West End Festival!
Brings 17 Days of Fun
And a Chance to Explore Some Local Gems
festival fun in the west end; 12 - 27 June 2010...
Glasgow's West End Festival kicks off on Saturday 12 June 2010. Back for its 15th year, it gets bigger and better!
Running for 2 weeks and 3 weekends, the fun, parades, comedy, street parties and family stuff carry on until Sunday 27th June.
Putting all of this together, we've drawn up a few picks of the 2010 highlights, and our top tips for the real best of the best places for a cuppa, a snack, a meal or a drink.
The West End of Glasgow has many super places for eating, snacking and drinking. They truly spoil us for choice... We've come up with the top of the bunch, letting you make the most of trips down partying Byres Road, as well as all the hidden lanes where cool places are waiting, close to the festival fun..
Highlights for 2010 include these sparkling events:
Sunday 13 June: the West End Mardi Gras. Heading along Kelvin Way, it ends up twisting its way through Kelvingrove Park. Grab your spot, bounce to the drum beats and remember your camera...
Sunday 20 June: the Mela in Kelvingrove Park. Hosted by Glasgow's Asian community, this fun day is for everyone. Great food, performances, booths selling clothes and jewellery bring even more colours and exotic finery to the West End Festival.
Sunday 20 June: Gibson Street Gala. From 12 noon until 6pm, Gibson Street closes to traffic and opens its arms to welcome everyone for a street party. Free events for kids, stalls to tempt us, and lots of restaurants and bars nearby add to the party spirit, as we sway and dance along to the free music... (sigh).
Saturday 26 June: new for 2010: the West End Festival Highland Games in Hughenden. Rumour has it that the games will finish with a fireworks display.
The Final Fling Ceilidh in the Games Marquee brings the 2010 West End Festival to a close - starting 7.30pm. Roll on the good times...;-)
The West End Festival isn't limited to weekend events. Hundreds of lively and fun things take place all over the West End every day of the Festival. For example, Free Candy Sessions in Liquid Ship at 8pm on Thursday 17 June. Celtic bands, including an award winner from Celtic Connections festival, bring much loved harmonies and rhythms to the festival.
In addition, story groups, fun workshops and huge bouncy things wait to bring a smile to every face.
In Summer, eating outdoors comes with the territory. The West End Festival agrees, with BBQs all over the West End...
Comedy nights, guided walks, live music and dance all bring varied and fun times for all. Hundreds of other events wait to be explored, such as fun events for kids, intros to meditation, beer tasting and brand new theatre. See the official West End Festival website for the full run-down.
This year, the festival has a huge programme of fun things to do in nine categories, so we have a quick run down of each to whet your appetite for your very fave fun stuff - and check out our short articles for each:
funky west end festival venues...
One of the coolest things about the West End Festival is the wide range of venues where the fun takes place. Kelvingrove Park hosts several events, including the parade on 13 June and a guided walk. Other venues include churches, community centres and bars. Here are a few of the most active venues during the 2010 festival.
Gilmorehill G12 uses its flexible space to excellent effect. During the festival, we see a film screening - War Dance - on 18 June. Then there's Journey's Storytelling with Mara Menzies, a Chopin evening mixing his music with dreamy images, and Debi Gliori helping kids to follow troubles in the ecology with 'The Trouble with Dragons' and 'Stormy Weather'.
Standing proud at the junction of Byres Road and Great Western Road, Oran Mor has fun during the West End Festival.
In 2010, 17 events take place here. These include Eddi Reader on two evenings, The Peatbog Faeries with their high octane Celtic music, and a soul/funk extravaganza with The Hamish Stuart Band.
Every evening of the festival The Stand has us rolling about laughing.
New talents and old faves take turns. Expect to have a great time, and feel free to heckle - it you're brave enough... ;-)
time for a festival cuppa and snack...
You might not know this, but quite a few super delis and cafes tuck themselves away all around the West End Festival areas. None of them chains; you can expect something that little bit special.
One perfect little gem hides quietly off Argyle Street called Hidden Lane Cafe , with Fair Trade just-about-everything to try. Keep this local secret quiet, though - almost no-one knows about it!
Just out of sight of Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum lounges
Montgomery's Coffee House
, with art on the walls that you can buy, and great strong coffee that gives the buzz that keeps you in the 'fizzing festival mood.
Tables on the pavement entice you to take a load off, on sunny days, and their soup and sanny deals always offer top value.
on Byres Road has many fans, and quite right too. Fab salads and sannys await, and if you can sit by the window, you can watch Byres Road going about its business. Bliss...
Kember and Jones
quietly refreshes weary shoppers and festival goers, on a buzzing stretch of Byres Road. Unique, with mouth-watering snacks, a delicious deli and small cook-shop, this wee place even has tables outside, leaving you free to take part in fun Byres Road life...;-)
on Byres Road has got our Top Secret Agents hooked on their totally fab bruschetta. Not to mention thier ever-changing baquettes, stuffed with the likes of blue cheese and peaches. Warmed up they bring us a touch of Italian heaven.
All served to the tunes from Italian radio.
Stravaigin Cafe Bar
has been around since the 1980s, and still packs in happily chatting locals.
In the thick of things at the West End Festival, expect those large doors pulled wide open onto Gibson Street, for all to enjoy some Stravaigin delights.
west end festival dining...
Let's start with one of the classiest little Scottish restaurants around - Two Fat Ladies West End
. Since the early 1990s this cute little dining room has been treating us to the best Scottish cuisine around. Small but perfectly formed - make sure you book in advance to avoid being caught out.
Hidden on a first floor spot near Hillhead Library on Byres Road, the only Alpine ski lodge in the city,
La Vallee Blanche
elegantly awaits. Fab French cuisine at truly amazing prices mean we can all spoil ourselves from time to time. The perfect intimate dining room for a romantic meal or a fun party to remember.
party with a west end drink or three...
With so much outdoor fun in sunny June, you'll need to find the best places to take a load off and settle for couple of glasses of something chilled and with your name on it. The West End is simply stuffed with possible bars that might do the trick. Get it right and your fun day out enjoying the West End Festival will get even better.
Hiding in its very own leafy nook, Cottier's Bar has a beer garden too. With BBQ treats, up to the standard of their restaurant, its laid back vibe suits the West End perfectly. Child and pet friendly, you could hardly ask for more, during a festival that the kids just love.
With a few tables on the pavement, just off Byres Road, Booly Mardy's knows how to get the party going. An anagram of 'Bloody Mary', they pour a mean drink or two here. Full of youthful fun, this is always a popular West End Festival spot.
Beer gardens come into their own in Summer. During the West End Festival, it hardly gets dark - so head over to Brel for a drink or two in their beer garden out back. For that chilled-out-bliss-in-the-park feel, sprawl on the grassy hill with your mates, chink bottles, and relax in the sun. M aking its home in an old coach house in Ashton Lane, this places more brands of imported Belgian beers than you'll know what to do with.
Also in Ashton Lane, the delights of The Big Pub at The Chip await you. Now with a cute outdoor terrace in the roof, it makes a wonderful place to take a seat. Their 'Wines of the Month' are always worth checking out. This place is a real 'old gent' of the funky West End.
The third of Ashton's Lane's best bars has to be Vodka Wodka. Small and lively, the shooters are (in)famous in here. Getting ready to paint the West End red, party animals gather here, laughing and hooting well into the night...
Near the Botanic Gardens end of Byres Road, Bobar offers a classy list of cocktails in a very relaxed bar.
With a raised terrace looking out onto Byres Road, this could well be the best place to take in the fun of the friendly crowds out enjoying the festival highlights.
fun west end boutique shopping...
presents stunning arranged flowers with a touch of magic in them, a stones throw from West End Festival venue, Cottiers Theatre - and it's spicy place to eat,
Local lady Eleanor somehow manages to conjure her bouquets to life, while passing on a little local chit-chat. Don't tell her, but we all secretly ohave a crushe on her... ;-)
Enjoy browsing the sparkling shelves in Cassiopeia.
The lovely Liza Moran has an eye for style, and keeps in close touch with inspiring designers.
So her tiny gift shop makes the perfect place to pick up a stunning gift for any occasion. Or to treat yourself with something gorgeous and shiny...
has the kind of gallery where you can pick up a gift for just about any occasion. Plus probably spotting lots that you fancy for yourself.
Prepare for dazzling fun and a wild choice or two to make...
Onto Byres Road from Nancy Smillie's basement treasure trove, stumble upon
Papyrus. Demijohn offers vinegars and dressings from, well, demijohns. You can try before you buy, but watch out - some of them carry quite a boozy punch!
Bringing West End men designer undies and swimmies since 2005, Mr Smith.
Now sitting pretty, just off Dumbarton Road, and in a bigger space, there's lots to thank Mr Smith for.
Asked if he'd gone bust when he moved from Byres Road, his witty reply was that since he now offers a few treats for ladies, he's got the bust bits covered... ;-)
Last on our Top Secret tour of the very best Glasgow has to offer around the West End Festival is
. People have been known to loiter in Mellis, just for the tempting smells alone. The knowledge of the Mellis staff mean you'll make the best cheeseboard on the planet, or take a fun, whacky gift to a dinner party during the West End Festival. Have fun...
Kelvingrove Park, designed to provide gorgeous open spaces for Westenders, remains one of the most visited spots in Glasgow. Quite rightly, many West End Festival events take place near or actually inside the park.
have a closer nosey round kelvingrove park...
Guess what? The park just happens to be stuffed full of interesting things to see and do - history for you to enjoy.
Of course, Glasgow offers many fun and unique places to eat, drink and snack, as well as shop, around Kelvingrove Park. A look at the trail around Kelvingrove Park encouraged us to have a go, and we decided to include it just for you. What a great, FREE thing to do with the kids!
In the West End, the very most sumptuous and decadent place to put your head down is Hotel du Vin. Still fondly known locally as One Devonshire Gardens , it stands proud and stately in its very own complete Victorian terrace of town houses. Truly breath taking... This stunning hotel fits the bill for a luxury trip away from home.
west end festival snoozing...
Very close to Kelvingrove Park, three welcoming hotels wait to look after visitors to Glasgow. And more modest budgets will feel quite at home in them...
A neighbour of the park's tennis courts and bowling greens, Argyll Guest House makes guests feel like they're staying with friends. Make sure you take advantage of the full Scottish breakfast they serve. It'll set you up for a fab day enjoying the West End Festival.
Along Sauchiehall Street from Argyll Guest House, Sandyford Hotel offers mid-range rooms with all comforts included. This family run hotel is in the perfect spot for exploring the West End and the city centre on foot. So you have lots of exciting options when you stay here.
In one of the most striking Victorian terraces in Glasgow, Town House Hotel makes an excellent place to stay.
Tasteful and stylish, expect dreamy nights and feeling fresh and ready for the Festival parties. Enjoy.
On the banks of the river Clyde proudly stands The Crowne Plaza . Dramatic and shiny, and close to Glasgow Science Centre, Clyde Auditorium and the Scottish Exhibition Centre, you could hardly ask for a better placed hotel. Rooms are in very good nick, and offer stunning views along the river.
Wherever you decide to stay while visiting lovely Glasgow, we hope you have a marvellous time.
Above all, enjoy your West End Festival. Get on down and shake your booty with the best of us.
Then tell us all about the fun you've had. Send us your best West End Festival memories below. Add a photo or two if you have them. We'll then publish your very own Top Secret Glasgow pages on the web.
Totally free, of course. This way, you can impress everyone, and keep the West End Festival live and kicking, right through the year.
We hope you have a wonderful West End Festival, guys...
Do you have a special story about Glasgow's West End Festival? A funny experience? A grand occasion? A funky photo? A personal tip? A top secret?
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