Weave Festival to take place in Paisley's historic town centre this weekend
- Arusa Qureshi
- 28 June 2017
Festival programme features Alan Bissett, Kirstin Innes, Neuk Wight Dehli All-Stars, Rachel Sermanni, Hò-rò and Paria Goodarzi
As a hub for the textiles industry, Paisley has long been known for the production of Paisley patterned shawls which, in the 19th century, made the town's weavers world-famous. Celebrated annually, the Sma' Shot Parade pays tribute to this tradition and also to a significant 19th century dispute between the weavers of Paisley and their employers, referring to a small cotton thread that was important for the production of the pattern but was not paid for by manufactures because of its near invisibility. The parade is a remembrance of the weaver's historic victory over their employers, with hundreds of performers and participants gathering together every year to highlight a vital piece of Paisley's past.
This year's Sma' Shot event will be an extended celebration, accompanied by the three-day cultural programme, Weave Festival. With the aim of engaging the public with this key piece of heritage, the festival will reconnect Paisley's historic weaving tradition with the modern day textiles industry, with almost 40 shows across six venues and two outdoor live zones scheduled to take place.
The Weave Festival takes over Paisley's town centre from Fri 30 Jun–Sun 2 Jul, playing a significant role in Scotland's Year of Heritage, History and Archaeology 2017 through a series of family-friendly events, from live music and poetry to craft and street performance.
Alongside the Sma' Shot Parade on the Saturday, highlights from the programme include playwright Alan Bissett and author Kirstin Innes, who showcase their work at the third annual Sma' Shot Poetry Slam, compered by Shaun Moore (Paisley Town Hall, Sat 1 Jul, 7pm).
Traditional music supergroup Yorkston/Thorne/Khan are also making an appearance as part of their Neuk Wight Dehli All-Stars tour, performing at Paisley Arts Centre on Sunday evening. Iranian textile artist Paria Goodarzi is premiering her latest work Mass Movement (Paisley Arts Centre, 20 Jun–4 Jul, 10am–4pm), a visual art exhibition that is influenced by her personal journey as a refugee rebuilding her life in Scotland.
PaisleyMake Makers' Market at Paisley Abbey (Sat 1 Jul, 1pm) is a chance to browse and purchase products from a variety of Scottish designers and makers, while the Scottish Alternative Music Awards Showcase (Paisley Arts Centre, Sat 1 Jul, 7pm) provides a night of live music, featuring performances from Rachel Sermanni, The Great Albatross and Mark McGowan.
Elsewhere, you'll find an outdoor family ceilidh with traditional folk band Hò-rò (Abbey Close, Main Stage, Sat 1 Jul, 2.15pm), the Drum Off finale (Abbey Close, Main Stage, Sat 1 Jul, 5pm), storytelling sessions, talks, tours and demonstrations from artists and designers, all drawing attention to Paisley's rich culture while commemorating the town's weaving heritage and textiles roots.
Alan Bissett said: 'I'm really looking forward to taking part in the Weave Festival. As a fairly recent inhabitant of Renfrewshire, I've become fascinated by the history of Paisley and the surrounding area, which has found its way into the new poem I've written for the festival about the legacy of the textiles industry. Paisley is clearly a place bursting with creative voices – some found on the page, some found holding court on bar-stools - and I've tried to tap into that. The Slam Poetry night is going to be exciting too, as the energy of the town takes its place as part of Scotland's vibrant spoken word scene. Gonnay be a cracker.'
Weave Festival, Fri 30 Jun–Sun 2 Jul, various venues, Paisley. The full programme can be viewed at paisley2021.co.uk.