Sunday June 28, 2015
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!”
Wednesday June 12, 2013
This is the first year I’ve worked behind the scenes for O2 Glasgow Mela, the biggest multicultural festival in Scotland. It has been a highlight of Glasgow’s cultural calendar for years, and one of the big events that takes place during the West End Festival, and it’s my job to help promote it. So no pressure there, then!
I’ve been spending loads of time finding out about all the performers who will be taking the stage. The more I discover, the more excited I get about the line-up, and every day I learn something new! For instance, do you know what a ‘ney’ is? Do you know why 2013 is a special year for Bollywood? Do you know what O2 Glasgow Mela has in common with Glastonbury?* If you know answers to any of these questions, you get a gold star. If you know answers to all these questions, you get my job (kidding, I need it!).
O2 Glasgow Mela takes place in Kelvingrove Park on Sat 15 and Sun 16 June, and –dhol drum roll - it’s FREE! We’ve got a jam-packed programme of music, dance and performance across three stages and around the park, a range of delicious exotic foods to buy and stalls to browse – and a great Kids Zone too.
What’s not to like? I’ll see you there, then….
* A ‘ney’ is a type of Turkish flute. You can hear Ilhan Baractu play it on the Mehfil stage on Sunday. 2013 is the 100th anniversary of the release of the first film release in India. Happy Birthday Bollywood! The Glastonbury connection is the marvellous Jaipur Kawa Brass Band, who are performing at both festivals this year!
Guest Blog Post by Nadia Lucchesi, O2 Glasgow Mela Coordinator
O2 Glasgow Mela is free and unticketed
The festival is open from 12 noon – 8pm both days