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


The little leftover mermaid - 8 & 9 June

Monday June 2, 2014

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Strident is the merman King of the Ocean:
Son of the almighty sea-god ,Poseidon .
Strident lived  happily with his daughter, Sirenetta ,
Whose voice charmed anyone who'd ever met her,
But Sirenetta was a restless adolesent 
With a personality most effervescent,
And she wanted to explore the world above water-
She fancied herself as a Royal globetrotter!
On her very first evening above the waves,
She saved a handsome prince from a watery grave ,
And with Prince Charmless she became enthralled.
Her father King Strident was quite appalled
And warned her against this unhealthy passion,
But Sirenetta ignored him in true teenage fashion !
She went to the seawitch, a distant relation,
Who was banished from Atlantis for eating crustaceans .
The seawitch, Jezibaba, prepared her a spell,
But Sirenetta had to give up her voice as well .
When Jezibaba sang with the mermaid's voice
Charmless made it clear Jezibaba was his choice .
Sirenetta couldn't stand by-she had to rebel
For if truth be told, she's a feisty mademoiselle,
And it all ended happily,what happened you say?
Well, you will have to come and see it on performance day!

Tickets from 0141-778-2145/
or at the door: The Tall Ship 8th/9th June  7.30.p.m.
£9/£7 concession 
Disabled access
Wheelchair access pre-bookable


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.


_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.


News - World’s largest music event comes to West End Festival

Monday June 24, 2013

20 musicians, collectively known as “Dr. Poembak” came to Glasgow at the weekend to take part in the West End Festival in free live events, pictured at one of the most iconic buildings in the city, Kelvingrove Art Gallery.

Dr Poembak

The band, who dresses up in doctor, nurse and surgeon outfits, were playing at the West End Festival as part of La Fête de la Musique.

The musicians have diverse backgrounds – some professional and some amateur. This likeable brass band condenses all the elements of fantasy, burlesque and festivity as well as an eclectic repertoire of world music including jazz, tango, gypsy and Latino. Presented by the Alliance Francaise and WBI.

Liz Scobie, chairman of West End Festival said:

“Saturday was one of the busiest days in the festival diary, and it’s great that we have such a wealth of talent and we’re able to share this throughout the west end.

“To be a part of La Fête de la Musique is fantastic and ensures the West End Festival is known around the world. We look forward to developing our international connections, especially as 2014 will be a big year for Glasgow.”

About La Fête de la Musique:

Launched in 1982 by the French ministry for culture, La Fête de la Musique has since become an unmissable annual event. Its concept: offering free concerts on the street and in public places, performed by voluntary musicians, both amateur and professional.
Celebrated in over 110 countries around the world, it is now the world’s largest music event.

The band is playing at 1pm at Botanic Gardens, 3pm at Kelvingrove Art Gallery steps and 6pm at Ashton Lane.


For further information:

Laura Sutherland, Aura PR T: 0141 337 6712 / 07764 936 840


Notes to editors:

    • The West End Festival runs from 31 May to 30 June


    • The festival comprises over 400 events in 80 venues across Glasgow’s west end


    • Sample videos from previous performances:


Guest Post - Glasgow Islay Gaelic Choir

Monday June 24, 2013

Glasgow Islay Gaelic Choir 1

The Glasgow Islay Gaelic Choir date back to 1944 and while in the immediate post-war years many of the members would have had connections with the home island, today’s members have backgrounds in both Gaelic and non Gaelic speaking areas of Scotland and even beyond.

Over the years the choir has had considerable success particularly at the Royal National Mod, winning the Lovat and Tullibardine Shield on 10 occasions with particular success in Skye in 1982 when they won all 4 competitions.  They have also tasted success at the Pan Celtic Festival in Ireland and at the Vancouver Mod and the Choir has been invited to sing at the Eistedfodd and the International Eistedfodd.  Over many years the choir had a strong relationship with the Gaelic group Runrig, appearing with them on many occasions, and in 1996 they produced a “Tribute to Runrig.”

The choir is renowned for its perfect tone and the emotions of sadness and joy that their music produces, moving native speakers and non Gaelic speakers to tears.  All of which is down to the musical expertise of their well known conductor Kirsteen Grant.

The choir will be performing at the West End Festival on Wednesday 26 June at Hyndland Parish Church. Tickets are £8 at the door and for more information please visit the facebook page or call 0141 942 7603.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Guest blog post by Robert McNair, Glasgow Islay Gaelic Choir

Glasgow Islay Gaelic Choir Logo


What's on this weekend: 14-16 June

Friday June 14, 2013

We like to bring you some snippets of events happening every weekend. This week we're giving you the event plus the details! #wef13

Have a look on our website and search the date, venue, category or event title to see what else is happening...

Friday 14th

1. FREE event - Glasgow School of Art Goes West 10am-5pm

Iota proudly presents the new cutting edge of contemporary painting: ten of the best from the M Litt in Fine Art Practice (Expanded Painting) at the Glasgow School of Art for 2013.

Venue: Iota Gallery, 25 Hyndland Street Glasgow, G11 5QE

0141 338 6052

2. West End Festival Winds by Cottier Chamber Project at Cottiers

Music: Mozart   Gran Partita   K.361

£7 in advance, £9 on the day, £5 students. £25 for both concerts with main course and drink, £20 for concert and pre theatre menu. A beard like Brahms’ get you in free for the concerts (genuine beards only!)

Tickets in advance from or in person from the Box Office at Cottiers Hyndland. 0141 357 4000.

3. The 25th Annual 
Putnam County Spelling Bee at 7.30pm

Mad Props Theatre present their inaugural production, the Glasgow premiere of this Tony Award-winning play.  Six young people in the throes of puberty, overseen by grownups who barely managed to escape childhood themselves, learn that winning isn’t everything and that losing doesn’t make you a loser.  With profits going to Leukaemia Research and with laughs guaranteed, don’t miss out on this cult musical where anything can happen!

Booking and ticket info:

Tickets £12 plus BF • 0141 357 4000

Venue: Kelvinbridge Theatre, Lansdowne Church 414 Great Western Rd, G4

0141 357 4000

Saturday 15th

1. Paintings On Railings - All day Saturday, Sunday

Long established outdoor art gallery at the Botanic Gardens railings started in 1996 as part of the first West End Festival.  Come and see a large variety of original art, craftwork and photography - meet the artists and maybe buy something! To exhibit call Lynne Scobbie 07779 977612.

If wet, come back another day!

Venue: Botanic Gardens, 730 Great Western Road Glasgow, G12 0UE

0141 276 1614

2. O2 Glasgow Mela    12:00pm - 8:00pm

also on Sunday 16 June 12:00pm - 8:00pm

For one weekend Kelvingrove Park will be transformed into an extravaganza of music, dance, exotic food and eclectic stalls with the 02 Glasgow Mela, Scotland’s biggest multi-cultural festival.   The two-day event is open to all ages, and includes family activities and an array of stalls to browse and food to try, as well as a richly diverse programme of colourful performances across three stages. Join us at Kelvingrove Park to celebrate the multi-cultural influences that make Glasgow so vibrant, creative and cosmopolitan.  Delivered by Glasgow Life.

Venue: Kelvingrove Park, G12

0141 334 6363

3. Lari Don: Little Red Riding Hood 11am and 2.30pm

 A magical experience for all the family.  The renowned children’s writer and storyteller Lari Don will read her stunning new retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, encouraging the listener to imagine fairy tales and magical journeys of their own.  Woodland crafts activities after and tasty baking! Age 4-7 and families.

Venue: North Kelvin Meadow, Clouston Street, Glasgow, G20

4. Peter MacCalman Symphony No 1 at 8pm

Performed by the Cappella String Quartet and piano.  Popular and contemporary composition collide in an exploration of the symphony – a format rooted in the classical tradition of Western Europe, yet one that has evolved and changed from its original meanings and structure. Rooted in today’s culture, but incorporating and respecting the history of the symphony, Peter MacCalman’s work uses chamber-sized forces to produce music on a symphonic scale.  “Sonorously atmospheric live music composed for string quartet by Peter MacCalman” - Herald 2007.

Booking and ticket info: Tickets £12

Available from or 0141 357 4000

Venue: Cottier Theatre, 93-95 Hyndland Street Glasgow

Sunday 16th

1. Kids Creative Corner 12-5pm

Why not bring the kids along this afternoon for some fun food and arty-crafts? Pop in to the Lansdowne between 12 and 5 where the kids can occupy themselves in a fun way while Mum and Dad can eat lunch in peace and quiet?

Booking and ticket info:

Tickets £5 per child. Info 
0141 334 4653

Venue: Lansdowne Bar, 7a Lansdowne Crescent Glasgow G20 6NQ

0141 334 4653

2. FREE - Queen Margaret Drive 
– Street Festival (also on Sat 15th)  12:00pm - 6:00pm

Come and join the West End Festival’s latest community street event in Queen Margaret Drive, just to the north of Byres Road. We have a great selection of independent shops and businesses. Join us for music, craft beer, authentic food, art and craft workshops, street stalls, vintage clothing, face painting and children’s activities. Families welcome and parking free!

3. RSNO Chamber Series: 
Classical Strings  2:30pm

Relax and unwind on a Sunday afternoon with the RSNO Chamber Series. This is a refreshing chance to hear the musicians of the Orchestra up close and personal, performing music by great composers in an intimate setting. Join our quintet of strings for a concert of celebrated classical chamber music, including Wolf’s Italian Serenade and Schubert’s String Quintet in C major.

Booking and ticket info:

Tickets £12, disabled £6, under 26 £5, under 16 free (max 2 with paying adult)

Venue: St Mary's Cathedral, 300 Great Western Road Glasgow, G4 9JB

0141 339 6691

4. Storytelling: 
Julia Donaldson Favourites - 10.30am

Celebrate Father’s Day with a collection of Julia Donaldson stories. Tam Dean Burn will read Tales from Acorn Wood in the morning (Family event but best for under 5’s).and The Gruffalo stories in the afternoon (Family event but best for under 8’s). Music from Emma Schad and Andy Alston.  There will be crafts, face painting, home baking and, in the afternoon children can meet The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child!

10:30am Tales from Acorn Wood.  
2pm The Gruffalo and Gruffalo’s Child event


www.childrenswood.comVenue: North Kelvin Meadow, Clouston Street Glasgow G20

5. The Mackintosh Choir Sings “America!” 7pm

After our very successful launch at last year’s West End Festival, please join us for another wonderful night of song, this time with an American theme. We will delight you with many familiar songs, songs from the shows, exciting Aaron Copland songs, and many more.

Booking and ticket info:

Tickets £7 (children £3) at the door or in advance from choir members

Venue: Mackintosh Church, Queen’s Cross 870 Garscube Road Glasgow G20 7EL

0141 946 6600


Guest Blog - Viper Live & Unplugged

Friday June 14, 2013

Viper Live and Unplugged

Viper Live and Unplugged - Every Friday of the West End Festival


Viper is an intimate venue in the heart of the West End. Last year we raised over £4000 for Children in Need and saw this year’s West End Festival as the perfect opportunity to raise money for a different cause.


Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy in Scotland is a local music charity which helps people with a range of disabilities through music therapy and relies hugely on the generosity of the general public. For more information on the charity visit their website here.


As lovers of music, Viper will showcase two live performances from the freshest, up and coming bands and artists every Friday between 7pm-10pm.


The past two sessions have played host to some fantastic artists including The Kay Family, Lack of Colour, Bronagh and the Boys and Kerri Watt. The event has proven to be a great success and the charity buckets are filling up nicely!

Viper Live & Unplugged

If you have missed out on the past couple of weeks, never fear there are two more sessions still to come!

Friday 14th June will see Broken Boy and Amy Rayner hit the Viper stage with Kirsty Wilson headlining our final showcase on Friday 21st June.

This event is free of charge but we ask for a donation to the charity at the door.

Not to forget we will be closing the festival from our end with a massive party on Sunday 30th June from 10pm, combining the live music theme with true Viper-style.

See you there,  Viper

Viper West End


Guest Blog - Gibson Street Gala Glory

Monday June 10, 2013

Gibson Street Gala

On the 2nd June 2013, for one day only, we closed the road to traffic and had a great community celebration, marking the 9th year of the fantastic Gibson Street Gala, sponsored by IKEA Glasgow.

This popular family friendly event brought together the hard work, dedication and creativity of all the volunteer organisers, as well as all the performers, participants and event coordinators on the day itself. So what was on offer?

Live music and entertainment took place over 2 stages at Gibson Street Stage and GOW Backcourt. There was also a community stage where local groups performed on Park Road.

Amongst others, our stages featured music and performance from Robin Adams, Barulho Beat, The Second Hand Marching Band, The Belly Babies and the Trongate Rum Riots. Musicians in GOW Backcourt included dBass Collective, Theo Wheatley and Belter Skelter with performance, music and dance from Glasgow Capoeira and Ayawara Ensemble.

Revellers were able to chill in the tea tent, buy some home baking and kids took part in a shadow puppetry workshop.

Additionally, we had a multitude of children’s activities at the Gala – so much so that there were 3 Gala Kidzones this year! In the Otago Street Kidzone, creativity abounded with the Gala’s beachy theme of all things summer as well as our favourite drumming workshops from Mr Amu.

A big thank-you to IKEA Glasgow who sponsored our kids events this year, helping to make these activities free for visitors. We were also lucky to have an enchanting backcourt in GOW Community decorated by IKEA with their summer range.

Gibson Street Gala IKEA Range


In Eldon Street, attractions included antique fire engines, a climbing wall and a bouncy castle. A sports area provided by Kelvin Hall and Glasgow Life beneath Eldon Street Bridge offered  a selection of “come and try” sports.

St. Silas’ Church were back with their lovely fair-trade baking, chatting and relaxing as well as challenge the chessmaster! There was even a demonstration Aikido to watch!

Hillhead Primary School opened its doors again this year to welcome in the gala visitors. Activities included a storyteller, a “beach” in the playground and loads of arts and crafts with the Parents’ Council volunteers.

Then, there were stalls offering a variety of goods, services and information dotted throughout Gibson Street. Along Westbant Quadrant, ArtFusion had a fantastical explosion of artistic events and stalls offering both art works and enticing interactive experiences.

The sun shone brightly on the day and fun was had by all! If you were there and would like to offer your feedback please take part in our wee survey!

Many thanks to the organisers, volunteers, performers, participants, artists, visitors, all. It was a fantabulous day! See you in 2014!

Gibson Street Gala 2013

Guest Blog Post by Margaret Mitchell, Gibson Street Gala Coordinator





News - Don't rain on our parade!

Friday June 7, 2013




Don’t rain on our parade – it’s our 18th birthday!



This weekend, Sunday 9th June, the West End Festival’s Mardi Gras Parade, which features some 600 participants and is sponsored by itison, returns to Byres Road for its 18th birthday and it’s expected that there will be 70,000 visitors to the area to witness the colourful spectacle and enjoy a day out.

In addition to the parade, which leaves the Botanic Gardens at 3pm, there will be street buskers, 60 food and craft stalls spread along Byres Road, the first ever Seafood Showcase (free event) in a bespoke arena and the first Ceilidh on the Corner.

Entertainment will be organised from 1pm and stop for the parade to take place and then start again at 4pm.

Byres Road will be closed from 8am until 8pm on Festival Sunday and west end businesses and residents are being asked to be mindful of this, as there will be no access to Byres Road during these hours.

What’s going on in the parade?

Fairytales of the Unexpected by Royal Conservatoire of Scotland students - a Disney style castle section with a variety of costumed characters and puppets within its walls.

A group of human roller-skates.

Large puppet makes representing Glasgow and Scotland.

Several community groups are following the flying high - aspiration theme.

A group of pink itison morphs.

Clyde, the official mascot of the Commonwealth Games 2014.

Other sections have interpreted things more individually. CAOS from Clydebank are Outer Space, Temple-Shafton Youth Project are dragons, our city centre youth project are flying machines whilst another group are iPods and iPhones. There will also be a thistle section too and three separate Chinese sections (lions and dragons).

Six full samba bands including home grown favourites sheBOOM and Samba Y Bamba - and a community-based one which was formed out of a programme of samba drumming and costume making workshops all over the city and it is made up of people from the different areas.

Seafood Showcase

There will be cookery demonstrations by Glasgow Chefs such as John Quigley and through the Showcase there will be activities geared towards getting families cooking and eating together as well as trying to get people to buy better. Zero Waste Scotland and Seafood Scotland are supporting the event. As well as the great food available there will be live music from the Seafood Buskers and the Fisherman’s Wife’s Choir. The Showcase will take place from 12pm – 8pm at Byres Road.

Ceildh on the corner

Grab your granny by the hand and head along to Ceilidh on the Corner also at Byres Road.

There is nothing better than a family jig with some of Scotland’s premier Ceilidh bands to wipe away the cob webs of a Sunday afternoon. This fun event kicks off at 12pm with Reely Jiggered and that is what you will be if you keep dancing through the sets of Lua Dansa, Deoch n Dorus and The Reel Stramash.

It’s an opportunity to make a day of it with friends or family and get your stomp on with some of Scotland's most well-known Scottish dancing including the Gay Gordons and the Canadian Barn Dance. Tickets £5.00, Concessions £3.00, Family Ticket £15.00 (2 adults and two children).


Liz Scobie, chairman of the festival added a reminder:

“The local shops, restaurants and bars will be celebrating with us and it’s great that so many people can take advantage of what the festival, in particular Festival Sunday, has to offer.

“We’ve been working to alert people to the road closure, licensing, the activities taking place and also to remind people that it’s a family friendly day.

“We want everyone and their Granny to come along on Sunday – it's a special birthday for us this year and we hope everyone will join in the celebrations in true party style!"


As it’s a family day festival goers are urged to be sensible when drinking and abide by the licensing laws.


For media enquiries:

Laura Sutherland, Aura PR

T: 0141 337 6712 / 07764 936 840 E:


 Notes to editors:

    • Interviews available on request with Liz Scobie and MD of sponsor, itison, Oli Norman


    • West End Festival is supported by Creative Scotland, Glasgow City Council and Glasgow Life


    • Journalists, photographers and camera crews have been invited (via email on Monday from Laura) to the parade on Sunday, 9 June. A press desk will be set up and manned. A follow up media invitation will be sent on Friday, 7 June


    • 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.