Kathakali Comes To Scotland

Tuesday June 16, 2015

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The West End Festival plays host to a rare opportunity presented by the Kala Chethena Kathakali Company to see the elaborate 3-Dimensional Chutti make-up process that transforms the faces of the Kathakali (Indian dance-drama) actors. This is an amazing 500 year old traditional technique applied by the first and only female Chutti artist in the world - Kalamandalam Barbara Vijayakumar.

The display is followed by a bowl of delicious Indian curry with rice, prepared especially by one of the members of the Kathakali Company from Kerala, India

There is also the opportunity for an evening with Kathakali masters featuring chanting, songs, music and a rare opportunity to ask the artists questions. Kathakali means story–play and embraces drama, dance, music, visuals and ritual to create an exotic and visually powerful form of theatre.

Described as “spectacularly beautiful” by the Daily Telegraph, this rare gem of Indian theatre will be sure to add an exotic twist to your festival experience.

Tickets available for make-up demo, food and evening with Kathakali masters from The Scottish Mask and Puppet Centre


The West End is in blossom on Parade Day

Sunday June 7, 2015

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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


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

Website http://gibsonstgala.co.uk

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GibsonStreetGala

Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/gibsonstgala


News- WEF's opening Torchlight Procession launched

Wednesday May 1, 2013

This year’s West End Festival will be opened by an inaugural Torchlight Procession, which will start at the iconic Riverside Museum and end at one of Glasgow’s historic buildings, Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery.

Riverside Museum with Kids 2

The Torchlight Procession will take place on the evening of Saturday, 1 June and will be the first family event of the festival, bringing people together by torchlight to celebrate Glasgow’s West End.

Michael Dale, Director of the West End Festival said: “This is a real family event, signalling the first weekend and inclusiveness of the festival. Participation is the key to its success and we encourage people of all ages to join in.  The route from the Museum to the Art Gallery is doable for all ages, taking in new sites and old, including the University and Kelvingrove.

"We want people to come out for the evening with their families and feel a part of something special.”

Riverside Museum will be the host for families and participants prior to setting off on the procession with live music, entertainment and a special festival late opening night.  The mass procession of Torchbearers will then take the route from Riverside to Byres Road, University Avenue and finish at Kelvingrove Museum, where they will be met by street performers and musicians.

Torches are priced at £7 and will be available to purchase prior to the event at: www.torchlightprocession.co.uk