Belle and Sebastian celebrate 20th anniversary in West End Festival ’s 21st anniversary year

Glasgow’s largest multi-cultural event, the West End Festival (WEF), launches its programme today, (Monday 25 April), celebrating 21 years. The festival runs from Friday 3- Sunday 26 June.

west end festival

Credit: John Linton

WEF is thrilled to announce a special collaboration with Glasgow favourites, Belle and Sebastian, celebrating their own 20th anniversary with a series of unmissable shows (10 – 15 June). The group performs at WEF before heading to the Royal Albert Hall for two sell-out shows on 22 and 23 June.

Two special events, both FREE, are taking place at the Kelvingrove Bandstand: ‘Summer Arts Community Stage’ 5 June, arts groups from across Glasgow’s north west – from samba drumming to joyous singing, upbeat dance to fresh young theatre; ‘A celebration of singing’ on 18 June, a day of song for everyone to enjoy at Kelvingrove Bandstand as we welcome local choirs to the stage of the iconic venue. WEF is working in partnership with Glasgow Life for these two events.

Michael Dale, WEF director said: “Over the last 21 years, we have not only played to over a million people in free and ticketed events, but we have given birth to a number of important mini-festivals such as the Bard in the Botanics, the Cottier Chamber Project, the Gibson Street Gala, the Partick Farmers’ Markets and The Electric Gardens. All of which have their origins in the West End Festival, and all of which have gone on to bigger things.”

WEF announced last month that it was reviewing its development after 21 solid years. Options now include the winter festival, The Electric Gardens at the Botanic Gardens, very successful in year one and pounded by bad weather in year two.  As a result the hugely popular Byres Road parade has been suspended this year.  WEF wants to reassure committed festival goers that it will return bigger and better in the future. Don’t dismay there are still hundreds of events taking place throughout the festival month, many of which are free and are family friendly.

Five things not to miss!

  • 3-26 June, Festival of Architecture 2016, The Ideal Hut Show exhibition at Botanic Gardens
  • Maryhill Community Hall will host the voice of Capercaillie, Karen Matheson, on Saturday, 4 June.
  • Oran Mor’s All Dayer on Sunday, 19 June
  • Sounds of Shakespeare, commemorating 400 years since William Shakespeare’s death, Friday, 3 June at St. Brides Church
  • Gibson Street Gala, Sunday, 19 June

Liz Scobie, WEF chairman added: “A festival as dynamic as WEF in a city as dynamic as Glasgow can’t stand still, and as well as new venues and new performers, we hope you notice the ever-increasing section on singing.  This year there are at least 29 choirs and singing groups – a whole festival in its own right!

“The West End Festival is 21 today and all of us connected with it feel very happy that we’ve reached this major milestone.  Over the years we’ve grown to become the largest community festival in Scotland and this is due to the efforts of a small army of dedicated staff, volunteers who donate their time and effort, and numerous supporters and sponsors who give us their money and encouragement.

“We must thank Glasgow Life, the W M Mann Foundation, the Hugh Fraser Foundation, the Cross Foundation and the Scottish Book Trust for their contributions.  But special thanks must be reserved for Glasgow City Council whose confidence in the WEF has never wavered.  Let Glasgow Flourish!”

This year, the West End Festival is supporting The Big Lunch, which takes place across the UK on 12 June. WEF is helping spread the word to communities around the west end of Glasgow.

The programme will be available later this week in outlets across the west end and is available on the mobile-friendly website from today.