Glasgow Buzz: Festival Madness in the West End

A great opening to what promises to be the best summer ever.

Feature by Rosie Crerar | 15 Jun 2006

Celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, Glasgow's West End Festival promises to be Glasgow's hottest summer ticket.

Now spanning over twenty venues and running from the 9th to the 25th of June, the Festival offers something for everyone, guaranteeing that the streets of Glasgow's West End will be buzzing well beyond the opening festivities. With a heady cocktail of live music, theatre, dance, film and comedy from emerging and more established acts, plus a host of guided tours, conferences, open doors days, workshops, puppet shows and storytelling for kids - this year's programme looks set to bring in the decade with a bang.

Coined as Scotland's answer to Mardi Gras, the opening parade on Sunday June 11th will make its way from the Botanics, decked out in elaborate carnival regalia dancing to the chorus of samba and percussion bands, passing three main stages on its way, before linking up with the Mela festival in Kelvingrove Park for more music, dance and merriment.
For the following three weeks the libraries, university, pubs, music venues, cinemas, theatres and back streets of the West End will continue to bustle with activity.

Friends of Glasgow West have set up a series of talks and walks, guided tours exploring the architectural and historical heritage of the area, as well as the pubs. Not to be missed will be the long awaited launching of the Kelvinhaugh ferry, after years of restoration the Tall Ship will finally be open for tours.

Theatre goes al fresco with Scotland's only Shakespeare festival returning with the Bard in the Botanics performing 'Comedy of Errors' in the open air. Gilmorehill G12 will play host to both film and theatre, showcasing local writers works, dance, and community lead plays, as well as contemporary film favourites.

Silent films at the Grosvenor are sure to be engrossing, with footage from the Scottish Film Archive and live piano accompaniment recreating the cinema-going experience of the '20s. Also screening as part of this silent film repertoire is 'The Cabinet of Dr Caligari', an expressionist classic cited as one of the most visually and thematically influential films ever made. Late night screenings of cult hits 'Trainspotting' and 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas' will also be on offer.

The music programme offers a range of eclectic acts performing in and around the West End: from opera to electronica at the Music Nova festival at the University, free Scottish folk sessions at The Lismore, Partick's whisky bar, and to Nashville and back with Grammy award-winning singer/songwriter Bob Cheevers at Brel. Not to mention a Scottish tribute to France's Fete de la Musique with free music in Oran Mor from Glasgow indie outfits Endor and Pop Up among others.

When the lights go down on these events, the West End will play host to a series of street parties, in Gibson St and beyond, concluding with the Ashton Lane closing night bash. In this wee corner of the city, Glasgow's West End Festival has made a distinctive mark on the cultural map of Scotland's summer activities. A great opening to what promises to be the best summer ever.

Glasgow's West End Festival, 9th-25th June