It’s festival time again in Glasgow and we had a fantastic, sun-drenched weekend for the annual parade! Every year it gets bigger and better as more musical and community groups get involved. Judging by their elaborate costumes and spectacular props, some of them must spend the whole year getting ready!
This year I managed to get a spot with a clear view so I took tons of photographs. (Normally I’m stuck behind crowds of people, and being short I end up seeing only a few bright feathers and flags pass by overhead!) There were lots of percussion bands with drums, trombones, bagpipes and other instruments. The one above is SheBoom, who play African-Brazilian and Celtic rhythms.
There were dancing groups too from all over the world, who waved scarves or dressed in colourful costumes. The group above look like they’re from Jamaica, but there were also representatives from China and other communities who have settled in Scotland.
Some of the participants were artists, like the Scotstoun Woodcraft group who created an impressive banner for the parade.
The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland also took part, and the BA Production Arts & Design students had made some amazing costumes and props on a “Fairytales of the Unexpected” theme.
And look at this dragon!
There were two enormous traditional Chinese dragons as well, with lots of people walking underneath to support their long, snake-like bodies. As you can imagine, it was impossible to get a whole dragon in any of my photographs!
Another artistic group taking part in the parade was a group of young women dressed in cardboard paper-doll cutouts. They were called The Studio: Sew Last Century, and they are a Partick-based textile club for 10-18-year olds. The paper dolls represent 1950s dress design which is something the group have been researching in the Glasgow School of Art Archives and Collections.
Not only is the West End Parade a fantastic event to watch, but you also learn about so many groups and creative enterprises that are thriving in this city! Sometimes the groups in the parade have a political message, like this peace organisation that wants to get rid of nuclear-powered submarines in Scotland:
Another thing that Glasgow has coming up is the Commonwealth Games in 2014. One poor person had to spend this glorious hot day sweating in a green thistle costume as the Games mascot:
Although I was just a spectator at the parade, I actually made a little contribution to the festivities myself, spending an hour in the Botanic Gardens where a lovely quiet space has been created for children and families. It’s called the Children’s Garden, and in the fragrant and shady willow house I sat and read stories with a group of chatty youngsters. It was the perfect end to a brilliant day!