Scotland’s first ever graffiti festival opens in Glasgow

A mural at Yardworks Festival in Glasgow. Picture: Jonathan Rimmer
A mural at Yardworks Festival in Glasgow. Picture: Jonathan Rimmer
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Hip hop heads descended on Glasgow this weekend as SWG3 played host to Scotland’s first ever graffiti festival.

The two-day Yardworks Festival (6-7 May) showcased street art by a mixture of Scottish and international artists.

Artists at work. Picture: Jonathan Rimmer

Artists at work. Picture: Jonathan Rimmer

The sun was shining for the outdoor event, which was held in a specially designed maze-like structure in the venue’s Galvanizers Yard.

Rather than preparing pieces for exhibition, artists showcased their painting skills live in order to “bring the concrete jungle to life”.

Frank Carty, a signwriter painting at the event, said: “The festival’s a great way to showcase all the talent we’ve got here. A lot of the guys here are working with no funding, but they’re not waiting for somebody to do it for them. They’re doing it off their own back and deserve more shine.”

Glasgow City Council has commissioned various murals in recent years, with a range of artwork displayed on buildings around the city. However, there are no locations where artists can paint without breaking the law.

Gary MacKay, general manager at SWG3, said: “I’ve not told one person what they can paint on these walls. Everyone has done what they want to do. It’s giving them a legal spot to paint – they won’t be looking over their shoulder here.

“It’s all about putting a spotlight on the graffiti scene and the graffiti writers themselves. By bringing in international artists, it helps the younger guys improve.”

The festival also catered to other elements of hip hop, with attractions including live DJs and a breakdancing showcase featuring local b-boys.

Chaz Bonnar, organiser of the showcase, said: “It was tremendous. Eight of the top b-boys in the country battled it out against each other. The crowd were amazing and showed their appreciation for the dancers and the battles. We’d love to come back and do it again.”