Wednesday May 10, 2017
Ian Marland, editor of Glasgow WE Today filming Festival Chairman, Liz Scobie and Festival Director, Michael Dale.
You can see the White House in the background! That's WEF HQ.
Reminiscing and remembering the last 21 festivals, with highlights.
Not forgetting of course the cracking line-up for this year's festival - our 22nd! 400+ events in June.
Check out the events page for listings.
Thursday April 27, 2017
Picture credits, Laura Sutherland, Aura PR.
Thursday April 27, 2017
Eat, drink, learn, walk, dance, laugh, sing and be inspired – it’s all going on at #WEF2017
Today we're pleased to announce over 400 events in 75 venues across the west end, including big names like Chaka Khan and a new free family event on Sunday, 11 June in Kelvingrove Park — the Big Sunday.
Other dates for your diary:
- West End Fiesta’s Kool and the Gang (June 9) Chic featuring Nile Rodgers (June 11)
- The second “Voice @ the Bandstand” will take place on Sat 24 June – this is a celebration of singing with at least 10 choirs and choral groups. And it’s free!
- New for 2017 is a series of free community events supported by the National Lottery “Awards for All”. These will be at the newly created pedestrian zone in Vinicombe Street, outside the Art Galleries and in the Botanic Gardens.
- The ever-popular Open Air Ceilidh will be on June 4, with a repeat on June 10
- Bandstand Cinema Club, 5-8 June
- Great Get Together, culminating in The Big Lunch – 17-18 June
- Vintage bus service – free – 25 June
Liz Scobie, West End Festival chairman said: “We’re thrilled to announce the programme for our 22nd festival, with so many new and exciting events. We can’t ignore the fact the parade won’t be returning this year, but as costs increase year on year, it is just not possible.
“The West End Festival is almost a month-long, jam packed with an eclectic mix of events. It’s about different venues and people from across Glasgow and beyond, coming to the west end to enjoy the very best of talent, unique venues and the fun atmosphere it creates every year.
“There is something for everyone and we look forward to seeing new and return festival go-ers in June.”
Michael Dale, festival director, added: “Kelvingrove Bandstand once again plays a key role in outdoor music events and has a packed programme. Local community gala days are also prominent, from Maryhill to Partick and areas in between.
“The festival spirit is high as we see more creative events being submitted than ever. It’s a real pleasure to work with so many different venues and communities to bring the programme together.”
From tonight all the events will have been added to the website and you can search by venue, date and category of event.
We do hope to see you in June!
Monday November 21, 2016
Glasgow’s St Andrew’s Day Torchlight Parade is ready to take place this weekend, Saturday, 26 November, in celebration of St Andrew’s Day. It’s your last chance to book your place!
The Torchlight Parade will be open and accessible to all families and friends who want to take part in a musical and bright 45 minute torch-lit walk through the heart of Glasgow’s west end.
The West End Festival which is organising the event recommends participants dress appropriately for the weather and to think ahead about using public transport to travel, as there is no dedicated event parking.
The route is wheelchair and pushchair friendly.
Michael Dale, festival director, said: “Our aim is to make the much anticipated torchlight parade a fun event for everyone. We can look forward to a unique event that will see people from Glasgow and beyond come together and celebrate St Andrew’s Day with their families and friends.
“As always we encourage participants and spectators to use their common sense when it comes to traffic and we want to remind people not to bring alcohol to the event as it is not licensed for drinking.”
The parade’s rolling closure will mean the roads are safe for the procession to walk and will limit any inconvenience to road users. Kelvin Way will be closed from 6pm and will re-open at 9pm.
Vouchers for torches are on sale for £10 via the festival website. Full details of the event, timings and how to purchase torches are available on the festival website www.westendfestival.co.uk. For last minute purchases on the day, up until 5.30pm, torch vouchers can be bought at Oran Mor bar, Byres Road.
Fire performers will entertain participants as they gather at Queen Margaret Drive, along with music from Samba Ya Bamba, SYB Youth Band (circa 60 people), Williamwood Pipe Band and the Glasgow City Pipe Band (circa 20 people), who will also play in the parade.
Another sparkling event from the West End Festival and supported by Scotland’s Winter Festivals, Glasgow City Council, WM Mann Foundation and Byres Road and Lanes BID.
Thursday November 10, 2016
Brendon McIlroy (pictured about with the torch), WEF's event manager, chats to us about his role and working with the many volunteers who help WEF each year.
How long have you worked with WEF and what kind of role do you play?
2016 has been my 10th consecutive year working with the West End Festival. Over the last decade I’ve worked in various capacities from managing small scale stages and artist co-ordination to planning, organisation and on-site events management. WEF is the most fun I have all year and I enjoy every aspect of my job!
Why did you get involved in WEF?
I had always been a huge fan of the festival, especially the June Mardis Gras parade which is known as being one of the biggest and brightest events in the UK. I felt that I had the skills and experience to help the team go from strength to strength and ensure WEF continued to provide the consistent high quality, innovative and accessible events we have become known for.
Why do you think people like volunteering for WEF?
Our events can be described in one word- ‘fun’. Our volunteers are exceptionally well looked after, valued and receive guidance and supervision from experienced events professionals throughout their time with us. We ensure our volunteers get as much out of the experience as possible and provide references on request for their involvement. Participation in the WEF also looks great on a CV and can open doors, e.g. some of our previous volunteers have become regular, paid members of our events team.
What kind of people do you meet?
As a volunteer at any WEF event you will meet a myriad of individuals from bagpipers, samba-drummers, choirs, belly dancers and fire performers to our colourful and diverse audience. I’ve developed a lot of lifelong friendships and professional relationships through working with WEF.
What sort of things will volunteers for the Torchlight Parade be doing?
Glasgow's St Andrew's Day Torchlight Parade is an innovative event with lots of tasks and responsibilities our volunteers will be assigned to. As well as looking after our performers, the team will be assisting with distribution of torches, dealing with public enquiries and ultimately ensuring the safe passage of the parade. As with any event of this magnitude- we’d need our volunteers to be pro-active and provide support when needed.
Can kids get involved or do volunteers need to be adults?
Due to the nature of this event we are looking for volunteers to be 16+. Sorry kids :)
Can anyone volunteer or do they have to be from the west end?
Anyone can volunteer regardless of where they live. Despite WEF being based in the west end we attract people from near and far!
Will volunteers get a special top to wear?
All volunteers will be supplied with a WEF branded high-vis vest due to the event taking place at night-time. We would require volunteers to be wrapped up and prepared for the cold as Glasgow isn’t exactly known for its warm November weather!
Can a local organisation send staff to help?
Absolutely. We welcome volunteers from local groups and organisations.
It’s important to mention that despite these being voluntary positions -they are limited and coveted so we expect our volunteers to be committed and give 100% on the day!
Are you interested in volunteering at Glasgow's St Andrew's Day Torchlight Parade on Saturday, 26 November? Drop Brendon an email firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday November 1, 2016
After launching Glasgow's St Andrew's Day Torchlight Parade last month, WEF PR Director, Laura Sutherland sat down with Michael to find out what's planned and what people can expect from the event.
1. What is the idea behind the torchlight parade?
Scotland has a long-established Patron Saint and we have a real opportunity to celebrate this, much like the Irish celebrate St Patrick's Day.
As the West End Festival aims to extend its activities across the year and continue to work with the Glasgow communities, and beyond, it seemed right to take advantage of the opportunity by the Scottish Government via EventScotland to organise an event around St. Andrew’s Day.
St Andrew's Day is Scotland's national day, designed to celebrate the country's history, culture and heritage with people both at home and abroad. Check out #mystandrewsday on social media to see how everyone is getting involved.
2. Why should I come to the torchlight parade?
We hope that people will take the opportunity to help mark St Andrew’s Day by taking part. The Hogmanay Torchlight Parade in Edinburgh is amongst the biggest in Europe and so it’s clear that there is a demand for this kind of event to show that we care about being Scottish. Also, every torch that you buy helps to build our donation to the Beatson Cancer Charity, which is a great local charity to support.
3. What is there to do/see at the parade?
We will have fire artists at the gathering point at Queen Margaret Drive and then you can walk with the samba and pipe bands through the west end. We’re hoping kids will join in with their parents and bring along some fun glow in the dark accessories, too.
4. How long does the parade last?
About 45 minutes once people set off. We will have security and stewards along the way, and we’re also appealing to the community to volunteer and help on the night.
5. Is there anything for children to do at the parade?
We’re happy for kids to dress up or take glow-sticks, and hope they will enjoy being part of a fun event. The WEF summer Mardi Gras parade is virtually the biggest community event in the city, and this will be a bit like that except in the dark!
6. Do I need to buy a torch to be a part of the parade?
Yes. We take the view that children shouldn’t have one, so if adults over 16 buy torches that would be great. It’s a participant-led event so if you don’t feel like walking from Queen Margaret Drive to Kelvin Way, then you can always stand in the street and cheer on the parade as it passes.
Wednesday October 12, 2016
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!
Saturday June 11, 2016
Victorian Glasgow was a great place to be for artists, rich industrialists were in abundance and they were keen to patron the young budding talents, fresh out of the newly opened School of Arts and Design. But, while fine art painting and the Glasgow Boys were always a big favourite, young architects and designers managed to grab their share of the fame. Those wealthy patrons needed temples of abundance to show their success and in the manner previously used by the princes of the Renaissance they made sure to secure the best architects, artisan, craftsmen and artists to complete magnificent mansions in glamorous places such as Parc Circus in the vicinity of the newly landscaped West end Park… only a step away from the Gothic tower of the University of Glasgow.
Glamorous periodical published lavish descriptions of those mansions for all to marvel. The Art Journal, The Baillie, and others compete to get exclusive rights to describes such carved marble fireplace, such stunning wall decoration designed by the young talents such Charles Rennie Mackintosh or George Walton. Business owners like Miss Cranston opened amazingly designed Tea rooms where all could enjoy a high tea in themed rooms adorned by amazing stencilled decoration.
Yes stencilling was at the high of fashion !
Stencilling is the technique of transferring a pattern through a pre-cut template has been used through the ages by many civilisations for hundred of years to decorate interiors in ancian China, create the most intricate indigo fabric in Japan, produce shop signs in Africa and so on… it is such a flexible process that it has been used for hundred of years by many trades.
But in Art Nouveau Glasgow… stencilling was a unique opportunity for young designers to complete schemes in their own style or the style required by their patrons without having to rely on a printed wall paper designed by people like William Morris. And young designers seized the opportunities offered by this medium to make up grand rooms by their private patrons and fantastic ones for their business ventures.
Period magazines describe the colourful schemes in Miss Cranston’s willow tea rooms, I have in my research times uncovered some more discrete but also very beautiful unique schemes long covered.
Because of course, Victorian followed fashions very avidly and wall treatments however beautiful they were had only a short live. They were painted or papered over very quickly replaced by a more up to date scheme, and its only by accident that nowadays schemes come back to life. They are in great demand by “conservators to be” or new owners of Victorian properties who want to recreate original schemes in their newly bought properties. I have spent the past 16 months re-creating stencilled schemes in a George Walton house from 1903. Those were beautiful designs, unique and partly fresh under the paper and paint but not fresh enough to be revived.
The Victorian West end of Glasgow is a mine of stencilled sources. It was built just at the right time but they are not all grand. In many occasions it will be a small classical border out of a pattern book applied to a complete building by a painter and decorator. In conversions appartments, new owners might find a more intricate scheme if they have purchased the old grand showy dining room of the house. You never know … the first owner of your property might have had a deep friendship with George Walton or Charles Rennie Mackintosh and he could have had designed for him a very unique set of motifs. Keep an eye opened when you strip off wall paper. Walton at the turn of the century was well known for getting on the steps himself putting an overall on and “having a go” specially when he worked for Miss Cranston on her unique rooms.
The Mitchell library in Glasgow has a great number of sources to be found if you care to search long enough. A number of years I found there a copy of a painters manual from the turn of the century, “Stencilling for Craftsmen” was describing in great details how to produce a stencil plate and coat it in linseed oil to avoid the paint from destroying it. As well as how to mix pigments with medium to achieve the best finishes. You see there is no need to give into the modern Chalk paint or the very expensive small pot of Stencilling paint. Basic materials are the best ! But if you are into reproducing your own stencilled scheme you should take care to get yourself the best brush as even in those days the short hard bristle brush were said to be the best to use.
I have set up The Lansdowne House of Stencils in the West end of Glasgow over 25 years ago with the aim to research and renovate some of those stencilled schemes. Freshly graduate out of a Christie’s Decorative Art course I had the chance to find my way into a few building sites crowded with workmen with hard hats. There I saw quite a few bits of stencilled decorations coming out of the woodwork when the tiles come down or the wood partition. Over the years I have been involved in recreating long gone schemes for exhibitions or historic houses including The House for an Art Lover.
The excitement I felt the first time I discovered a little piece of stencilling behind a partition has never gone, a bit like a modern time archeologist I hunt the Glasgow West end for discoloured painted figures to record them. And then back in my studio I cut a fresh template made of yellow card, the smell of linseed oil comes out strong and fresh. The tool is ready to be used. The forgotten design has found a second life. I record my schemes and research in my blog www.thelansdownehouseofstencils.com
Periodically I run workshops to pass on the knowledge and share the experience and I am always so excited to see the same enthusiasm in participants who may have just discovered a little bit of a pattern while taking wall paper off inside a long forgotten cupboard.
During the West end Festival i will be running a one day workshop at the Mackintosh Church on the 16 June on using historic stencils to decorate your own home, we will work with Glasgow Art Nouveau patterns. For details and bookings see the West end Festival brochure under “Stencilling Mackintosh".
Guest blog post by Elisabeth Viguie-Culshaw, The Lansdowne House of Stencils - Glasgow
Tuesday May 31, 2016
Whatever your particular health concerns or New Year’s resolutions may be—sharper memory, lower blood pressure, less stress … conventional wisdom leads a lot of us straight to the gym. But decades of research paints a fascinating, promising picture of what an effortless relaxation technique called Transcendental Meditation can do you for instead—without setting foot on that treadmill.
Yep, we said effortless. Transcendental Meditation, or TM, is 20 minutes, twice a day, of profound rest and relaxation, according to its fans. Meditators use a mantra to guide their minds to a place of stillness that (apparently!) exists within all of us—we’re just too stressed and stretched too thin to know it’s there. If the goings-on of our buzzing, frazzled minds are like the waves on top of the ocean, the inner quiet is like the silence at the ocean’s depths, says Bob Roth, executive director of the David Lynch Foundation, which brings TM to at-risk populations like domestic abuse survivors, inmates, and inner-city students.
You can do TM anywhere, but you’ve got to learn how first, typically over 4 consecutive days for about an hour to an hour and a half at a time, Roth explains, and from a certified teacher. It doesn’t require any particular religious, spiritual, or intellectual belief—even skeptics are welcome, he says.
Sitting comfortably, meditators close their eyes . “You think the mantra in a way that serves as a catalyst for the mind to turn within,” Roth says. That’s it.
Roth’s been practicing TM for more than 40 years now, and the research supporting his practice has been going on for about as long. Some of the latest, most intriguing work is expected to wrap up this year (which should make for some welcome support for next year’s resolutions).
Even soldiers meditate
Funded by a $2.4 million grant from the Department of Defense, it is examining over 200 war veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. The vets have been randomized to one of three groups: One receives traditional treatment for PTSD, a form of cognitive behavioral therapy called prolonged exposure therapy, which involves addressing specific trauma events and the negative thoughts, feelings, and behavior associated with those traumatic exposures. Another participates in a health education program, learning about lifestyle changes they can make to manage PTSD and promote greater overall well-being. The third is trained in TM.
All three groups will have 12 sessions with treatment providers over a period of 3 months. Then researchers will compare the changes in their trauma symptoms, explains Sanford Nidich, EdD, the study’s principal investigator and a professor at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, [Iowa] where students get a “consciousness-based education” and everyone—students and faculty—practices TM.
So far, Nidich says, the veterans are fairly regular with their TM practice in the study. “They’re finding it’s easy to meditate,” he says. “In general, studies have found that psychotherapy can sometimes be rather intense, whereas TM is something the veterans and active military really enjoy doing and typically see immediate benefits.”
Another recent PTSD study, funded by the David Lynch Foundation, found that TM helped decrease medication use among military members with the condition. After a month, nearly 84% of the 37 meditators had stabilized, decreased, or stopped anxiety meds, while about 11% increased their dose. Among the 37 who didn’t meditate, 59% were able to stabilize, decrease, or stop their meds while 40.5% had to increase them.
Similar research has found that TM helps to reduce trauma symptoms among prison inmates, and while very few of us have spent time in combat zones or behind bars, few of us avoid trauma altogether, either. TM reduces feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression among caregivers and feelings of burnout among teachers. It’s been shown to mitigate stress among earthquake and tsunami survivors and improve quality of life among women with breast cancer.
By now, most of us are pretty willing to accept the idea that 20 minutes or so of quiet time will undoubtedly be relaxing.
But the stress relief of TM is truly physiological, explains Normal E. Rosenthal, MD, a clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University Medical School and the author of Transcendence: Healing and Transformation Through Transcendental Meditation, as reported in a small study that found increased blood flow to the brain during meditation.
“It seems like the brain is being nurtured with blood, with all the nutrients that keep people going, to a greater extent during meditation than during a non-meditating state,” he says. He calls TM a sort of “surge protector.” Consider the hallmark jumpiness of people with PTSD, for example.
“That’s evidence the sympathetic nervous system, the fight or flight response, is excessively cocked,” Rosenthal says, like a burglar alarm that goes off every time you close the door a little too forcefully. “TM makes you less reactive to stimuli, so if you have a pang or crash you won’t go into a panic.” We don’t entirely understand why, but TM seems to readjust the sensitivity of your alarm.
Granted, that isn’t really enough to replace going to the gym (sorry), but TM’s clearly got potential. “It belongs in the toolbox of health,” Roth says. He calls upcoming research on TM’s effects on the brain “the new frontier,” and there’s still a lot we don’t know about TM and how it affects the brain.
TM increases Brain Wave Coherence
We do know that it promotes what’s called brain wave coherence, when essentially more regions of the brain sync up and chug along together. “These areas are in some kind of harmonious relationship with one another,” Rosenthal explains. Greater coherence is in turn thought to lead to calmness, intelligence, focus, decision-making—you get the picture. “People frequently have the experience that after meditating, a problem is resolved,” he says. “Our understanding is that these brain regions are cooperating better with one another.”
Greater coherence shows up in the brains of new meditators while they’re practicing after just a few weeks of TM, but long-term meditators show these effects even when they’re not meditating. “As meditation continues, coherence moves into non-meditating hours,” Rosenthal says.
In fact, long-term meditators also show different responses in their brains to physical pain even when they’re not meditating. In a study of a small group of healthy, middle-aged adults, researchers found a 40 to 50% reduction in the brain’s reaction to pain after 5 months of TM when the participants were not meditating.
Those long-term meditators also might live longer. Recent research shows that TM—and other stress reduction techniques, too—increases the activity of telomerase, an enzyme that rebuilds and lengthens telomeres, those disease-mongering ends of our chromosomes that otherwise shorten with age. It also seems to lower blood pressure as effectively as medication. Older research found a 23% decrease in mortality risk among TM practitioners because of the lifesaving effects of stress reduction alone.
TM’s star-studded list of supporters know all too well about those big wins. About a year after Ellen DeGeneres started meditating, she said she “can’t say enough good things about it.” In 2014, Jerry Seinfeld said of his 40-year practice, “You know how your phone has a charger? It’s like if you had a charger for your whole body and mind.” That same year, Jim Carrey delivered the commencement speech at Maharishi University of Management. Oprah visited the school in 2012: “I walked away feeling fuller than when I came in, full of hope and a sense of contentment and deep joy,” she said of the experience, “knowing for sure that in the craziness of the world that seems to bombard us at every angle, there is always the consistency of stillness.”
Guest post by Iain Campbell. Full event details here.
Tuesday May 31, 2016
Scotland is famed the world over for its exports and one of its finest has to be singer-songwriter, Carol Laula. With a style which bobs around somewhere between the sweet, clear delicacy of Joni Mitchell and the tougher edges of Joan Armatrading, it's hardly surprising that she's risen from a young unknown to become a household name. She first captivated the media and her audience in 1990, when her independent single, 'Standing Proud', was chosen to represent Glasgow in its year of culture.
The same decade saw Carol team up with Stuart Adamson to produce a series of songs that will no doubt be seen as a legacy to the talent of the late Big Country singer / songwriter. Carol has also collaborated with Jane Weidlin of the Go-Go’s, Ryan Hedgecock of Lone Justice and Australia's Cheryl Beattie.
The noughties shaped up to be another busy decade her. As well as touring new areas such as Iceland, she has performed across the UK and Ireland with Eliza Gilkyson and appeared at Glastonbury - something of a highlight, where she shared the bill with Billy Bragg.
With seven albums under her belt and another eagerly anticipated album due in 2016, she still stirs critics to describe her as "One of Scotland's leading singer-songwriters" and "an undeniably passionate and whole-hearted singer".
Carol is a great live performer where she truly feels at home; chatting between songs and even encouraging the audience to make requests. It would strike fear into the heart of most seasoned performers, but Carol has good reason for the structure of her shows;
"It can be quite disappointing when you see someone perform live and then they act all precious on stage, taking themselves terribly seriously.
"No, I really want to make the live side of my work that little bit special and accessible to those who take the time to come along to the shows - that way, I get to enjoy it too!" (Carol Laula)