Last night, Thursday 25 April, the West End Festival (WEF) launched its 2013 programme and announced that the Mardi Gras Parade will be back in Byres Road this year on Sunday, 9 June.

Following a public appeal the Festival has secured funding for its iconic Parade Day from Glasgow based daily deals and events service itison.com – which ensures its return in 2013.

Parade Day attracts up to 80,000 revellers to the streets and this will be the first time the Festival has had sufficient funding to close Byres Road for the Parade since 2008.  Its return to the heart of the west end is predicted to attract record visitor numbers.

West end resident and founder of itison.com, Oli Norman, has pledged the £15K sought by the public appeal to ensure the event goes ahead this year.

Oli said:  “It was a huge blow to lose the Mardi Gras from the West End Festival programme last year.  We saw the public appeal in the media and decided we had to make it happen.  Not only is the Mardi Gras a huge amount of fun, it’s also a great support to local businesses and communities: something we’re really passionate about at itison.”

The programme includes over 400 events in some 80 venues across the west end of Glasgow, with events ranging from music and theatre, to walks, talks and community galas.

In addition to the crowd funding project, funding is also given from Creative Scotland and further funding of £31,600 has been contributed from the Integrated Grants Fund from Glasgow City Council to the overall 2013 West End Festival programme. Glasgow Arts is also providing financial support to arts-led community projects in the run up to the parade.

Bailie Aileen Colleran, Executive Member for Communities at Glasgow City Council, said: “The West End Festival is a fantastic celebration of culture, and one that has brought colour and entertainment to the streets of the West End since 1996.  It is now an established part of Glasgow’s events calendar, attracting visitors from all across the city and beyond, and so many people are already looking forward to what will be taking place in June.  The festival is something Glasgow City Council is pleased to support through our Integrated Grants Fund.”

Chairman of the Festival, Liz Scobie said: “We asked for help and got it which shows how much affection there is in the community for the Byres Road Parade.  The festival brings everyone out to have fun with friends and neighbours and it’s impossible to put a price on that. The Parade and the Gibson Street Gala are very special local events where people take over the streets that they walk along every day of their lives. Everyone just relaxes and enjoys the neighbourhood.   Come along and you’ll see what I mean.

“Securing funding for the 2013 Mardi Gras was hugely important for the city.  With the Commonwealth Games coming to Glasgow next year, there are exciting times ahead and our ambition is to ensure the West End Festival and the communities and organizations involved are an integral part of that.”

The WEF takes place from Friday, 31 May to Sunday, 30 June this year and it’s set to be the best yet!

Highlights include the opening Torchlight Procession, Glasgow Mela, Cottier Chamber Project, Gibson Street Gala, Big Band Festival, Bard in the Botanics and much more. The new website will launch at midday on Friday, 26 April  with full event listings.