Friday June 12, 2015
“I have been acting for several years and am also a professional magician. I decided to write this one man play after the death of my father. It's inspired by the relationship I had with my father which was fragmented somewhat by a battle with mental illness. It is a black comedy or a tragicomedy. There is much to chew on in the piece with regards to mental health and attitudes towards it however, there is also a lot of humour in the piece as it largely revolves around the family chip shop and highlights many of the quirks of a Scots-Italian upbringing.” – Lorenzo Novani
Last year saw the magician perform with “Mysitc” – street magic designed to not only amaze (which it did) but to evoke thought. One reviewer described the event as “a skilful weaving of poetry and prophecy” which means his return to this years’ festival is most anticipated!
Tickets for tonight’s show are available on the door at Siempre Bicycle Club for £6.
Sunday June 7, 2015
The West End Festival’s Mardi Gras parade took place today, Sunday, 7 June, with nearly 500 participants taking part in the spectacular, themed around ‘bloom’, and an estimated 80,000 lined the streets and soaked up the atmosphere.
The biggest date in the Festival programme is Festival Sunday, which has seen up to 100,000 people lining the streets of Byres Road, Botanic Gardens, Kelvingrove Park and spilling down to Dumbarton Road. Local businesses take advantage of the day with a temporary extension of the bars and cafes into the streets; there were markets/stalls and an awful lot of street entertainment – nearly 40 acts - to help keep the spirit alive even after the parade has finished.
Organisations from across Glasgow have worked for the last few months to prepare costumes for participating, helping the west end come alive. From a giant thistle and wonderfully colourful hot air balloon to a life-size pear and a bluebell, everyone had a bloomin’ good time!
Hundreds of events (detailed on the WEF website) take place over the next few weeks from music to dance, literature to kids activities and as always, many of the events are free to attend.
Liz Scobie, chairman of the festival commented: “Already we’ve had huge support for our 20th West End Festival. The Gibson Street Gala, a world premiere, local markets and stalls and now the famous parade, all within a week! Thanks to our wonderful team of volunteers who help make all of this happen.
“Next week we’re launching a special exhibition at the Kibble Palace with the Kelpie maquettes, salsa dancing, comedy, whisky master-class, kids activities, science, a ceilidh and numerous top class music events and theatre. So much to choose from, it’s difficult to pinpoint one or two highlights!”
Full event listings via westendfestival.co.uk
Wednesday June 3, 2015
Scottish people have shown an awesome commitment to learning Gaelic, with a view to maintaining this part of their linguistic heritage. But learners often find it hard to get accurate information on how Gaelic works. The workshop 'Gaelic in an Hour!', run by local linguist Derek Rogers in an earlier West End Festival, was a response to this need.
There Derek dealt with such basic features as lenition, pronunciation, and how to build noun-phrases. This time he will get the audience to play some silly word-games, look again at pronunciation, and shine light into a dark corner where verbs lurk.
The workshop is for beginners and experienced speakers alike, and will show that a coherent system lies behind Gaelic's seemingly random difficulties. And it's an interactive workshop, so all participants will chatter bits of Gaelic - no-one escapes without opening their mouth!
And it'll put you in the mood for An Lochran's 'Togaibh Fonn!', later the same three days.
Free event. Wellington Church, Southpark Avenue.
Monday June 1, 2015
Torch Song Divas
The fabulous voices of Torch Song Divas, Elaine C. Smith and Christina Dunwoodie combine the earthiness of soul, blues and jazz with the lyricism of classic opera, as they take an irreverent and witty look at the eternal themes of love, loss, betrayal and survival that form the beating (and sometimes bleeding !) heart of these great musical traditions.
This fantastic mix of modern song and opera asks which is more tragically beautiful, ‘The man that got away’ or ‘Addio del passato’ from Traviata on the same theme. Between them, Elaine and Christina take the audience on a roller coaster of tears and laughter, accompanied by the fabulously virtuosic pianist, Gordon Cree.
Thursday May 28, 2015
Our concert will feature a new commission which is part of the Making Music 'Adopt a composer scheme'. We were the only Making Music ensemble in Scotland to be paired with a composer. The Adopt a Composer project annual opportunity for an amateur orchestra, choir or band to 'adopt' an up-and-coming composer. The composer works with the performing group over the course of 12 months to produce a new piece of music, culminating in a premiere performance. Adopt a Composer is run by Making Music in partnership with Sound and Music, in association with BBC Radio 3, and funded by PRS For Music Foundation and the Philip and Dorothy Green Trust.
BBC Radio 3 will be recording the piece written by Mark Carroll at our concert.
Mark's piece Mark Carroll sets out to fuse elements of his Northumbrian home with those of the Lanarkshire home of Strathaven Choral Society and was roused by accounts of James Purley Wilson, Strathaven weaver and nineteenth century radical, executed after the rising of 1820. The inscription on James Wilson’s memorial in the town and the cries of the onlookers at his execution in Glasgow provide the words of a haunting, melancholic new piece.
Details of the adopt a composer scheme can be found here:
Details of the Choral Society can be found here:
Details of Mark Carroll can be found here:
Monday June 23, 2014
This Sunday (29 June) we're wrapping the festival up with our FREE closing event at the Kelvingrove bandstand!
It will represent the community of local musicians that WEF has previously used over the years at the free stages in Kelvingrove Park on Parade Day.
Excitingly, it will also see the bandstand being used once again during #WEF2014 for a line-up of varied bands.
If you can believe it, the bands have some unexpected members; former MSP Pauline McNeill, rugby legend John Beattie, and Michelle McManus (Honest Sam and the Dealers).
Local bands also have the chance of performing at the closing event. Michael Dale, festival director, explained the process: “We have also opened up a slot during the day for ‘amateur’ local bands to play. Bands which are interested in playing and are available, will enter a mini competition to win a slot.
Take a look at the line up below:
1pm - Pauline McNeill Band
1.45pm - L'Acoustica
2.10pm - Hat Trick
2.35pm - Community Choir
3pm - Mugen Taiko Dojo
3.40pm Possible competition winners
4.15pm - John Beattie Band
5.15pm - Honest Sam and the Dealers
6pm - FINISH
How to enter the competition
Entries of videos and Sound Cloud links along with a covering email should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org to show us what you can do.
Bands must also answer the following question: What does the West End Festival mean to you? Entries should be sent by 12pm on Wednesday 25 June and chosen band(s) will be notified by Friday, 27 June.
Twitter: #WEF2014 @westendfest
Wednesday June 18, 2014
Websters is home to four musicians this week as part of the WEF regular - The Acoustic Affair. Take a look at what's on and don't forget to use #WEF2014 when talking about events online. Enjoy!
Rab Noakes: from Nashville to Muirend, Stripped
Wedneday 18 June, 7.30pm, £16
An evening of great songs drawn from an eventful 40+ year long career in the music business working with some of the great legends including Gerry Rafferty. He will be joined by a fantastic backing band formed for the evening which includes well known musicians Emma and Jill.
“It was an excellent show from one of this country's finest songsmiths” The Herald Jan 2014.
Thursday 19 June, 7.30pm, £12
A classically trained cellist and songwriter from Paisley, he studied at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in NYC and, although based in UK, he frequently tours North America.
In 2011, he opened for Jack Bruce at the Queens Hall (Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival) and recent live appearances include O2 ABC Glasgow, CCA, The Spree festival and he has also featured on Paul Jones on BBC Radio 2 and a live session the Culture Show on BBC Scotland.
Friday 20 June, 7.30pm, £16
John Muir was an American hero, born in Scotland. He was to become known as the father of the American conservation and the founder of their wonderful national park system. As a long time admirer, Jimmie leapt at the opportunity of a recording trip to San Francisco, the Napa valley, Muir’s home at Martinez, Yosemite national park and the Sierra Nevada.
Come along to hear Jimmie’s stories and see some great images all presented in a relaxed and humorous style; truly one of our Westend treasures !
Saturday 21 June, 7.30pm, £16
Brought up immersed in the musical traditions and culture of the Gaels, both Scots and Irish, Dick Gaughan has been a professional musician and singer since January 1970, and made his first solo album in 1971, No More Forever. He was an early member of the Boys of the Lough and the now legendary Scottish folk-rock band, Five Hand Reel.
In December 2009, Dick was honoured by being inducted into the Scots Trad Music Hall of Fame and he received a Lifetime Achievement Award at BBC Radio 2’s annual Folk Awards ceremony.
Monday June 16, 2014
Glasgow has some secret spots, but few are so enchanting as the Sixty Steps. Tucked away off Queen Margaret Drive, the only public structure by the great Victorian architect Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson invites discovery.
On Sunday 15 June, as part of the 2014 West End Festival, the Greek Thomson Sixty Steps Preservation Trust was once again welcoming visitors. New signs and a viewing bench were unveiled, exciting restoration plans discussed, and young Scottish actor Patrick Wallace performed a specially-written one-man show, ‘Intimations of Mortality’.
Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson was an architectural genius who left his mark on Glasgow. Inspired by the ancients, he created breathtaking monuments such as the St Vincent Street church. His Sixty Steps, by contrast, is something of a folly.
Commissioned by an enterprising property developer who wanted to draw house-hunters to land he had bought in North Kelvinside, the Sixty Steps was completed in the early 1870s.
Comprising a sweeping staircase bounded by a wall bearing traces of windows and doors, and crowned by a romantic ‘bellevue’ looking out across the river Kelvin, the structure originally stood amid rolling fields.
Gradually, the tenements and villas that surround it now were built and over time Thomson’s flight of fancy fell into disrepair: during World War II the cast iron lamps that Thomson designed to flank the steps were removed, and the stonework started to crumble.
Now, thanks to Glasgow City Council and the efforts of the Greek Thomson Sixty Steps Preservation Trust there is a determination to restore the structure to its former glory.
Monday June 16, 2014
To celebrate the West End Festival, Ketchup’s getting FEASTive all month long!
To kick off, we’re asking all Ketchup kiddies to get creative and design their very own Dream Burger - best entry will be a fixture on our menu with comps running every Sunday from 12pm. But there’s more!
We’ve also moved our buns outside every Saturday. Come down to Ashton Lane where we’ll be grilling all your favourite burgers on the KBBQ and soaking up that (rare) Glaswegian sun.
Hungry for more? This year we bring you… the bun... the only… the 2014 Ketchup World Cup! How many burgers can you eat - or stomach someone else eating?
The Ketchup World Cup finals are Thursday 19 June at 8pm where the winners from Round One - which kicked off earlier this week - will battle it out to win the cup!
Come catch up at Ketchup this West End FEASTival!
Remember, when sharing online, tag your festival pics and posts #WEF2014
Thursday June 12, 2014
The actors have been hard at work rehearsing today as Gilbert and Sullivan's HMS PINAFORE weighs anchor for the first of three performances tonight in Glasgow. They are taking place in the Glenlee, Glasgow's own Tall Ship moored on the River Clyde next to the Transport Museum – one of the most unusual festival venues
Presented in the round by Walter Paul Productions for three nights only on 13th, 14th, & 15th June at 7.30pm, we are delighted that this brand new production of the nautical opera is already proving a massive hit with Festival goers - before a single note has been sung!
Tickets are sold out, and the unique venue has proved itself a winner with West End Festival audiences.
The Music Director is David Mackie, who was the Assistant Music Director of the original D'Oyly Carte Opera Company until its demise in 1982, and the production is in the hands of G & S expert Walter Paul.
He has gathered together a talented cast of local performers including Chriss Mills, J.Campbell Kerr, Ross Nicol, and David Blackwood, and the leading soprano is played by Brianna Robertson-Kirkland, making her debut with WPP.
This G & S classic, with Gilbert's witty barbs about the class system, and Sullivan's sparkling music, we hope everyone who got tickets has a fantastic night!