West End Festival
Genteel cultured types and hedonistic hipsters alike can amuse themselves at this year’s West End Festival. Kirstin Innes explains how
Best for al fresco frolicking
There is of course more to the West End Festival than Scotland’s Mardi Gras (pictured), but the impact of 500+ musicians and costumed revellers stopping traffic on Byres Road (Sun 15 Jun) is not to be sniffed at. Propping up the other end is the Kelvingrove Indie Street Party, with local bands banging it, as the kids say, all over Argyle Street, and Firebird taking care of snacks.
Best for star-spotting
Everyone knows that the West End has a higher concentration of celebrities per square metre than any other area in Scotland. That may even be a statistically proven fact. Hillhead Library seems to be the best location for quality Festival sleb-spotting, with former Lib Dem head man Charles Kennedy MP reminiscing about life at Glasgow University (Fri 20 Jun). AL Kennedy, coffee-fresh from her Costa prize win, will also be available for questioning (Wed 25 Jun – we suspect she’s heard ‘where do you get your inspiration from?’ before). Café Rio on Hyndland Street is a good bet too, with Saturday night DJ sets throughout the festival from various luminaries of the Glasgow indie aristocracy, including members of Idlewild, The Twilight Sad, Teenage Fanclub and a heartstopping appearance from Steven Pastel.
Best for multiculturalism
Culturally-aware, well-travelled types might like to check out the programme of activities at Café Aziza on Great Western Road, where you can spend whole days hooked up to a shisha pipe or learn belly dancing whilse listening to traditional Tuareg music. There’s a definite world music strand to the festival this year, headed up by Orkestra Del Sol’s gig at Oran Mor (Fri 13 Jun) and exemplified by the inclusion of the Glasgow Mela (Sun 22 Jun) in the programme.
Best for striking a pose
The weekend of 21 and 22 June is prime time for the angular haircut crowd (which does have a strong presence in the area), as hip young design store Che Camille takes over the Hidden Lane for a fashion show on the Saturday, and Bolshie turns the whole of Bank Street into an (ethical, naturally) catwalk on the Sunday. The Grosvenor Cinema will be screening hip Scottish films like Morvern Callar and Red Road throughout the festival, and the music programme offers numerous chances to catch Wake The President, this year’s local lads most likely. They don’t call it Glasgow’s Trendy West End for nothing.