Glasgow Commonwealth cultural extravaganza planned

Glasgow's cultural extravaganza will be 'as big as Edinburgh Festival'. Picture: Donald MacLeod
Glasgow's cultural extravaganza will be 'as big as Edinburgh Festival'. Picture: Donald MacLeod
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Organisers of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow say a “world-class” cultural programme they are planning will create the equivalent of the Edinburgh Festival to complement the sporting extravaganza next year.

Dozens of arts events will spill out on to the streets across the city over a two-week period before and during the games next summer, as part of a £4 million programme of events.

The city’s galleries, museums and performing arts companies are all expected to take part in what is billed as “Glasgow’s largest ever programme of arts and entertainment”.

The funding pot – offering grants of up to £300,000 – is already said to be “hugely over-subscribed” after being opened up to artists, event organisers and companies across the country last year.

Organisers of the games said they also wanted to send out the message that Glasgow was “open for business” when the games are on, in contrast to last year’s Olympics, when there was an exodus of many Londoners fearing major disruption.

Glasgow 2014 officials are working with national arts agency Creative Scotland on the cultural programme, which will be spread around the country in the run-up to the games, before a city-wide festival takes centre stage in Glasgow next July.

Tourism bosses believe the cultural celebrations in Glasgow will “dovetail perfectly” with the Edinburgh Festival next summer, as it gets under way just as the Commonwealth Games draw to a close.

Key events such as the Fringe, the Tattoo and the Edinburgh International Festival are all expected to have significant Commonwealth-themed strands.

A “vision for culture” document produced by the Glasgow 2014 organisers states: “The eyes of the world will watch as we celebrate the gathering of many nations and people, and the very best of arts and culture in Scotland, alongside great sporting achievements.”

Gordon Arthur, director of marketing at Glasgow 2014, said: “Sport will only be part of Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games story next year. There will be a world-class cultural programme to complement the sport events which we expected to generate a huge party atmosphere right across the city.

“If you can imagine, it will like Edinburgh is at Festival time. The streets of the city centre will be brought alive by special events over more than two weeks.”

Creative Scotland said the artistic programme being planned for the Commonwealth Games would include the “broadest possible range of cultural expression”.

A spokesman added: “Festival 2014 will transform Glasgow immediately before and during games-time, with activity that complements the sporting programme, enhancing spectators’ and visitors’ experiences and create a sense of buzz and excitement in the city.”

Meanwhile, Glasgow 2014 will reveal next week the overseas route of the Queen’s Baton Relay after it leaves Buckingham Palace in October.

It will tour overseas countries around the Commonwealth before arriving back in the UK in May.