Monday June 2, 2014
We started up so small and so quietly too.
Even before the first Gibson Street Gala (in 2003 in fact) local residents held an event called “Bard in the Backcourt” snippets of Shakespeare were performed by actors promoting their show in the Botanic Gardens. This subsequently inspired the idea of holding an annual tenement fair -but it was just for neighbours and friends at that time.
In 2005, Michael, the West End Festival Director, arranged for Gibson Street to be closed for the gala day. That first event had only a few attractions but the sun shone and hundreds of people descended on the neighbourhood. Visitors appreciated the small steps we had taken to make this area better and we gained confidence. It was a wonderful community atmosphere and this is the magical element which has endured and grown as the Gibson Street Gala has become a regular loved local event each June.
Every year planning begins in January when a group of local residents and businesses start the process of raising funds and planning attractions. Individuals and small groups take on different aspects of the Gala, developing events and activities which will be on offer. There is a co-operative community spirit and lots of hard graft to make it happen
The organisers are all volunteers and work hard over a number of months to raise funds in order to have a great Gala day.
These fundraising endeavours make it possible to offer free activities and free entertainment for children as from the start this has been what the community made the priority.
The trials and tribulations of health and safety rules and regulations have over the years led to great debates and at the time, tears & snotters, but we have risen to the challenge. The tumbling stilt walker, the parasols sailing down into the river, the local power cut... all are distant memories now.
The pathway to holding a gala in the city streets is fraught with challenge. Last year we changed date when a national cycle race sped into town. So we now try for the first Sunday in June and hope in the future we are blessed by sunshine just as we were at the very first Gibson Street Gala.
Blog post by Jakki Fennessy and Eric Kay, GSG organisers
Monday June 10, 2013
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.
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!
Guest Blog Post by Margaret Mitchell, Gibson Street Gala Coordinator
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.”