Arts & Culture

Appeal: Could you bring new ideas and energy to Glasgow’s West End Festival?

By Ian Marland at

WHAT’S THE STORY?

Glasgow’s West End Festival (WEF) is looking to the future with an appeal for new members to joins its board. Like any organisation, it needs new voices and ideas to take it forward.

The festival has grown from humble beginnings to become Scotland’s biggest community event of its kind. More than 1 million visitors have attended since it started.

This year’s festival kicks off next month – with 400 events at 75 venues. Now, all that needs bringing together and organising. Do you think you have the energy and drive to get involved?

Planning: Organising the West End Festival is an all-year process.

CAN YOU TELL US MORE?

A core of people have been working behind the scenes to make the West End Festival a success for many years. This year’s event will be the 22nd time the festival has been staged.

The board works across the year to plan the two-week programme that runs through June. While the summer event is its main focus, the festival has in recent years extended itself to stage a Winter festival and a torchlight parade.

So, particular skills are required to turn ideas into reality. People with fundraising, marketing and event, commercial and financial, social media and publicity skills are welcome to apply.

The festival is supported with funding from Glasgow City Council as well as many other funders and sponsors. WEF earns more than 50% of its income through its own efforts.

Forward: This year’s festival was launched with a photocall at the Riverside Museum.

WHAT ARE THEY SAYING?

Liz Scobie is the chairman of the West End Festival’s board of directors. She said: “We are very proud of the fact that we are now recognised as Scotland’s largest community festival, which is fantastic. The next big milestone will be our quarter-century, the 25th festival in three years time.

“So, we are looking forward to that in terms of strategy. The board of directors are volunteers – and we would like to strengthen the board. The festival is an all-year-round planning process, particularly now that we have introduced the Winter Festival and the torchlight parade.

“The board meets around six times a year normally – with a couple of sub-committee groups who meet up to discuss issues like sponsorship and fundraising. It’s not a colossal amount of commitment – but what we are looking for more than anything else is new ideas, lots of new energy to take us forward to the next phase.”

West End Festival Winter Torchlight Parade for St Andrews Day. Photograph by Martin Shields.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT?

Obviously, this year’s festival is planned and is about to be delivered. The call for new board members is timed to have new blood in place for the start of planning for next year’s event.

The board is launching a recruitment process and would like to hear from people who might be interested in contributing. Potential members are asked to consider whether they have the necessary energy, ideas, enthusiasm and commitment to help.

If so, drop Liz a line with your initial interest. She can be contacted via email on chairman@westendfestival.co.uk

Base: The festival has its headquarters in Dowanhill Park in the West End.

WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES?

Michael Dale is the festival’s director. He says the challenge is making the festival sustainable at a time of great competition for funding.

“It’s important to look back because we can see where we’ve been and what we’ve achieved. When I started the West End Festival 22 years ago my idea was always to borrow and use the characteristics of the West End.

“We started out well, and we’ve built on that all the way through. If the festival is to be sustainable in the future we have got to use what we have got.

“We’ve got a lot and I think we have used it very well – the parks, the libraries, the schools – and that is the key to why the West End Festival has been a success.”


Watch: Liz Scobie and Michael Dale make the case for new board members.

WHAT’S WITH THE LITTLE WHITE BUILDING?

That is headquarters for the festival organisers. They are based in the White House at Dowanhill Park off Highburgh Road and Hyndland Street.

It’s where the planning and organising takes place and some of the meetings. As Michael says, the success of the festival has been about making use of the resources the West End has to hand.

Packed: #WEF17 promises something for everyone.

WHAT WAS THAT CONTACT AGAIN?

Liz is at chairman@westendfestival.co.uk