Which festival takes your fancy in Glasgow?
Glasgow is a city with a strong sense of pride and cultural identity and nowhere is this showcased more than in the many fantastic festivals that are organised each year.
Glasgow has been in the international spotlight this year, with the success of the Commonwealth Games and Year of Homecoming-celebrations, both putting Scotland on the map. In addition to hosting such events, the city also plays host to numerous festivals, many of which started small and have developed to be large annual celebrations. These festivals are not just important to the city but also nationally, attracting acts and visitors from the rest of Scotland, and indeed the UK, as well as having a large international appeal. Here is a pick of some of Glasgow’s most vibrant festivals:
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In a couple of weeks, Glasgay! will be celebrating a significant milestone as it is now in its 21st year, making it one of the city’s most established festivals. This gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) cultural festival varies its themes each year. The topics for this year’s programme cover social, historical and contemporary taboos, covered by a varied offering of theatre, music, comedy, film and visual art, talks and debates.
20th October – 15th November, 2014
It is always good to have something to look forward to in the winter months. Celtic connections is one such event, and is actually the largest annual music festival of its kind in the UK. It brings people together to celebrate music and takes its visitors back to their roots through folk and world music. This year will see over 2000 musicians arriving in Glasgow to play in venues, small and large, across the city, until the wee hours of the morning. The festival is not just about music though. Packed into the schedule you will also find talks, art displays and workshops.
15th January – 1st February, 2015
International Jazz Festival
Glasgow International Jazz Festival was established in 1987 and has gone from strength to strength over the years. It has seen some huge international artists on its packed programme, including some of the most famous jazz musicians of all time, Miles Davis and Tony Bennett. As well as attracting international names, the festival is renowned for promoting home-grown Scottish talent. In recent years, jazz has seen a boom in popularity as people discover its varied styles. Whether you want to see a small intimate gig or one of the world´s best jazz artists in the Clyde Auditorium or the Royal Concert Hall, you will not be disappointed.
West End Festival
The West End of Glasgow is a trendy and almost bohemian part of the city. It is home to the University of Glasgow, the botanic gardens and Byres Road, one of the city’s most famous streets. It is no surprise that this area has a large student population and has a pretty laid back and arty vibe to it. The West End Festival has had more than one million visitors since its first year of running. The streets and venues in the area come to life with events, exhibitions, shows, talks and more. Many of these events are put on by local organisations and art groups, but it also attracts international artists.
Pride Glasgow is Scotland’s largest festival celebrating the LGBT community in the city. The festivities include a parade and a street party with a carnival atmosphere, as well as music events, shows, a market, fairground and more. The programme also commits to the LGBT Youth Safe Space with plenty of events for its younger audience.
Merchant City Festival
There is no better way to celebrate Glasgow’s strong cultural vibe than at Merchant City Festival, situated at the heart of Glasgow’s historic streets, minutes from the main shopping areas. The programme of events is packed with concerts, theatre, comedy and art, all of which can often take place in some unexpected venues. When asked what it is that visitors love the most about the event, the organisers responded:
“The Merchant city has some of the most beautiful streetscapes where the historic and the contemporary meet, and the festival enables the public to enjoy and experience these streets in a new way. People love the high quality markets, the vibe on the streets and the sense of being delighted by the unexpected”.
Locals and international visitors participate in the festivals offerings to eat, drink, play and be absorbed by the cultural goings-on.
No matter what time of year you are visiting Glasgow there is always something happening. If you have missed some of the festivals this year, do not worry. They will all be taking place next year as well. Whatever event you decide to attend, there is no better place to be based than in the heart of the city at Park Inn by Radisson Glasgow City Centre.