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.