West End Festival Entertains 125,000

Sunday June 28, 2015

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Photo credit John Linton


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Scotland's Mardi Gras pleases thousands on Byres Road

Monday June 9, 2014

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Parade day has left all of us here in the mardi gras spirit!

Not only did the 500 plus performers and entertainers put on a great show, but we got some much anticipated sunshine to top the day off. 

Thousands of people took to the street and joined us watching and cheering as the parade passed.

Parade passing Oran Mor

This year’s parade theme, ‘Identity’, was interpreted by community groups and organisations from around Glasgow, in their costume designs which they made and wore for the vibrant parade procession.

The scene took over Byres Road and the surrounding streets and finished off on the steps of the Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery. 

Living statue outside Curlers

Before the parade began it was great to see so many people wandering up and down Byres Road and around the market in the Ashton Road car park – taking advantage of all the free entertainment and supporting local businesses by stopping for a bite to eat.

Even if the afternoon was a little damp...

BBQ at the butchers

And until next year, a massive thank you to everyone who came along, and to everyone involved! Check out lots of submitted images on our facebook and twitter.

Parade day

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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.

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_OLD Final week before WEF 2014

Thursday May 29, 2014

Main Image

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.

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Update - British Cycling National Road Race Championships

Sunday June 16, 2013

British Cycling National Road Race


Note from West End Festival – The British Cycling National Road Race Championships are next weekend and it may affect and area you live, work or socialise in. Please read the information below from Glasgow City Council.

Glasgow will host the British Cycling National Road Race Championships, the most prestigious cycling road race in the UK, next weekend, Sunday 23 June 2013.

It brings with it the prospect of elite cyclists such as Mark Cavendish, Lizzie Armitstead and Kayleigh Brogan competing in the city. It will also present a huge opportunity for businesses as we expect thousands of people to line the streets to watch the event, which is taking place in a city for the first time.

On the day, there are two races: the Women’s Race takes place from 9.30am-1pm and the Men’s Race from 1.30-5.30pm.

Starting and finishing at Glasgow Green, the race route runs through the city centre, travelling along Trongate, Argyle Street, Buchanan street and St. Vincent Street before carrying on to the West End where it will pass though Kelvingrove Park and circuit Hillhead before heading back towards the city centre.

As I’m sure you are aware, delivering an event of this size will inevitably involve some changes to Glasgow City Council’s services and the introduction of traffic management measures. While we hope to minimise disruption, road closures are required to ensure the safety of participants and spectators.

Parking restrictions will come into force on the race route from 1600hrs on Friday 21 June to facilitate building the course, and will remain in place until 2100hrs on Sunday 23 June. Any vehicles parked directly on the race route during this time may be uplifted. If you are a parking permit holder your permit will allow you to park outwith your designated zone from Friday 21 – Monday 24 June.

There will be a rolling programme of junction closures along the race route from 0600hrs Saturday 22 June and these will remain in place until 2359hrs on Sunday 23 June. The course will be closed to all traffic from 0800hrs on Sunday and diversion routes will be in operation. Routes will open again in a phased manner from 1800hrs on Sunday. Local diversions will be in place.

If you normally park anywhere inside the race route and are likely to need to use your vehicle on Sunday 23 June, you are advised to park outwith the race route before 2359hrs on Saturday 22 June. If you have mobility issues or secure private parking please contact us on the number below.

This event is being organised by British Cycling and Glasgow Life, on behalf of Glasgow City Council. With your support, we plan to stage a successful race that highlights our wonderful city. May I take this opportunity to thank you in advance for your patience and understanding in the lead up to and during the event. If you need further information or assistance please contact 0141 287 8080 or go to www.glasgow.gov.uk/eventinformation or www.nationalroadchamps.co.uk.

Guest blog post by Glasgow City Council

Glasgow City Council

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News - Glasgow’s biggest festival celebrates 18 years in Rio style

Sunday June 9, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - SUNDAY, 9 JUNE 

 PRESS RELEASE

 

 Glasgow’s biggest festival celebrates 18 years in Rio style

 

 West End Festival Mardi Gras confirmed for 2014


Festival goers celebrated the West End Festival’s 18th birthday in style with over 600 people participating in Scotland’s Mardi Gras parade today, Sunday, 9 June, as part of the Festival’s month-long programme (31 May – 30 June).

Festival Sunday and the Mardi Gras parade attracts up to 80,000 revellers to the streets and this is the first time the Festival has had sufficient funding to close Byres Road for the Parade since 2008.

Following a public appeal the Festival secured £15,000 of funding towards the costs of its iconic Parade Day from Glasgow based daily deals and events service itison.com, ensuring its return this year.

Oli Norman, founder of itison, said:  “We’re really proud to help make the Parade return to Byres Road this year. Over 20,000 itison members in Glasgow have already said they’re coming today so we know it’s going to be a big day.  The weather is great and the itison team will be dancing their way down Byres Road with the rest of the Mardi Gras.  It’s such a fun day.”

The Festival 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. The parade is the biggest highlight of the festival and it has today been announced that funding has been secured via Glasgow City Council for its return in 2014 and 2015, assisting the development of the parade in the wider communities of Glasgow.

Baillie Liz Cameron, Executive Member for Jobs and the Economy at Glasgow City Council, said: “The West End Festival parade is a well-established fixture of Glasgow’s cultural calendar, and an event that so many people look forward to every year.  I am delighted to say that the council is supporting the parade for three years as we appreciate the significant value, both economic and cultural, that the parade and festival brings to Glasgow and its visitors.  I am sure the parade will be as colourful and entertaining as always on Sunday.”

Liz Scobie, chairman of the West End Festival added her thoughts: “From local communities organising their own galas and our widely anticipated parade, to international musicians and the premier of World War Z, the west end is not only a very cultured area and community, but its location lends itself to significant events and is a fine showcase for visitors from outwith the city and abroad of what Glasgow has to offer.

“The parade has been a labour of love for festival director, Michael Dale, parade co-ordinator, Noel Bridgeman, and the Festival team, but it couldn’t have happened without the generous support of our funders, sponsors and volunteers. I’d like to thank each of them for making this spectacular event happen.”

The West End Festival is a celebration of culture, and one that has brought colour and entertainment to the streets of the west end since 1996.  It continues to be a key part of Glasgow’s events calendar, attracting visitors from across the city and beyond, as well as including internationally renowned musicians and artists such as Pavel Haas Quartet, Brass Jaw and the live screening of Munch 150.

 -ENDS-

Further information:

Laura Sutherland, Aura PR M: 07764 936 840 E: laura@aura-pr.com

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 Glasgow, 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

 

 

 

    • 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 www.glasgowmela.com

 

    • More about itison.com: itison.com is officially Scotland’s #1 deals and events service with 500,000 members in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen.  Founded in September 2010, it is one of  the UK’s fastest growing start-ups with more than 40 full time staff in 4 offices across Scotland.

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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West End Festival launches outstanding programme of 400 events

Tuesday May 1, 2012

Today, (Thursday, 26 April), the 17th annual West End Festival the biggest festival in Glasgow’s calendar was officially launched and organisers outlined a programme of 400 events taking place across the west end of Glasgow, including a series of ‘mini-festivals’.


Established in 1996, the independent cultural Festival draws a strong crowd each year of around 100,000, to enjoy a mix of both free and ticketed events, from music, theatre and comedy to family days, guided walks and children’s events to be held in 80 venues throughout the west end.

It will run from 1-24 June, bringing together the entire business and residential community to generate a hugely positive economic impact for the city of Glasgow.  Previous years have resulted in over £1m in sales for the wider Glasgow economy.

Support continues from Glasgow City Council and, in this ‘Year of Creative Scotland’, the Festival will also work closely with Creative Scotland. The Gibson Street Gala, the Glasgow Mela and The Cottier Chamber Project - the largest chamber music festival in the UK, will also form part of the Festival line-up.

New partners this year are Stow College, where Festival organisers will work closely with students on a variety of educational and practical initiatives.  5pm.co.uk is also partnering with the Festival, bringing the economic benefits to local restaurants whilst working together to promote the west end.

Ticketed events will be sold online and on occasions at the door. Full details of where to buy tickets are included in the brochure and online. Some venues are selling tickets at reduced prices to attract the student and family market.

Elizabeth Scobie, chairman of the West End Festival commented:

“As ever we are extremely grateful for the support of all those involved and to our sponsors - the festival would not be in its 17th year without them.  Now Glasgow’s largest and most dynamic cultural event, we hope residents from all over the city and beyond will take every opportunity to attend as many events as possible.”

A special fundraiser event will also take place on 18, May at the Glasgow University Union with the theme of ‘Strictly West End’ and a performance from the Glasgow University Big Band.  Another first, the ‘Best Dressed Window’ competition will be set to encourage community spirit and involvement.

West End Festival director, Michael Dale said:

“Our annual festival of culture, community spirit and summer fun is back once again!  The willingness of local traders, stall holders, artists, musicians and volunteers to get involved never fails to impress and the hard work of all will ensure that this remains a destination festival year on year.

“It has been 17 years since we launched and the calibre of talent involved continues to bring visitors from the world over – we’re set for another great month.”

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