The 2011 West End Festival, which will take place Friday 3 to Sunday 26 June in Glasgow, began as a small, local festival in 1996, focusing on Byrnes Road in Glasgow. It has grown tremendously since, with minimum involvement from local and federal authorities. The West End Festival is truly an example of how festivals should be organized. Called “Scotland’s Mardi Gras,” the West End Festival is now Glasgow’s largest event, so it encompasses more than just the West End. It is now all about Scotland and is a celebration of Scottish arts and culture. It starts off with a parade and then a street party in Kelvingrove Park lasting the entire day (Sunday 5 June this year).
In 2006, the parade saw an estimated 100,000 people take to the streets and parks of Glasgow’s West End. This year, the festival is even bigger, encompassing twenty-four, the longest ever in its sixteen-year history, with 600 events planned—again, more than ever before. In 2010, over 160,000 people attended the festival, and it’s sure to bring more people to enjoy the carnival-like atmosphere and huge fun this year. The festival’s events include the Cottier Chamber Music programme, a series of twenty-three early evening music concerts celebrating Scotland’s small-scale music scene and hosted by the newly re-opened Cottier Theatre.
The West End Festival is also hosting an outdoor cinema centered in Kelvingrove Park, toward the end of the festival, as well as a new transport museum opening at the Riverside on 21 June.
Throughout the festival a huge variety of activities will take place, including live music, outdoor theatre, comedy, drama, guided walks, film, and children’s events. Local venders and markets will also sell their wares throughout the festival’s venues in the West End and other areas of Glasgow.
The best evidence of the West End Festival’s scope and influence as a festival is its beautiful, 116-page color brochure. It lists and describes all of the events and performers that will appear during the festival. It can be accessed online, at the Festival’s website. If you are planning on making your way to this festival and need a hotel, check out the Jurys Inn range of hotels in Glasgow.