Organisers have hailed this year’s The Spree festival as “our biggest and best” as figures show the 2018 edition of the popular event was the best-attended yet.
The festival, organised by Renfrewshire Council, had its seventh outing from 12-21 October.
Music fans were treated to a spectacular show from Motown legend Martha Reeves and an intimate question-and-answer session with Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi – both in Paisley Town Hall – as well as a series of hugely-popular gigs in the fantastic Spiegeltent, located in County Square during the festival.
A ‘wee Spree’ programme of activities for kids was timed to coincide with the school holidays and saw youngsters enjoy everything from comedy to computer coding. A festival highlight saw the National Theatre of Scotland take a theatre-in-a-truck performance across Renfrewshire each day of the festival.
The Spree for All fringe programme was extended this year to take in events in Renfrew, Johnstone, Linwood and Lochwinnoch. In Paisley, the Danny Kyle Stage in honour of the local singer-songwriter was hosted by The Old Swan Inn for the first time.
In total, estimates show almost 11,000 attendances at The Spree – the most yet in the festival’s seven-year run – and the highest ticket sale figures recorded, with several shows completely sold out.
Louisa Mahon, head of Renfrewshire Council’s events, marketing and communication team, said: “We had 87 shows taking place in 17 different venues across five towns and villages over 10 days – so it was definitely our biggest yet, and looking at our various indicators, also our best.”
“The Spree is a fantastic opportunity each year to showcase Paisley and Renfrewshire to visitors. We know from ticket-buying information we already have that people travelled from as far as Dublin and Barcelona to see their favourite singers and bands. Visits such as these generate new spend in Renfrewshire’s economy and local businesses can benefit from that spend.”
“We will be researching the impact of the festival in more detail, but the early signs are that another successful staging of The Spree has been a huge boost to the area.”
Jacqueline McCaig, owner of The Old Swan Inn which hosted the Danny Kyle Stage, added: “What a great week we had for the Danny Kyle Stage at The Old Swan. Our customers thoroughly enjoyed it – it was a fantastic atmosphere all week with outstanding talent from far and wide.”
Renfrewshire Council’s events programme will continue with Christmas lights switch-on events in Paisley (Saturday 17 November), Renfrew (Saturday 24 November) and Johnstone (Saturday 1 December). More details of all these events are available online at www.paisley.is.