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Paolo Nutini wows Paisley crowd with stunning homecoming show

Paisley’s homegrown musical megastar Paolo Nutini tonight played a triumphant homecoming charity gig in the stunning setting of the town’s 850-year-old Abbey.

 

 

The eagerly-anticipated and exclusive event was rapturously received by the 550 fans lucky enough to be there – after more than 50,000 entered the ballot for tickets.

The gig was the headline show of Paisley’s annual Spree Festival – this year taking place as the town waits to hear if it will be crowned UK City of Culture 2021 in a few weeks time.

This was Paolo’s only UK gig this year, with favourites including These Streets, Iron Sky and Candy all featuring in the set lasting just over two hours.

Speaking about the show Paolo said: “It was scary biscuits! But I loved it and it’s so good to be home!”

The gig raised in excess of £20,000 for five local charities selected by Paolo himself – the Love Street Singers, Mirren Park School, the Kibble Band, the Sunshine Recovery Cafe, and the town’s Syrian refugee children.

All ticket money will be split between the five good causes – topped up by thousands raised after Paolo ran a prize draw for a meet and greet where fans could enter by text message at £1 a ticket.

Lucky fan Mima Craig from West Lothian met the star before the gig, and enjoyed fish and chips from his parents’ takeaway, Castelvecchi, in the town centre.

The gig also saw 100 tickets made available to Renfrewshire community groups.

Paisley 2021 bid director Jean Cameron said: “Paolo has been a big supporter of his home town’s ambitions – tonight’s gig was an incredible experience in one of our unique venues and showed the world Paisley knows how to host a party.

“Our bid aims to open up world-class cultural programming to every section of our community and tonight Paolo helped us show how great that could be in 2021.”

Paisley is bidding to be UK City of Culture 2021 as part of wider plans to transform the town’s future using its unique story as the home of the world-renowned Paisley Pattern.

The town is the only Scottish place on the final shortlist announced by the UK Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in the summer – alongside Coventry, Stoke, Sunderland and Swansea.

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Paisley set to host Royal National Mòd in 2021 or 2022

Paisley will play host to the Royal National Mòd within the next five years, it has been announced.

MOD Torchlight procession.  All images © Warren Media 2013.

As the town bids to be named UK City of Culture 2021, it was revealed today that it will stage the annual celebration of Gaelic culture that year – if it wins the title, with the Mòd travelling to Perth in 2022.

But if Paisley, which last hosted the prestigious event in 2013, is not named UK City of Culture, one of Paisley or Perth will host in 2021, with the decision made on a point scoring system.

The place which does not host in 2021, will stage the event the following year.

It’s the first time that the Mòd’s organising body, An Comunn Gàidhealach has announced plans for more than a single year, due to the ‘exceptional standard’ of applications by both

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “We are delighted the Mòd is coming back to Paisley and we look forward to working with our friends at An Comunn to deliver another successful event.

“Paisley’s central location, outstanding transport links and proven record as a major event host will make Gaelic culture accessible to new audiences – our last  Mòd in 2013 saw 8,000 people attend over nine days and a great atmosphere.

“The legacy of that was to strengthen Renfrewshire’s commitment to Gaelic language development – we have since invested in arts programming, and our annual Fèis Phàislig music event has reached around 700 schoolchildren so far.

“Should Paisley be named as UK City of Culture in 2021 that year’s Mòd will form part of an international-class cultural programme – but even if we are waiting another year we will be ready to welcome Gaels from across the world, and delighted to do so.”

In the final day of competitions at this year’s Mòd in Locahber, the area choirs were set to compete in the highly anticipated Lovat and Tullibardine Trophy and Margrat Duncan Memorial Trophy at the Nevis Centre.

John Morrison, Chief Executive of An Comunn Gàidhealach said: “The applications to host Mòd 2021 was exceptionally high, and we were particularly impressed by the two bids from Paisley and Perth.

“With each bid offering unique features, we felt it only fair to recognise their strength by offering them both the opportunity to host the Royal National Mòd – one in 2021, and the other in 2022.

“We feel that the chance to host our Royal National Mòd in the UK City of Culture would be too good an opportunity to forego, and we wish our friends in Paisley luck ahead of the final decision on the UK City of Culture title. Equally, we look forward to returning to the lovely city of Perth, in the not too distant future.”

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Artists greet Spree festival goers with colourful large scale art project

Local artists are putting their own stamp on the Spree Festival with a project to decorate the famous Spiegeltent venue.

Sign writers and a graffiti artist are working on a series of hoardings at County Square.

Artists Rachael Millar and Karina Duncan spruce up The Spree with their amazing hand painted signs around the famous Speigletent Paisley Spree 14th October 2017

Rachel Millar, whose signage work has been championed by Paisley star Paolo Nutini , says  it’s one of the biggest scale projects she’s ever worked on.

Rachel, who also created one of the art works which fronted the official documents for the Paisley 2021 UK City of Culture bid, said: “We’ve made great progress.

“The sheer scale of it was quite hard and it was tricky to put up the big massive bits of paper but we hope people will love the end result.”

This year’s artwork was inspired by circus poster from the 1920s and 1930s and the baroque artwork of the wood and canvas Spiegeltent itself.

Festival goers are being greeted by a seven metre sign reading  ‘Welcome to the Spree’ with another massive hoarding is covered in slogans.

Rachel is assisted by fellow sign writers Karina Duncan and Ciaran Globel, while graffiti artist Mark Worst is also decorating another of the hoardings in his signature style.

Mark is behind a series of murals across the town including a Kingfisher at Johnston Street and one of iconic music stars on the side of Paisley rock bar The Bungalow

Fellow artist Kevin Cantwell has also created smaller scale artworks on the High Street and at the Little Book Transfer at Gilmour Street Station.

The artists created the works to mark Paisley’s national festival, which runs until Tuesday October 24.

It takes place as part of the push for the town’s bid to be named the UK City of Culture 2021.

This year features some of the biggest names in the Scottish worlds of entertainment, music and comedy, including a sold-out homecoming show from Paolo Nutini at Paisley Abbey on Friday.

Other acts on the bill include James Grant at Paisley Abbey and singer songwriter Dougie MacLean.

Paisley 2021 Bid Director Jean Cameron said: “It’s wonderful to attract such big names from the national stage to the Spree Festival  as we bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 but it’s also important to give a platform to local artists and creatives too.”

The Spree is taking place in partnership with local bar Burger and Keg and Fosters, who will be programming additional acts in the Burger and Keg Live Tent in Abbey Close during the festival. More info can be found at burgerandkeg.co.uk.

The festival is also supported by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate, and the British Council.

Tickets and info are available from www.thespree.co.uk and from the box office on 0300 300 1210.

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Competition Win Tickets to the Spree Festival Paisley2021 Album launch

One lucky reader can win a pair of tickets for the Paisley 2021 album launch in the Spiegeltent on Monday October 23.

Part of the annual Spree festival, the event from Brick Lane Records features 12 great local acts including Linzi Clark and Christy Scott performing their specially written tracks celebrating the town’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021.

To win, simply answer the question below and email answers to brian@paisley.org.uk

  1. Where does the Paisley Album Launch show take place?    

The Spree Festival runs until October 24 and features a fantastic bill of music, comedy, film, theatre and much, much more packed into various venues across the town.

It comes as Paisley bids to be UK City of Culture 2021, with a decision expected from the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport this December.

For more information and tickets for the Spree go to www.thespree.co.uk or call the box office on 0300 300 1210.

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The Spree Festival Competition Tickets for The Brewband

One lucky reader can win a pair of tickets for the Brewband show at Paisley Town Hall this Friday.

Part of the annual Spree festival, the performance by the Marc Brew Company aims to challenge people’s perceptions of identity, and is as much of a music gig as it is a dance performance.

To win, simply answer the question below and email answers to brian@paisley.org.uk

  1. Where does the Brewband show take place?   

The Spree Festival runs until October 24 and features a fantastic bill of music, comedy, film, theatre and much, much more packed into various venues across the town.

It comes as Paisley bids to be UK City of Culture 2021, with a decision expected from the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport this December.

For more information and tickets for the Spree go to www.thespree.co.uk or call the box office on 0300 300 1210.

 

 

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Frightened Rabbit with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, at Paisley Abbey

Photographs from Frightened Rabbit’s sold out concert with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra at Paisley Abbey, part of Paisley’s National Festival, The Spree.

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Renfrewshire school pupils in unique link up with RSNO as part of Spree festival

Renfrewshire teenagers are tuning up to take part in a unique a link-up with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) which could help them forge a career in the music industry.

Scotland’s national orchestra is staging a two-day Takeover event next week (23/24October) which ends with a special show in Paisley Town Hall as part of the annual Spree festival.

The free concert will include music chosen by Renfrewshire school pupils in advance of Takeover, and will feature works by Handel, Bach, Sir Henry Wood, as well as Greenock-born 19th century composer Hamish McCunn.

Guided by RSNO professionals, around 50 pupils from all 11 Renfrewshire High Schools will work on every aspect of planning and staging the gig.

International-class musicians will mentor their younger counterparts while other pupils will work on marketing, press and PR, as well as fundraising, learning and engagement and stage and orchestra management.

The link-up is taking place as part of Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021. The second stage bid was submitted on September 29th and a decision is expected in December.

Jean Cameron, Paisley 2021 bid director said: “It’s fantastic to be able to give young people opportunities to get involved in cultural activity and all of the benefits that brings.

“As Paisley bids to be UK City of Culture 2021 it also shows that we can bring artists of international repute here for local creative talent to learn from.

“We’re delighted to be working with the RSNO  and the young people really are getting the chance to learn from the best in the business.”

RSNO Head of Learning and Engagement Samantha Wright said it was a delight to allow young people the chance to run one of Scotland’s busiest performing arts organisations.

She added: “Takeover provides a rare and valuable experience to those seeking to pursue a career in the arts, and is intended to be challenging, stimulating and fun. You never know – we may very well have a future RSNO conductor or chief executive among our group.”

The Spree is taking place in partnership with local bar Burger and Keg and Fosters, who will be programming additional acts in the Burger and Keg Live Tent in Abbey Close during the festival. More info at burgerandkeg.co.uk

The festival is also supported by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate, and the British Council.

Tickets and info are available from www.thespree.co.uk and from the box office on 0300 300 1210.

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Paisley’s Spree festival launches with Scottish-Indian concert link-up

The town which gave the world the Paisley Pattern is set to celebrate its close links with India by forging a musical friendship as its flagship The Spree arts festival starts tomorrow (FRIDAY).

Paisley is hosting the Spree for the sixth year, with more than 60 shows taking place over 12 days, as the town waits to hear whether it will be the first Scottish place to become UK City of Culture, in 2021.

Headline acts this year include an eagerly-anticipated homecoming charity show from the town’s musical megastar Paolo Nutini in Paisley Abbey (Oct 20), and a unique collaboration between Frightened Rabbit and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (Oct 16) in the same venue.

And the festival starts tomorrow night with a special Musical Tapestry, celebrating Paisley’s friendship with India through its textile heritage, where three Scottish musicians – piper Ross Ainslie, musician and composer Angus Lyon and singer-songwriter Ross Wilson (aka Blue Rose Code) – team up with Indian counterparts Smita Bellur, Asin Khan Langa and Sawai Khan, for a special collaboration fusing traditional music and instruments from both countries.

The six have just arrived in Scotland after performing the same show last week at the Rajasthan International Folk Festival, with which The Spree has been twinned, thanks to support from the British Council as part of their UK/India Year of Culture 2017.

The Scottish leg will be recorded for BBC Scotland’s Travelling Folk programme and broadcast next Wednesday and is accompanied by a digital tapestry, where school pupils from both countries will work together on an art project to be revealed later in the year.

Some of the participants today met up in the specially-erected Spiegeltent in County Square – which will host tomorrow’s opening concert and the bulk of the Spree action.

Ross Wilson – aka Blue Rose Code – said: “People can expect something genuinely new – we bandy around the terms unique and special but this is a genuine fusion of styles people won’t have heard before.

“As musicians we have been outside our comfort zone but we have learned a lot and really grown together. Last week we performed this show in a 15th-century Indian fort to 3,000 people and the energy was palpable – it couldn’t have been any better.”

Spiegeltent highlights include Yola Carter with Laura Cortese and the Dance Cards (Oct 14), Sharon Shannon with Fara (Oct 15), Dougie MacLean (Oct 18) and Breabach with Kris Drever and Talisk (Oct 20), as well as BBC Radio Scotland’s Janice Forsyth and Vic Galloway shows (Oct 19).

Other musical moments include a Paisley: The Untold Story show with James Grant in Paisley Abbey on Oct 21, while Paisley Arts Centre will host Emma Pollock and RM Hubbert (Oct 15) and a Lost Map Records night hosted by the Pictish Trail (Oct 22).

There will also be two Best of Scottish Comedy nights with the Gilded Balloon, as well as theatre, poetry, film, dance, and a full programme of kids shows during the October school holidays.

Paisley 2021 bid director Jean Cameron said: “The Spree festival is firmly established as a key date in Scotland’s festival calendar and we look forward to welcoming people from across the country for this year’s bill, which is the biggest and best yet, with a range of artforms and some incredible performers

“We are delighted to be welcoming musicians from India to help kick off the packed programme tomorrow night – our UK City of Culture 2021 bid aims to use Paisley’s place as the one-time centre of a global industry to reconnect us to the world and this is a great way to show what that will look like.”

The Spree is taking place in partnership with local bar Burger and Keg and Fosters, who have programmed additional acts in the Burger and Keg Live Tent in Abbey Close during the festival including comedians Rab Florence, Billy Kirkwood and Tom Urie and Janey Godley. More info at burgerandkeg.co.uk

The festival is also accompanied by the Spree For All fringe, which will see gigs taking place in local pubs and venues during The Spree fortnight. More info at thespree.co.uk/spree-for-all

The festival is organised by Renfrewshire Council, programmed by Active Events, and supported by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate, and the British Council.

Stuart Turner, Head of EventScotland, said: “We are delighted to be supporting The Spree, and it is exciting to see such a strong programme showcasing Paisley’s cultural and creative vibrancy, especially as they bid for UK City of Culture 2021.

“In particular, we look forward to this year’s opening concert ‘A Musical Tapestry’, which will provide a fantastic platform for exploring the shared heritage and ties between Paisley and Jodhpur, through a line-up of some of Scotland and India’s best folk and traditional music performers.”

Paisley is the only Scottish place to make the final UK City of Culture 2021 shortlist – alongside Coventry, Stoke, Sunderland and Swansea – with the winner to be announced in December.

The bid is part of a wider drive to transform Paisley’s future using its internationally-significant heritage and cultural story, and thriving events programme.

Spree tickets and info are available from www.thespree.co.uk and from the box office on 0300 300 1210.

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Danny Kyle open stage launches at the Spree Festival

While he was alive, the late Paisley music legend Danny Kyle was a great champion of new talent.

His memory and influence lives on with the Danny Kyle Open Stage at this year’s Spree festival, which offers up and coming musicians the chance to shine.

The free event at the Spiegeltent throughout the 12 day Paisley extravaganza will be broadcast live on Celtic Music Radio 95FM on Liz Clark’s show ‘Travels with my Auntie Liz.’

The top three acts from a total of 15 will compete in a final showcase on Sunday 22nd, with the successful acts offered opportunities including a supporting live stage slot with a more established act and studio time.

Acts taking part this year include Fallen Arches, Rebekah Kirk, The Connections, Bobby Dreams and Lisa Kowalski.

Liz Clark, who was a close friend of Danny’s before his death in 1998, said competition was fierce to perform on the stage, first made famous at Glasgow’s Celtic Connections festival.

She said: “The acts all get a twenty minute slot to strut their stuff. To get on stage people have to be out there gigging and trying to get their foot on the ladder.

“Danny always encouraged people and believed in everyone being given a chance, When he was alive he used to recommend up and coming acts to folk clubs festivals.

“It’s a free event and is always great fun.”

Danny’s son Rikki Kyle says his dad would be delighted with the legacy he left.

He said: “He used to run a ‘Giez a Break’ club at festivals to give new acts a leg up and it’s something he was very proud of. He would love the fact that the open stage is still doing that in his name in his home town. It’s a great legacy to leave.”

The first event runs from 5-6pm on Saturday 14th, followed by Monday 16th-Wedenesday 18th with the final showcase on Sunday 22nd.

Some of the acts will also take part in The Spree for All Festival Club at The Old Swan in Paisley town centre. The open stage event there will run for the duration of the festival and will feature solo acts, jamming sessions and poetry readings with details found daily on the venue’s Facebook page.

Paisley’s national festival runs from Friday 13th October until and takes place as part of the push for the town’s bid to be named the UK City of Culture 2021

This year’s event features some of the biggest names in the Scottish worlds of entertainment, music and comedy, including a sold-out homecoming show from Paolo Nutini.

Other acts on the bill include indie rockers Frightened Rabbit, and singer songwriter  Dougie MacLean .

The Spree is taking place in partnership with local bar Burger and Keg and Fosters, who will be programming additional acts in the Burger and Keg Live Tent in Abbey Close during the festival. More info at burgerandkeg.co.uk

The festival is also supported by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate, and the British Council.

Tickets and info are available from www.thespree.co.uk and from the box office on 0300 300 1210.

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Paisley statues yarn bombed

She was infamous for not being amused but even Queen Victoria would have raised a smile as her statue was one of a string across Paisley to be yarn bombed.

Passers-by stopped in their tracks when they saw the legendary monarch, who stands in Dunn Square, sporting a specially created tartan crinoline skirt and traffic cone crown.

The William Dunn memorial was also dressed and given silver knitted cups to mark the fact it used to be a water fountain.

Robert Tannahill’s statue in Abbey Close also enjoyed a makeover with the town’s famous weaver poet dressed in a knitted scarf with musical notes, waistcoat and gaiters.

A knitted lawn with flowers completed the yarn bombing to mark his catalogue of songs and poems celebrating nature.

The installations are part of the Winter Coats yarn bombing project, where a series of local groups worked with textile artists Ashley Holdsworth and Bex Smith to research historical figures and then create a garment for them.

With the support of the NHS’s Network Services, Capability Scotland, the Phoenix Activity Group, Craft to Recover, Laugh n Craft, the Disability Resource Centre and patients from wards at Dykebar and Leverndale all took part.

Their colourful creations were installed to coincide with the start of Renfrewshire’s contribution to the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival.

The display of street art also saw statues of Sir Peter and Thomas Coats beside Dunn Square dressed in a Paisley pattern kilt and a waistcoat decorated with thread and ribbon to represent the family’s textiles empire and history.

At the town’s Russell Institute, where local children used to receive their inoculations, some of the infant statues were draped with sock teddy bunting. The cuddly toys were crafted to come with miniature slings and walking sticks in recognition of the institute’s child welfare clinic roots.

The town’s other illustrious textile family weren’t forgotten, with George Clark’s statue given a mortar board in honour of his family’s passion for education.

Renowned ornithologist and poet Alexander Wilson’s statue at Abbey Close was yarn bombed with a bird cage and birds.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “The project is a fitting contribution to the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival and shows how the different groups all researched and understood the history of the statues and who they commemorate.

“It’s a great way of shining a light on our unique cultural heritage as we bid to be UK City of Culture for 2021. “

The Winter Coats initiative is part of a wider five year project, Renfrewshire Council’s Paisley Townscape Heritage Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme 2.

It has also received funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic Environment Scotland and has a total budget of £4.5m.

Ten per cent of the funding is allocated to a Cultural and Heritage programme which aims to engage the community in the architectural and textiles heritage of Paisley.

Lucy Casot, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund Scotland said: “Thanks to funds raised through the National Lottery, a new sense of belief and pride in Paisley’s past is growing. Fun projects like this, rooted in the town’s historic past clearly demonstrate the creative spirit alive today.

“We have invested in many projects across the town which have seen historic buildings restored, communities exploring their heritage and also confirmed our latest commitment with initial support for the transformational plans for Paisley’s museum.”

Michael Easson from Historic Environment Scotland, which partly funded the project, said: “It’s exciting to see an innovative and fun new initiative to engage people across myriad backgrounds with their local built environment.

“I hope this brings a wider awareness to the Renfrewshire Mental Health Arts Festival as well as the Historic Environment Scotland supported Paisley TH.CARS2 scheme.”

The practice of yarn bombing is thought to have started in the US by Texas knitters who wanted to find a creative way to use their leftover and unfinished knitting projects. It’s since been adopted across the globe.

A wider network of groups have also been making scarves to tie onto railings which will be donated to the homeless service in Paisley’s Abercorn Street.