Watch your back … the West End Festival returns with more blood, sweat and tears

By Ellen Thomson at

Now you know summer is just round the corner – the West End Festival 2019 programme has been launched.

Scotland’s biggest community event returns for another year with a jammed-packed schedule.

The country’s first drag queen murder mystery events is just one of the many shows on offer.

West End Festival

Drag queens help launch West End Festival Programme. Photos: Martin Shields

And two of the stars joined festival chairman Liz Scobie for a colourful photo shoot in Kelvingrove Park.

On Friday evening, the programme was launched at a gathering of partners and supporters at Glasgow Botanic Gardens.

Michael Dale, festival director, said: “We are very excited about the programme this year and in particular the closing event at Cottiers on 30 June, with live performances from WEF’s favourite acts.

Eclectic mix

“You’d better secure your tickets early though.”

The 2019 programme features 350+ events and a new official closing event.

Every year festival organisers pull together an eclectic mix of gigs, theatrical performances, outdoor ceilidhs, walks, talks, a literary programme, community gala days and much more.

The West End Festival claims many ‘firsts’ and this year is no different.

West End Festival

West End Festival Programme Launch at Kelvingrove Park © Martin Shields

‘Drag in The Dark – Killer Queens’, is the first drag queen murder mystery event in Scotland.

It takes to the floor on June 27 at Curlers Bar, Byres Road, featuring Guillotina Munter, Frans Gender and Kiko.

The West End Festival doesn’t hide the fact that each year it becomes more challenging to develop the programme.

‘Owes so much’

With such limited resources, it owes much to the volunteers and local businesses who support the festival.

Liz said: “Once again we’ve worked with venues, promoters, event organisers and individuals to develop a really exciting programme.

“We’re most proud of the fact that we have so many free-to-attend events, which means we can make the festival accessible to anyone in Glasgow, and beyond.

Outdoor ceilidh at Kelvingrove

Dancing: an outdoor ceilidh at Kelvingrove galley was a highlight last year

“This year, we’re appealing to people who have perhaps not come before, to have a look at the programme and find an event that they will enjoy.

“In addition, we’re really excited about the official closing event we’ve got planned.

“If you want a piece of the action this June, you can find all the details on the website.

“Thinking ahead, we’ve already got our thinking caps on for 2020 as we celebrate 25 years! Ideas are welcome!”

The West End Festival 2019 is on from May 31 to June 30 at around 80 venues.