Merchant City Festival boosted to 11 days for Commonwealth Games

Merchant City Festival boosted to 11 days for Commonwealth Games

The multi-arts fest incorporates several smaller festivals, including Surge, Get Scotland Dancing and Vintage Glasgow

An established fixture of Glasgow’s summer for some years now, the Merchant City Festival is set to expand dramatically this year thanks to its official association with the Commonwealth Games as one of four Live Zones across the city. For one year only it will be boosted to 11 days rather than four, the usual combination of arts, food and fashion pitched to capture the attention of as many of the city’s new visitors as possible.

‘In a way, we’re just building on what the festival has always done,’ says the event’s executive producer Lorenzo Mele, ‘which is to make the centre of Glasgow feel as international as possible.’ He points to the Brunswick Hotel’s music stage, which will be in operation throughout the festival, and to a range of continental-themed food markets, as well as a greater focus than ever on dance this year. Merchant Square will again be hosting Get Scotland Dancing and there will be much more street dance than usual.

‘Partly these [dance events] will reflect on the physicality of the Games themselves,’ says Mele, ‘so they’re more physical dance performances, almost acro-dance. We also have a local company running a dance treasure hunt.’ Also under the wing of Merchant City Festival this year will be the Surge street theatre festival, which brings physical theatre, comedy and interactive shows together, and Wayne and Geraldine Hemingway’s weekend-long retro feast, Vintage Glasgow, featuring a ‘soul casino’ and a Bratislavan swing band.

Various venues, Glasgow, Thu 24 Jul – Sun 3 Aug.

Merchant City Festival

A diverse arts festival in Glasgow's swanky part of town. Previous years have seen comedy, theatre and art events cramming themselves into the area's fashionable buildings, while street performers add to the festival atmosphere.