diverse culture represented in the west end.

“I’d like to thank everyone who has submitted events for this years’ festival, Sainsbury's for once again supporting us and Glasgow City Council for its ongoing support, as well as the many other volunteers and donors who support us year after year.”

 The West End Festival is also looking for Board members and volunteers.

Ms Scobie added: “With changing times it’s important for us to keep new ideas coming to the table and indeed for us to represent the very communities and people who participate and come to the festival events.

 “I’d be delighted to hear from anyone interested in having a chat. Please email me

Fingers crossed for sun!


WEF wins an award!

Friday April 13, 2018

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On 28th March, the West End Festival won a funding award!

The Commonweal Fund was given to the West End Festival to support the Children & Arts Programme. 

Jack Cameron (pictured) is in Primary 4 at Hillhead Primary.  Jack's school is a regular attender of all the festival book events and have been over the past 20 years.   

This is the first time the West End Festival has been awarded funding from The Commonwealth Fund of The Trades House of Glasgow. 

With special thanks to Teresa Lowe who produces the West End Festival literary events programme on our behalf. 

Hillhead Primary classes are looking forward to meeting the former Children & Young People's Laureate, Chris Riddell, on Thursday 7th June at The Kelvin Gallery, University of Glasgow, as well as other authors & illustrators. 

Pictured left to right: WEF's Michael Dale, Jack Cameron,  Dr Alistair Dorward (Deacon Convenor who presented the award and certificate), and WEF's Chairman, Liz Scobie.

Liz Scobie said: "Thanks to the wonderful support of The Trades House of Glasgow - children and young people are able to meet one of the UK’s finest illustrators in two highlight events. We also look forward to Glasgow children enjoying some of the most inspiring authors and illustrator talent working today."