Merchant City Festival returns for another burst of artistry

City centre celebration gives families a chance to get creative

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Merchant City Festival

For 51 weeks of the year it’s just a series of roads and pavements. But for one week each summer, Glasgow’s Merchant City becomes a hotbed of creativity. Street performers, dancers, acrobats and musicians do their thing, inspiring the rest of us to channel our artistic side.

‘The atmosphere at the Merchant City Festival is vibrant, dynamic and fun,’ says artist Katie Fowlie who runs the Family Zone in Merchant Square. ‘It’s terrific to see children come through the door each day bursting to let out some of their own energy and ideas. Our job in the Family Zone is to give them an encouraging and inspiring environment in which to do so.’

Free to enter and open from noon–4pm each day, the Family Zone is just one of several opportunities to get hands-on during the Festival, much of which has been inspired by the Year of Innovation, Architecture & Design.

Each day, Fowlie and her team will offer a different activity, including invention, design and construction, printmaking and toy making, with all materials provided.

‘There are precious few opportunities for children to learn through creative play,’ says Fowlie, ‘and the beauty of our sessions is that participants can learn, explore and produce something surprising and unique.

‘People can discover that many things are possible with readily available materials, without the need for expensive equipment. We hope they will go on to create their own fun, relying purely on a good dose of imagination.’

Various venues, Merchant City, Glasgow, 30 Jul–7 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.

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