Commonwealth Games: City-wide festival announced

IT promises to be the biggest party that Glasgow has ever staged - taking over everything from public parks and precincts to theatres, concerts halls and nightspots.

An artist's impression of what the Commonwealth Games' 'Festival 2014' may look like. Picture: Contributed

A line-up of more than 1,000 arts events and performances to complement the staging of the Commonwealth Games in the city has been unveiled with just over a month to go before the celebrations get underway.

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Vast party zones will be set up in the Merchant City, Glasgow Green and Kelvingrove Bandstand and the Clyde waterfront as part of a two-week programme of events, some of which will run into the early hours of the morning.

An artist's impression of what the Commonwealth Games' 'Festival 2014' may look like. Picture: Contributed

Other venues lined up for the “Festival 2014” festivities include the Old Fruitmarket, which will host the official late-night after-party of the games, the Riverside Museum, the Arches and Citizens theatres, the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall and the Theatre Royal.

Performers from all over the Commonwealth are being invited to Glasgow to take part in the Festival 2014 events, which will unfold in more than 100 different venues within the city’s boundary, including on the approaches to the major sporting arenas.

Although some events are being ticketed, including the opening and closing events at Glasgow Green and Kelvingrove, organisers say the majority will be free of charge.

Among the highlights of the programme are a celebration of former South African president Nelson Mandela and his links to Glasgow, a classical music marathon led by violinist Nicola Benedetti, a nightly satirical theatre show looking back at the main stories of the day during the games, a night-time outdoor spectacle to be staged on the Clyde and the largest ever flotilla of vessels on the river.

Both Glasgow Green and Kelvingrove Bandstand will be playing host to a string of free concerts and events during the games, with King Creosote, Admiral Fallow, Edwyn Collins, The Bluebells, Roddy Hart, James Yorkston, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Rachel Sermanni and James Grant among the musical attractions.

Also appearing at one of these two venues will be comedians Phil Nichol, Hardeep Singh Kholi and Fred MacAulay and authors Christopher Brookmyre, Denise Mina, Beatrice Colin and Alan Bissett, while there will be outdoor screenings of classic films by director Bill Forsyth, including Gregory’s Girl, Local Hero and That Sinking Feeling.

Elsewhere in the festival programme, the annual Merchant City Festival is being hugely expanded to embrace the Commonwealth Games, with street theatre, dance, fashion and music events, while the BBC has already announced plans to create a huge temporary arena next to its Pacific Quay headquarters, which Simple Minds, Texas, Paloma Faith, Amy Macdonald and Still Game stars Ford Kiernan and Greg Hemphill among confirmed for appearances.

The Festival 2014 line-up is part of a £13 million programme of events which are being staged all over Scotland this year to celebrate the nation’s first hosting of the Commonwealth Games since 1986.

The city-wide programme, which will run from 19 July-3 August, has been jointly organised by Glasgow Life, the body responsible for the city’s main arts venues, the Glasgow 2014 organisers and national arts body Creative Scotland.

Glasgow 2014 board director Eileen Gallagher said: “Festival 2014 will be an amazing celebration of culture which is woven into the fabric of the Commonwealth Games experience.

“No matter where you are in Glasgow during the Games, you will be able to access performances and events involving some of the best homegrown and Commonwealth talent. There is something for everyone to come and see or take part in at Festival 2014 and most of it is free offering everyone the opportunity to be part of the games.”

Creative Scotland’s chief executive, Janet Archer, said: “The energy and imagination of some of Scotland and the Commonwealth’s most exciting creative talent will fill the venues, parks, streets, and even the skyline of Glasgow. Their work will dazzle, illuminate and delight.

“It will also provide moments for contemplation among the buzz of the city, and for reflection and consideration of important questions around sport and the Commonwealth.

“Above all though, their work will be part of an amazing celebration – one of the greatest Scotland has known.”

Full details of all events are available on the website