Paisley Fireworks 2019

The skies above Paisley Abbey are set to be lit up with a dazzling fireworks display on Saturday 2 November.

Thousands are expected to don hats, scarves and gloves and head into Paisley town centre to watch the beautiful array of catherine wheels, rockets and sparklers on display backed by a soundtrack of popular 90s classic hits.

Paisley Fireworks 2019

Gus from Pulse FM will welcome crowds with music and banter from 6.30pm before the fireworks get underway at 7pm lasting approximately 20 minutes.

Paisley’s winter events programme will continue with the town’s Christmas Lights Switch-On on Saturday 16 November. There will be plenty of Christmas family fun including Christmas Choir concerts, Santa’s Grotto and the chance to meet Santa’s reindeer. Visitors will also be able to enjoy exciting street artists, fantastic performances on the live stage and even head along to the festive roller disco.

The festive fun will also extend across Renfrewshire with Christmas Lights Switch-Ons in Renfrew on Saturday 23 November and Johnstone on Saturday 30 November. The town centre also sees the return of the WinterFest event from 23 November until 30 December, run by Paisley First, featuring an outdoor ice rink, LEGO Paisley Penguin Parade Trail and plenty of festive fun.

For more information about Paisley Fireworks Spectacular, visit: https://paisley.is/featured_event/paisley-fireworks-spectacular/

Paisley Halloween Festival - Big Grey

For the first time, this year’s Paisley Halloween Festival will feature a spooky silent disco where party-goers can show off their best Monster Mash and Thriller dance moves.

Part of the award-winning annual festival, taking place on Friday 25 and Saturday 26 October, the open-air silent disco, delivered by Silent Knights, is a family-friendly activity promising plenty of dancing, DJs, singing and a whole lot of Halloween fun.

Paisley Halloween Festival - Big Grey

Taking place in the heart of the town in Dunn Square, there will be a series of 40-minute sessions for families and festival-goers to head along to over the two-day event. They will be provided with wireless headphones and can select their tunes of choice.

There will also be two relaxed disco slots suitable for those with additional support needs and their families and carers. During these time slots the music will be turned down in the headphones and there will be more room to dance around. These sessions will take place on Friday from 5pm to 5.40pm and Saturday 2pm to 2.40pm. A walk-in Sensory Safe Space will also be available in the POP store in the Piazza Shopping Centre during the festival. This will be a relaxed space specially created for individuals with additional support needs and their carers.

Paisley Halloween Festival - Big Grey

Event DJs will be spinning tracks over three channels from Halloween hits to classic Ibiza dance anthems and pro-dancers will be on hand with classic dance moves that will keep everyone moving all day long.

The festival is being delivered in partnership with acclaimed outdoor theatre specialists, Cirque Bijou. There will be plenty of opportunities for people to join in the fun with a huge range of Halloween-themed activities including the dark circus style Halloween parade, aerial performances, workshops, street theatre and musical performances, scary movie screenings, live stage acts, creepy installations and a Halloween Fun Fair.

Paisley Halloween Festival - Big Grey

Louisa Mahon, Head of Marketing, Communications and Events at Renfrewshire Council, said: “The popular Paisley Halloween Festival is one of the most highly anticipated events in Renfrewshire’s annual calendar. Every year it gets bigger and bolder and this year is no exception.

Paisley Halloween Festival - Big Grey

“The Silent Disco is sure to be another exciting addition to the creative programme, drawing festival-goers right into the heart of Paisley town centre and offering a fantastic, fun, family experience.

“The support of partners like EventScotland has helped us grow our ambitious major events programme and establish the town as one of Scotland’s key cultural destinations in recent years. We look forward to continuing to deliver top class events in Renfrewshire in the future.”

The Paisley Halloween Festival, which was supported in 2018 through the Year of Young People event fund, was awarded £16,950 of National Programme funding from EventScotland part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate for this year’s event.

The Silent Disco is accessible for all abilities and is recommended for ages 4 and over but all ages are welcome. Under 2s do not require a ticket but cannot be provided with headphones.

Tickets are on sale now and cost £5 for adults and £3 for kids (under 14 years old). A family ticket (two adults and two kids) is available for £14. Prices include booking fees.

To book tickets for the Paisley Halloween Festival Silent Disco please visit: www.paisley.is/discover/silentdisco/.  To find out more about the event please visit www.paisley.is/halloween.

Abbey Drain Concert 6.9.19-5415

A Paisley singer songwriter who is inspired by Renfrewshire’s music and culture travelled underground to play in a unique venue.

Abbey Drain Concert 6.9.19-5415

Michael Cassidy has become the first person to ever perform a gig in Paisley’s historic Abbey Drain.

The medieval drain was reopened for tours as part of Doors Open Days (7 and 8 September).

As a prelude to the expeditions, Michael performed a new song, Colour the Darkness, inspired by one of the treasures discovered in the drain – a stone carving of one of the first pieces of polyphonic music.

He said: “I’m so proud to have had the opportunity to perform in such an unusual venue. The Abbey Drain is an iconic part of Paisley and to be able to perform there was just brilliant.

“Kenneth Elliott at the University of Glasgow transcribed the music found on the carving into modern notation and made it possible for me to find the notes that I could use as a stimulus for a new song.

“The lyrics of Colour the Darkness talk about how the drain remained unnoticed for years in the darkness, and that finding out more about what’s underground has added colour to our knowledge of Paisley.

“Paisley has an incredible history of songwriting and it’s easy to be inspired by all the fantastic poets, rockers and artists that Renfrewshire has produced over the years.

“It was a great experience and one that I will never forget.”

Paisley performed two further songs as part of the gig.

Paisley’s Abbey Drain is an ornate underground passageway, around 100m long and believed to be more than 700 years old, which was discovered in the 19th century and rediscovered in the 1990s.

The eight-week Abbey Drain Big Dig – co-ordinated by Renfrewshire Council and led by Guard Archaeology Ltd, with support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Historic Environment Scotland and Renfrewshire Local History Forum – uncovered a 14th century stone archway marking the exact point the drain and its contents once flowed into the River Cart.

Renfrewshire Council leader Cllr Iain Nicolson said: “The Abbey Drain is now a big part of Paisley’s history and heritage, and it’s fantastic that we were able to use it as a music venue before Doors Open Days.

“The Big Dig was a great community project and it captured the attention of people all over Scotland.

“We would like to thank Michael for his involvement and for celebrating our history and heritage in this way.”

Michael has been hosting a programme of songwriting and music workshops with adults and young people, and will also be appearing at Paisley in Song at Paisley Arts Centre on 17 October as part of The Spree.

Abbey Drain Concert 6.9.19-5415

The songwriting programme is funded by the Paisley TH.CARS2 initiative, and The Spree event will be presented in collaboration with Renfrewshire Council, Renfrewshire Leisure and Create Paisley.

For tickets and to find out more, visit https://www.thespree.co.uk/event/paisley-in-song/

Open Doors at Renfrewshire. 8.9.18

Venues all over Renfrewshire are preparing to throw open their doors and invite people to delve deeper into their history.

Doors Open Days – Scotland’s largest free festival that celebrates heritage and the built environment, old and new – takes place this weekend, Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 September.

Open Doors at Renfrewshire. 8.9.18

More than 50 buildings across Renfrewshire – many of which do not normally allow access to what’s going on behind the scenes – will welcome people of all ages, and share interesting stories on Renfrewshire’s history and heritage.

Activities will take place in Paisley, Renfrew, Linwood, Johnstone, Lochwinnoch, Kilbarchan, Bridge of Weir, Houston, Erskine and Inchinnan.

New venues introduced across Renfrewshire this year include – Brediland Allotments, Grow in Glenburn, Fountain Gardens, PACE, Paisley Florist Society Gardening Club, Renfrewshire Witch Hunt Experience, Wellmeadow Bowling Club, Renfrew Association of Growers & Gardeners, Renfrew Police office, Renfrew North Parish Church and Johnstone Credit Union.

A group of intrepid individuals will also be going underground on a tour of Paisley’s medieval Abbey Drain. Places on this year’s tour were decided by a ballot.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of Doors Open Day nationally, with more than 1000 buildings set to open across the country.

Open Doors at Renfrewshire. 8.9.18

Renfrewshire Provost Lorraine Cameron will be visiting a few of the venues on Saturday.

Provost Cameron said: “Doors Open Days is a weekend full of learning and fun and it’s always great to see people of all ages taking part.

“To have more than 50 venues signed up to take part this year is fantastic, and I’m looking forward to hearing interesting stories about our history and heritage that will inform our future.

“Major events like this are great for the local economy as they get people out and about and spending money locally. I hope that people of all ages take time out this weekend to get involved.”

Doors Open Days is coordinated nationally by the Scottish Civic Trust and is part of European Heritage Days supported by Historic Environment Scotland.

Visitors are being encouraged to share their Doors Open Days photos on social media using  #DODSCOT

A full list of venues can be viewed online at https://paisley.is/featured_event/renfrewshire-doors-open-days/

For a look forward to what’s coming up across Renfrewshire visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/events or www.paisley.is

Ope Doors at Renfrewshire. 8.9.18

Intrepid members of the public are being given the chance to experience a piece of medieval archaeology up close in celebration of Renfrewshire’s history and heritage.

Ope Doors at Renfrewshire. 8.9.18

To mark Doors Open Days 2019, experts from Guard Archaeology will lead guided tours of the historic Abbey Drain on Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 September.

Ope Doors at Renfrewshire. 8.9.18

The expedition down the drain follows on from the success of the tours as part of Doors Open Days 2018 – and as places on the tours will be in high demand, spaces will be allocated via a ballot.

The 100m long underground passageway, thought to be more than 700 years old, was unearthed in the 19th century and rediscovered in the 1990s.

This summer, an eight-week excavation – the Big Dig – unearthed a well-preserved 14th century archway marking where and how the drain met the River Cart, around three metres from the banks of the present-day river.

Archaeologists can now pinpoint the end of the drain and the boundary wall of the monastery, which informs what we already know about the infrastructure and layout of medieval Paisley.

The dig was managed by Renfrewshire Council, run by Guard Archaeology with help from Renfrewshire Local History Forum volunteers, and supported by funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic Environment Scotland.

Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron said: “The Abbey Drain tour is a very exciting opportunity for anyone interested in Paisley’s architecture, archaeology and heritage to experience a medieval structure first-hand.

“I’ve been into the inner workings of the drain myself and it was a fascinating experience.

“There will be plenty going on all over Renfrewshire as part of Doors Open Days. I would encourage people of all ages to get out and about across the weekend and support local businesses while learning more about our heritage and culture.”

To be in with a chance of going down the drain, visit https://paisley.is/listing/win-a-tour-of-the-great-medieval-drain-in-paisleys-abbey-close/ and fill out the ballot form. The ballot will close on Friday 23 August.

Tours will run between 10am and 4.30pm on both Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 September.

Participants must be aged 12 or above.

Doors Open Days 2019

From medieval underground structures and buildings steeped in history, to allotments, fire stations and music schools, there will be plenty to celebrate about Renfrewshire at Doors Open Days (link is to 2012 photos enjoy) 2019.

Doors Open Days 2019

On Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 September, venues all over Renfrewshire – many of which do not normally allow access to what’s going on behind the scenes – will throw open their doors and invite people to delve deeper into their history.

Doors Open Days is Scotland’s largest free festival that celebrates heritage and the built environment, old and new. This year marks the 30th anniversary of Doors Open Day nationally, with more than 1000 buildings set to open across the country.

This year in Renfrewshire, more than 50 venues will welcome people of all ages across the weekend.

Many of the old Doors Open Days favourites – including Sma’ Shot Cottages and Paisley Abbey – are getting involved again this year, and a few new venues have stepped up to share their stories.

There will also be the opportunity to see inside Paisley’s medieval Abbey Drain. Look out for more detail on that in the coming weeks.

Renfrewshire Provost Lorraine Cameron is encouraging people of all ages to get involved across the weekend.

Doors Open Days Lamont Farm

Provost Cameron said: “We’re so lucky here in Renfrewshire to have such a fantastic array of beautiful, historic buildings, but we don’t often get the chance to see what goes on behind the scenes.

“Doors Open Days is a great opportunity for people of all ages to find out more about these buildings and to hear stories about our culture and heritage which will help inform our future.

“Venues have organised a brilliant range of activities across the weekend and learning will definitely be fun.

“Major events like this are great for the local economy as they get people out and about and spending money with local traders.

“We should be very proud of our history and heritage here in Renfrewshire and I hope that people of all ages take time out to get involved.”

Activities will be taking place in Paisley, Renfrew, Linwood, Johnstone, Lochwinnoch, Kilbarchan, Bridge of Weir, Houston, Erskine and Inchinnan.

Doors Open Days is coordinated nationally by the Scottish Civic Trust and is part of European Heritage Days supported by Historic Environment Scotland.

A full list of venues can be viewed online at www.paisley.is

For a look forward to what’s coming up across Renfrewshire visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/events or www.paisley.is

big dig 1

We already knew Scotland’s finest and best-preserved medieval tunnel lies buried beneath Paisley town centre – but the centuries-old mystery of where it ended had never been solved…until now.

A team of experts spent the summer excavating at Paisley’s Abbey Drain – and painstakingly uncovered a well-preserved 14th-century stone archway marking the exact point the drain and its contents once flowed into the River Cart.

big dig 1

They found the tunnel – believed to be around 100m long – ends around 3m from the banks of the present-day river, which would have been wider and shallower at the time the drain was built.

And while the find is now being covered up again, the discovery could help lead to a more permanent visitor attraction opening up access to the drain in the future.

The eight-week Abbey Drain Big Dig was co-ordinated by Renfrewshire Council and led by Guard Archaeology Ltd, funded by National Lottery Heritage Fund, Historic Environment Scotland and Renfrewshire Local History Forum.

More than 6,500 people visited the dig over the eight weeks, which also saw a strong community element, with volunteers from the local history forum taking part, and a series of events and seminars for residents and visitors.

Dig leader Bob Will of Guard Archaeology has described the condition of what the team found as ‘incredible’. He said: “We found more than I was expecting and it is really exciting.

big dig 1

“We found the end of the drain and what was the boundary wall of the monastery. The river was wider and shallower in those days – much more than in the last couple of hundred years, as the walls now surrounding it are artificial.

“The main parts of the drain date back to the mid-14th-century and are incredibly well preserved. It goes as least as far as the road in front of Renfrewshire House.

“Often these types of drains are in rural areas not urban ones where there will have been pressure on the land above it – but considering the amount of buildings on that site over the centuries, the condition of the drain is quite incredible.”

The Abbey Drain has lain hidden for centuries until it was unexpectedly rediscovered in the 19th century, and in recent years, it has been periodically opened up for visitors.

There will be an opportunity for the public to put their names forward for a ballot to go inside it during this year’s Doors Open Day in September.

big dig 1

And Bob believes the finds of the past few weeks could help the development of a more permanent attraction opening up a greater degree of public access to the drain.

He said: “What we have uncovered has helped us see what could be done with any future excavation. We now know much more about the medieval ground levels and have a good idea where some of the monastery buildings were.

“Ideally there would be more permanent access to the drain at some point in the future and what we’ve uncovered here makes that much more feasible.”

Renfrewshire Council leader Iain Nicolson added: “Paisley is already on the map as a key visitor destination within Scotland and we are already delivering on ambitious plans to use our unique heritage to drive new footfall to the town centre.

“We would be keen to explore any opportunities to build on that by opening up more permanent access to the Abbey Drain at some point in the future – and the findings of the Big Dig mean we now know more than ever about this incredible feature beneath the town centre.

“The Big Dig was a really great community project which has created a lot of interest in Paisley town centre and its history over the past couple of months.

“We would like to thank our funders for helping make it happen, and all who have been involved in the projects – particularly the local volunteers who came out in all weathers to take part.”

Over the course of the Big Dig, the following community benefits were delivered:

– 120 Primary school children from across Renfrewshire visited the Big Dig to learn about their local heritage and archaeology;

– 1,200 hours of volunteer time, and 18 new members for Renfrewshire Local History Forum

– 12 archaeology students gained vocational training as part of their degree, and four Masters students from UWS produced video content;

paisley haloween parade 2020
Renfrewshire community groups are being invited to take centre stage at Paisley’s Halloween Festival…by joining the spooktacular parade.

paisley haloween parade 2020

The award-winning festival – the biggest of its kind in Scotland and one of the UK’s must-see Halloween events – will take over Paisley town centre on Friday 25 and Saturday 26 October.

The event – run by Renfrewshire Council – is being supported by EventScotland as part of their National Programme funding, which will allow an extended programme of outdoor performances.

Last year’s festival was the biggest yet – with 34,000 visitors to Paisley and worth more than £1.9m to the local economy.

paisley haloween parade 2020

This year’s event will have a theme of ‘dark circus’ – with the parade co-ordinated by internationally-acclaimed performance specialists Cirque Bijou, who want school and community groups to work with them in the run-up to the event and take part in the parade on the day.

They are looking for people to take part in carnival workshops and street theatre, dance and musical performances. Any interested groups should contact events@renfrewshire.gov.uk

Julian Bracey, artistic director of Cirque Bijou, said: “We are really excited to be part of this year’s celebrations. We have some amazing workshop leaders and are looking for local schools, groups and individuals to work with to make this years festival the spookiest yet.”

Louisa Mahon, Renfrewshire Council’s head of marketing, communications and events, said: “We are proud of how our Halloween Festival has grown to become the biggest of its kind in Scotland and an event with UK-wide profile.

“But we are also proud of the way it allows the many talented community and youth groups in Renfrewshire to work with and be inspired by artists of national standing. Our local groups will love working with the talented team at Cirque Bijou and help make this year’s parade as colourful and lively a spectacle as ever.”

The full programme for this year’s festival is currently being finalised and will be announced in August – along with changes to the event site for this year.

The Halloween Festival is one of the top dates within Renfrewshire’s major events programme, which brought 160,000 attendees and a £4.7m economic impact into the area in 2018 alone.

For more information on Halloween and all local events, see www.paisley.is

andy campbell

Andy Campbell has received an Honorary Doctorate from University of the West of Scotland (UWS) at its Paisley graduation ceremony (Wednesday 3rd July 2019) held at Paisley Abbey.

The Paisley born businessman has a wealth of experience in business start-ups and scale-ups spanning his 20-plus year career during which time he has concluded over £25m in international contracts, secured £2m in venture capital, and been responsible for the strategic vision, creation and management of several creative IT businesses, specifically within the Video Games sector.

andy campbell

Presently, Andy heads up the Accelerator Division for Elevator, a social enterprise at the heart of Scotland’s entrepreneurial ecosystem which supports start-ups, scale-ups and entrepreneurs. He has been instrumental in the creation of a Centre for Entrepreneurship in both Aberdeen and Dundee, as well as the formation of a Creative Accelerator Programme in Perth, a new programme in the Highlands & Islands and the ‘Global Domination’ Accelerator aimed at internationalisation of Scotland’s digital media and Video Game Sector.

A big ambassador of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), he works tirelessly to inspire future generations of Scientists and Engineers, and also consults as European Commercial Director for the International Space School Educational Trust (ISSET). The UK registered charity uses space to inspire and motivate young people to believe they can become whatever they want to be.

Andy was instrumental in bringing the ISSET Mission Discovery programme for schools to Paisley, which UWS hosted last month. Here, school children had the chance to work with astronauts, rocket scientists and NASA leaders to design an experiment to be launched into space and carried out by Astronauts on the International Space Station. As part of this, NASA astronaut, Dr Michael Foale (CBE), the most experienced British-born astronaut in the history of human spaceflight, gave a lecture to UWS staff, students and members of the public.

Andy is also a champion of his hometown and is a Founding Trustee of the Paisley Community Trust which aims to deliver community focused economic regeneration in the town.

Commenting on his Honorary Doctorate from UWS, Andy Campbell said: “The world truly is a wonderful place, filled with beauty, intelligence and opportunity. On spaceship Earth there are no passengers, only crew. As earth hurtles through the universe, I work away each day with the simple hope of assisting my fellow crew. I hope they can discover, explore, pioneer and learn. Fulfilling their potential whilst leaving a positive legacy behind. Allowing the next generation to stand on our and their shoulders to reach even greater heights.

“It is with this principle and ethos that I do what I do. Therefore, I am both honoured and humbled to be recognised and awarded with an Honorary Doctorate from the University of the West of Scotland.”

Andy Campbell – Elevator

craig-mahoney-and-andy-campbell-2

Professor Craig Mahoney Principal and Vice-Chancellor, UWS said: “Andy is a hugely inspiring individual with deep roots in Paisley and so it is with great pride we have presented him with an Honorary Doctorate from UWS.”

“His entrepreneurial spirit and business acumen make him an inspiring role model for our students and his efforts to champion STEM aligns closely with our own ambitions as a university.”

UWS Principal Prof Craig Mahoney

Professor Gary McEwan, CEO of Elevator, said: “Having worked with Andy for more than two decades, I couldn’t think of a more deserving individual for this title. Throughout our working relationship we have weathered a few business storms; however, Andy’s entrepreneurial mindset, ambition and drive have played an instrumental role in seeing us come out on top every time.

“Elevator prides itself on creating and nurturing an entrepreneurial society. Andy’s ethos mirrors this and I know that he will work tirelessly alongside our dedicated team to see us achieve our goals. Personally, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate, not only a hugely respected member of our team, but an old friend too.

Andy received his Honorary Doctorate at a ceremony alongside 189 graduates of UWS’ School of Media, Culture and Society.

sma shot day 2019

The Sma’ Shot celebration always takes place on the first Saturday in July – to mark the time of year when the weavers and their families would traditionally take their holidays.

This year will be no different – everyone is invited to join the annual party this Saturday 6 July from 12 noon to 5pm. And with almost 50 events taking place across 20 different venues, this year’s celebration promises to be the best yet!

sma shot day 2019

Festivities will get underway at noon as the colourful parade leaves Brodie Park, heading for Paisley Arts Centre led by the tuck of the Charleston Drum. The parade this year will feature local groups, performers, spectacular floats and giant puppets, all co-ordinated by parade specialists Bridgeman Arts.

2019 will also see Sma’ Shot Day return to its roots, quite literally, by moving to the streets around the historic Sma’ Shot Cottages in Paisley’s town centre; with Shuttle Street, New Street, Witherspoon Street and Brown’s Lane all set to come alive with music, theatre, poetry, crafts and lots of family-friendly activities.

sma shot day 2019

Amongst these activities there will of course be the Burning of the Cork (1.20pm within the grounds of Paisley Arts Centre) which sees the ‘Corks’ – the middlemen between the owners and the weavers – meet their fate at the hands of the working weavers in spectacular fashion. Right2Dance will deliver a short pre-Burning of the Cork performance with live music in front of Paisley Arts Centre at 1.15pm.

sma shot day 2019

Plus, there will be lots of opportunities to learn a new craft at a series of artists workshops taking place all over Paisley. Follow the Creative Craft Trail for mural painting, jewellery making, embroidery and loads more.

The Sma’ Shot Cottages will also be open 12 noon til 5pm for your chance to see what life was really like for the weavers in the 19th century. Catch a guided tour and watch live weaving demonstrations with Paisley Museum’s textiles expert, Dan Coughlan. We also recommend a trip to Paisley Thread Mill Museum to complete your weaving experience on the industry’s most celebrated day of the year.

Download the Paisley.is handy event map and start planning your day!