This must be one of the most favorite periods of the Southside festival. Last year it was full of disappointment because of the weather and as a member of the Steering Group you would never have guessed our own disappointment – but as with many other things in life we had no control over the weather. It was with great delight that so many of you returned to support the festival and helped contribute to its success in 2012 as you did in 2010.
It’s hard to believe that it is all over for another year and everyone involved are back doing their nine to five jobs and already thinking about planning for 2013. Record crowds with glorious weather and some fantastic feedback go a long way in motivating the festival team to continue into the next year and like the year before manage the ever increasing financial constraints by working smarter and becoming more creative in our approach to festival organisation.
This year there were a numbers of firsts for the Southside Festival. Notably Nicola Sturgeon (local MSP and Secretary for Health for Scotland) accepted our invitation to come along and make the opening speech. It was also a first for Maria and Kevin Kelly who volunteered to take on the role of procession organisers for this years festival. If that task wasn’t enough both Maria and Keven were also charged with leading the procession along its extended route through Shawlands at the request of the Shawlands Business Association (SBA).
Another first for the festival was the involvement of the Scottish Sikh Community who put on a marvelous display in the procession and again in the Stalls Marquee. Local resident Clare Boyd, (quoted in Glasgow Local News) said: ‘events like this help bring the communities together to appreciate each other’s culture’.
In another first and echoing Clare’s sentiments was the unveiling of the Festival mural at the recreation grounds on the 23rd May. The mural represents the work of children in the area, and was created from the ideas of older residents speaking about their experiences of life in the southside in times past. This collaboration was brought to us with the help of Mark McGee and Nicky Stewart, the volunteers, who Curate Art in the Park, along with a number of local Schools.
Art in the Park as many of you will know continues to be popular. Last year’s exhibition attracted over two thousand people and this years show was no different. There were 19 professional exhibiting artists displaying a mixture of sculpture, painting, print making, photography, drawing and a variety of mixed media for you to enjoy.
During the 26th and 27th the Glasshouses also played host the ever popular Acoustic Stage organised by Southside Sessions and included music from Howlin Radio, Pol Stevenson, The Buddist Punks along with Jim Byrne and the Black Woods were among some of the acts on stage this year.
Moving on back to the main festival site music for the main stage music was provided by a number of popular and up and coming Scottish act that included among other Lemon Party, Button Up, The New Piccadillys and the Lorelei. Picnic in that Park on the 27th saw an extended line up from bands which included; Tanks in the Square, Refuge Point, Sean McGarvey, Frank McEvoy, Nettles, The Shiverin Sheiks, Engine 7 and The Carlton Jug Band.
The delights of the Picnic in the Park have been caught in this superb video with the Carlton Jug Band playing Plastic Jesus. Note the relaxed atmosphere that was characteristic of the whole festival and caught here on film by our very own Gavin McNae.
Moving away from the main stage other festival entertainment was provided by a number of inflatables including the ever popular bouncy castle, chute, assault course together with train rides and kids merry-go-round. Yet again the climbing wall attracted large numbers of people and proved to be a real hit with visitors and volunteers alike.
The G1 Young Performers Marquee proved to be really popular as did the Local Band Marquee. Both marquees provided the opportunity for young performers whether in solo acts or as part of a band and offered a platform to demonstrate their talents to a very mixed audience. This again was a first for the festival and hope to see it included in next years line up of entertainment.
Sport also featured highly in the festival as it did last year and as always proved it;’s worth with young and old alike. Come and try activities such as volley ball, hockey, cricket, lacrosse, rugby and tennis were among those being offered by a combination of local sports clubs and Future Fitness who have been a regular supporter in providing sport and fitness activities for you to try during the festival.
The Glasgow Vintage Vehicle Trust
provided a selection of their buses to take part in the procession and also run free bus services to and from the festival site and Georges Square – as well as local routes around the southside. Colour and noise was also added by the Vintage Fire Engines which included a Dennis F8 and a Scania 82M.
If you preferred a little relaxation or a slower pace in life then this was taken care of by Urban Roots over in the Earth Zone. The Earth Zone again proved to be very popular with visitors and many got down and dirty while finding out how to grow their own food in environments with limited space. Others learned how to ‘bling” up their bikes using reclaimed and recycled materials and also learned how to ‘upcycle’ some of their old tired cloths. Yet more just chilled with a free soothing massage provided by the students of Langside College or took part in one of a number of yoga sessions.
To round things up I guess it is a good time to mention a big thank you to all the local business, local groups & community projects, theater groups, schools, colleges together with our local Community Councils, Glasgow City Council and other funding bodies who make it all possible. It is through all of you that we keep our sense of community alive even after the festival is over. However, we hope you agree that the Southside Festival helps us not only celebrate everything that is unique about the Southside but also helps to promote the Southside to the rest of the city as a place that is alive and has lots to offer throughout the year.