Cultural festival to run alongside 2018 European Championships

A new cultural festival celebrating Scotland and Glasgow is to run alongside the staging of next year's inaugural 2018 European Championships.

Bridget McConnell has high hopes for the new festival. Picture: Stephen Mansfield

The sporting event - which combines the existing European championships of swimming, cycling, gymnastics, rowing, athletics and triathlon - will be hosted by Glasgow and Berlin in August 2018.

Organisers expect total attendance in Glasgow of more than 250,000 and have unveiled plans for a cultural festival to supplement the competition.

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Hosted in George Square, it will bring together the already established Merchant City Festival with the Scottish Government’s Year of Young People programme and the 150th anniversary of the birth of Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

Glasgow 2018 said it will also work with co-host Berlin to highlight the “considerable creative expertise of both cities in a ground-breaking cultural partnership”.

Theatre, dance, music, comedy and visual arts performances will be part of the 11-day programme from August 2 next year.

The cultural festival was announced as organisers mark the “500 days to go” milestone.

Dr Bridget McConnell, chair of the Glasgow 2018 European Championships board, said: “Glasgow is Scotland’s sporting, creative and cultural powerhouse, and we know how to celebrate in style.

“During the Glasgow 2018 European Championships, the city and nation will, once again, come alive with a fantastic celebration of our finest artistic talents.”

VisitScotland’s director of events Paul Bush said: “The Glasgow 2018 European Championships are a direct legacy of Scotland hosting the 2014 Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup.

“The cultural festival secures the legacy further and ensures Scotland continues to be recognised as a global leader in the delivery of sporting and cultural events. EventScotland is proud to be part of the team helping deliver the championships that will once again show Scotland as the perfect stage for events.”