Best of the WestFest

The West End’s favourite summer celebration will return this year. Time to start planning that festival wardrobe!

By Tracy Mukherjee
Images – Casey Cochrane

WestFest launched officially in 2023. A festival full of music, art, theatre and most of all fun. It was exactly what we needed in the year following the darkness of the pandemic. And such was its success last year, WestFest returns this coming June. 

What can we expect in 2024

Last year saw an audience of around 100,000 enjoying the colour and energy of the festival events. This year it is expected that 120+ events will take part across 60 venues. With so many of the outdoor events being free, WestFest really does want to ensure that all our community can enjoy. Our favourites are expected to return: Vinicombe St Gala, Mansfield Park Street Festival and the fantastic Big Sunday at Kelvingrove Bandstand. 

We’re all born naked, the rest is…Drag!

And so are the immortal words of Ru Paul.  And thankfully we Westenders can look towards the Bandstand and Amphitheatre for the return of Drag @ The Bandstand.  Previously performing at their extremely successful night back in 2022, Drag @ The Bandstand promises outrageous costumes, passionate performances and above all, plenty of laughs!  The evening event will be hosted but the legend that is Cheri Treiffel, accompanied by the skooshy cream del la crème of the Glasgow Drag Scene.  With ticket proceeds going towards funding the free Big Sunday daytime event, head to the bandstand for some true Queens of Glasgow. 

Garry King & Cheri Treiffel launch WestFest 2024 at the Kelvingrove Bandstand

And that’s just for starters. With the Queen (pardon the pun) Margaret Drive Festival, street theatre, choral concerts and so much more, how do we pack it all in during the four weeks?

It’s all about the community

West Fest’s Director Brendon McElroy kicked it all off in 2022 and can see how much the community enjoys such events. Brendon says, 

‘We really were blown away by how well WestFest was received last year, and the good-will people had for the festival. After a challenging few year, there really was an appetite for a festival in the West End again and myself and the team felt uniquely placed to deliver this.’

He continues ‘After a strong 2023, we’re focusing on growing WestFest to ensure it’s accessible to everyone. We’re going to be producing and encouraging events all across the West of Glasgow, not just Hillhead as most would expect.’

Plus, WestFest continues its support of the West End community with a commitment to projects for education and community groups. There is even a schools book programme.  In fact, my own children’s school had to privilege of welcoming Alan Windram, author of the One Button Benny series to their school.  The infant department had a fantastic morning listening to the author’s tales and getting the chance to take home a signed book.  Westfest really does cross all generations.

With so much going on, one might be venturing into FOMO territory.  But fear not as the WestFest team have it covered. The team will distribute 50,000 brochures featuring all event listings from April onwards.  Add to your “must do’s” the Glasgow Vintage Open Bus Tours, the ever popular, hugely fun Kelvingrove Outdoor Ceilidh and of course, Bard in the Botanics.  
As the team have long attested to, the main aim of Westfest is “after a very challenging few years…people need a bit of levity and fun in their lives more than ever.”  Ain’t that the truth?   

And so, to do list: dig out the psychedelic kaftan, oversized sunnies and factor 50… well we can but hope!

WestFest is running from 1st – 30th June

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