Paisley Halloween Parade 2018 and flying witches

Paisley Halloween Festival has been named Best Cultural Event or Festival at the Scottish Thistle Awards 2019/2020 National Final.

Organised by VisitScotland, the prestigious awards celebrate innovation, excellence and success in the Scottish tourism sector.

Paisley Halloween Parade 2018 and flying witches

Paisley Halloween Parade 2018 and flying witches

The popular event in Renfrewshire Council’s annual calendar picked up the National Award for its 2018 festival, which saw crowds of over 34,000 people flock to the town across two days to enjoy a bumper programme of spectacular aerial performances, thrilling live acts and a Mardi-Gras style parade with more than 500 costumed performers.

Inspired by the town’s dark and deathly 17th century witch history, the enhanced theme of ‘Something Wicked this Way Comes’ thrilled visitors from all over Scotland.

Judges were impressed with the seasonality of the event and the growth that it has seen in recent years. They also praised event organisers for their engagement with young people and the community.

Paisley Halloween Festival (002)

Picture Copyright Chris Watt
Tel – 07887 554 193
info@chriswatt.com
www.chriswatt.com
Twitter: @chriswattphoto
Instagram: chriswattphotography

The festival was a highlight of VisitScotland’s Year of Young People 2018 celebrations, with young people at the heart of the festival’s development and delivery.

A 20-strong Youth Panel worked alongside Renfrewshire Council’s Events Team to design and deliver the programme, while more than 500 young people took part in a new creative learning programme. This provided young people with the opportunity to participate in all aspects of festival from performance to live event management and technical production.

 

Paisley Halloween Parade 2018 and flying witches

Paisley Halloween Parade 2018 and flying witches

The Scottish Thistle Awards is based on five regional programmes with the winners of each progressing to the National Final.

Paisley Halloween Festival was among 15 winners in the regional finals for the West in November – which included businesses and individuals from Greater Glasgow & The Clyde Valley, Ayrshire & Arran, Dumfries & Galloway and Argyll & Bute.

The National Final took place at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre last night (5 March), and saw 18 individuals, businesses and events honoured for their contribution to the tourism sector.

Louisa Mahon, Renfrewshire Council’s Head of Communications, Marketing and Events, said: “We are absolutely thrilled that Paisley Halloween Festival has won Best Festival in Scotland at the Scottish Thistle Awards. We were in a category with some of Scotland’s most amazing cultural events and are delighted to be keeping company with them. Well done to everyone.

Paisley Halloween Parade 2018 and flying witches

Paisley Halloween Parade 2018 and flying witches

“Paisley Halloween is one of the most highly anticipated events in our calendar – and is now regarded as one of the biggest and best of its kind in the UK.

“Winning this award continues to put Paisley on the map as a great place to visit and experience world class cultural events – and we look forward to continuing to welcome even more people to Paisley to enjoy.”

VisitScotland Regional Leadership Director Gordon Smith, said: “Congratulations to everyone at Renfrewshire Council on winning the national Scottish Thistle Award for Best Cultural Event or Festival. This is a fantastic achievement for Paisley Halloween Festival which has become one of the most anticipated events in the region’s calendars which has gone from strength to strength in recent years.

“The Scottish Thistle Awards give businesses and individuals working within tourism in Scotland the opportunity to earn the recognition and appreciation they deserve from their own industry peers.

“The impact of tourism goes far beyond the holiday experience. It is vital to the Scottish economy, reaching every corner of the country, creating jobs and bringing economic and social change.”

The Scottish Thistle Award marks another celebration for the Paisley Halloween Festival after it won Best Festival or Outdoor Event at the EventIt E Awards in June 2019.

The Paisley Halloween Festival is organised by Renfrewshire Council and the 2018 event was supported by the Year of Young People 2018 event fund managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.

To find out more about the Paisley Halloween Festival, visit: https://paisley.is/featured_event/halloween/

For more information on the Scottish Thistle Awards, visit: https://www.scottishthistleawards.co.uk/

Paisley Halloween Festival

Paisley’s popular Halloween and Spree 2019 festivals delivered a £1.2million economic boost to Renfrewshire.

That’s according to the findings of independent assessments into the two October events, which also showed record numbers of people attended the festivals in 2019.

Paisley Halloween Festival

One of the largest events of its kind in the UK, the Dark Circus themed Paisley Halloween Festival attracted 41,000 people across the two-days – up 17% on 2018. The event was delivered alongside internationally-acclaimed outdoor theatre specialists, Cirque Bijou.

More than 350 costumed performers and community groups took part in the Mardi Gras style parade, the centrepiece of the festival, which wound its way through the town centre. The parade also featured fantastic, giant lion and elephant floats, ferocious fire performers, creepy clowns and curious creatures, to delight the gathered crowds.

Gerry Rafferty Song Book

Twenty six percent of attendees to the Halloween festival were from outside Renfrewshire demonstrating the popularity and stellar programme of the free, family-friendly activities on offer.

The Paisley Halloween Festival was awarded £16,950 of National Programme funding from EventScotland for the 2019 event.

Brickz4kids

The festival delivered £824,250 to the local economy with local businesses benefiting from the high number of visitors in the town that weekend.

Paisley Halloween Festival scooped the Best Cultural Event or Festival at the 2019/20 Scottish Thistle Awards West Scotland regional finals and will now go on to compete in the prestigious national final on March 5, 2020.

Glasvagas

The Spree also delivered impressive results for the area. More than 12,000 festival-goers turned out to enjoy the diverse range of acts in the stunning Salon Perdu Spiegeltent in Paisley’s County Square – allowing for more people to enjoy the performances.

The numbers also add up, with a £411,000 total economic boost from the 10-day music, arts and cultural festival.

Paisley Halloween Festival

The Spree 2019 saw record ticket sales with music and comedy fans being treated to sell-out shows from Hue and Cry, Glasvegas, The Snuts, Jerry Sadowitz and spectacular performances from Soul legend PP Arnold, Hayseed Dixie, Super Furry Animals frontman Gruff Rhys, Karine Polwart’s Scottish Songbook and two Friday comedy nights compered by Fred MacAulay and Scott Gibson.

The festival was programmed by Regular Music and sponsored by Tennent’s Lager.

There was also a packed Wee Spree programme for kids during the school holidays with 2,822 people heading along to enjoy the events – the highest number of attendees on record for the event.

The festival also provided a boost to local traders with many festival-goers choosing to Spend Local and sample the great bars, restaurants and cafes in the area.

Jacqueline McCaig, owner of The Old Swan Inn which hosted the Spree Festival Club of daily events during the festival, said: “We absolutely loved hosting the Spree Festival Club at The Old Swan – it was a fantastic week of live music. The pub was really busy with a great atmosphere and a great mix of customers old and new, who came to see what the Festival Club was all about and enjoy the variety of talent we had on show.”

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “It was phenomenal to see such great numbers coming along to Paisley’s Halloween Festival and to Spree and now this report shows the positive impact these major events have on the local economy and local businesses.

“We’re continuing to work with partners to offer a fantastic calendar of events to attract residents and visitors from across Scotland and the rest of the UK.

“Renfrewshire has so much to offer and major events are an important part of our plans to use our culture and heritage to drive footfall and cement our status as one of Scotland’s top visitor destination.”

Paisley-First-Haloween-Sculpture-Trail-FACEBOOK-COVER-Christmas-2019-07-10-19

If you are heading to Paisley’s Halloween Festival this weekend, don’t forget to check out the town centre’s Halloween Sculptures. 

You may have already seen the fantastic animal sculptures dotted around the town centre this year, but have you seen them dressed for Halloween yet? 

Paisley-First-Haloween-Sculpture-Trail-FACEBOOK-COVER-Christmas-2019-07-10-19

To celebrate Paisley’s Halloween Festival, these sculptures made from recycled materials have been transformed into witches, ghouls and a pumpkin to name just a few. 

Their new outfits have also been created with recycled materials, all with a resin coating to make them waterproof. 

Created by local artist Kevin Cantwell, there are seven stunning sculptures including a unicorn, highland cow and a heron but you will need to visit them during October in Paisley town centre to see how they have been transformed! 

Our visitors are dotted around the town and are available on a new Halloween trail map for those wishing to find all of these unique sculptures. Pick up your leaflet from either the Piazza Shopping Centre or the Paisley Centre today! 

Paisley-First-Golden-Ticket-FACEBOOK-COVER-Christmas-2019-26-09-19

Plus pick up a Golden Ticket and you could win £500 towards your Christmas shopping! 

We have £500 each of Paisley town centre gift vouchers up for grabs for four lucky winners in the run up to the festive season with our Christmas Golden Ticket Competition! 

Receive a Golden Ticket with every purchase in Paisley town centre, post it in one of our Golden Post-boxes in the Piazza Shopping Centre Paisley and The Paisley Centre and you could be one of our lucky winners! 

Around 65p from every pound spent locally, stays local – so by picking up that coffee, going for lunch or buying that gift, you can do your bit to support the local community and its businesses. 

Golden Tickets are available now in Paisley town centre businesses with our draws taking place on 23rd and 30th November and 7th and 14th December, just the thing to help you with your Christmas shopping! 

Just one of the perks of shopping and socialising in Paisley town centre this Winter! Good Luck!

Halloween_Map_1540x1026

Paisley’s annual Halloween Festival returns on Friday 25 and Saturday 26 October with a Dark Circus theme for 2019 promising plenty of chills and thrills for visitors.

Halloween_Map_1540x1026

One of the largest festivals of its kind in the UK, this year’s event promises to be the biggest and best yet with internationally acclaimed outdoor theatre specialists, Cirque Bijou, helping to transform the entire town centre into the perfect Halloween playground.

Paisley Halloween Festival - Big Grey

The two-day spectacular, which routinely attracts tens of thousands to the town, will serve up a whole host of frighteningly fun, free activities for everyone to enjoy with the entire town serving as the stage.

The main spectacle of the festival is the carnival-style Halloween Parade which takes place on the Saturday and will see more than 300 costumed performers and community groups led through the town by the sinister Svengali ringmaster. The parade has a new, extended route for 2019 taking over the entire town centre and will boast magnificent floats and ferocious fire performers, creepy clowns and curious creatures, along to thrilling live music.

Immediately following the parade, no matter where visitors are positioned around the town centre, there will be something to see or experience as a series of live acts and activities will restart.

Aerial artists, All or Nothing, will also perform their death-defying act ‘Into the Dark’, which will see the artists circle and swirl around the haunted carousel over the grounds of the town’s iconic Abbey.

Paisley Halloween Festival - Big Grey

A new addition to this year’s festival is the ticketed spooky silent disco. Held in the heart of the town the disco is sure to deliver plenty of dancing, singing and Halloween fun for all the family.

The weekend will offer plenty of opportunities to join in the fun with a range of family-focussed Halloween-themed arts and crafts activities and workshops including pumpkin carving. Street theatre acts and walkabout performances will pop up around the town centre featuring the likes of the Spark LED Drummers and Mr Wilson’s Second Liners as well as acrobatic and hula hoop artists. There will also be a creative craft trail in a number of local cafes where visitors can do everything from building a bug to creating their very own gargoyle from clay.

Louisa Mahon, Head of Marketing, Communications and Events at Renfrewshire Council, said: “The annual Paisley Halloween Festival is always a highlight in our events calendar. Our increasingly ambitious programme attracts thousands of visitors each year and is now regarded as one of the best events of its kind in the UK.

Paisley Halloween Festival - Big Grey

“The festival has really cemented the town’s position as a key destination for visitors and is great for the local economy, with last year’s event worth more than £1.9m to the town and attracting 34,000 people. This year we aim to attract even more visitors to enjoy fabulous performances taking place across the town from high wire acts to the spectacular parade, and to sample our great selection of cafes, restaurants and shops.”

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 for this year’s event.

Paul Bush OBE, Director of Events at VisitScotland, said: “The Paisley Halloween Festival continues to go from strength to strength and it is hugely exciting to see it sporting its biggest ever programme for 2019. This year’s exciting and innovative programme will no doubt engage audiences of all ages with aerial performances, arts & crafts activities, outdoor street theatre and the stunning Halloween Parade. Scotland is the perfect stage for cultural events and the festival is a great boost for Paisley, drawing thousands of visitors and locals alike to the town centre to enjoy this spectacular annual celebration.”

To find out more about Paisley Halloween Festival please visit www.paisley.is/halloween

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/

DIRTY FEET DANCE CO

Laura Forbes had never fully been out of her wheelchair before participating in aerial workshops as part of this year’s Paisley Halloween Festival, but next week she will perform 100ft in the air in front of Paisley’s iconic Abbey alongside her Dirty Feet Dance Company family.

The Paisley-based Dirty Feet Dance Company aims to create opportunities for disabled and non-disabled people and carers to enjoy, express and fulfil their potential through dance. They have been working with professional performers from Scotland’s leading aerial dance company All or Nothing, on the ‘Into the Dark’ show which is taking place as part of this year’s Paisley Halloween Festival on Friday 25 and Saturday 26 October.

DIRTY FEET DANCE CO

During the workshops the group have been given the opportunity to take to the sky in special aerial harnesses to allow them to express themselves in the air.

Laura Forbes (40), joined Dirty Feet Dance Company in 2013 and this is the first time she has tried anything like this. She said: “I’ve never been fully out of the wheelchair before, when I get lifted in the harness it’s an amazing feeling, it’s freedom.

“Before I first went up in the air I was scared but after the first time in the harness I just loved it. It gives me a total sense of freedom out of my wheelchair. If there’s something I’ve learned from this experience it’s that I won’t let being scared stop me from trying something new.”

“I can’t wait for us all to perform at next week’s festival. When we all come together we can do anything and achieve anything – we’re all like family.”

DIRTY FEET DANCE CO

Clare Easdon (37) has been a member of the group since 2006. She said: “It feels amazing when you’re up in the air. I know I’m a wheelchair user but I don’t feel disabled when I’m up there. Being part of Dirty Feet Dance Company lets me try new experiences – this is the first time I’ve ever done aerial and I love it. I think it’s amazing what we’re able to do as wheelchair users.”

During the workshops the performers are able to use either a full body or sitting harness attached to a pully rope system to give them the opportunity to see how their bodies react in the air.

Ruth Foster, Co-director of Dirty Feet Dance Company, said: “It gives the performers a real sense of weightlessness and allows them the chance to explore their range of motion in a new platform and artform which has been a great experience for everyone.

“It’s within their power how high to go. They can stay a few feet off the ground or can ascend all the way up to the ceiling. They are in complete control of their movements in the air.”

Marie Williamson, aerial instructor and performer at All or Nothing, said: “The system we use gives them the opportunity to stretch out and discover their movement for themselves.

“From my point of view it’s an incredible thing to be part of – what I can see them get from it is fantastic. They all have such great characters and a real ‘do it’ attitude. They are very determined to show what they can do. I think people will be surprised by what they’ll see.”

This is one of a series of workshops taking place as part of the Paisley Halloween Festival pairing professional performance companies with local community groups to give them the opportunity to learn new skills and be involved in the town’s major events programme.

The award-winning Paisley Halloween Festival is widely regarded as one of the best events of its kind in the UK. This year’s event takes on a Dark Circus theme and promises to be the biggest yet with internationally acclaimed outdoor theatre specialists, Cirque Bijou, helping to deliver an extended programme of performances to thrill, chill and enthral.

In addition to the daring aerial performances visitors will be captivated by the mass costumed parade through Scotland’s largest town featuring giant animated puppets, frightening floats and a cast of spooky circus characters. There will also be bizarre street theatrics, a ticketed silent disco and a fantastic array of family-friendly activities taking place in locations throughout the town centre over the two-day event.

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 for this year’s event.

Paisley Halloween Festival - Big Grey

Paisley Halloween Festival returns for its biggest year yet – and for the first time ever the entire town centre will be the stage!

The Dark Circus rolls into Paisley on Friday 25 and Saturday 26 October 2019 with internationally acclaimed outdoor theatre specialists, Cirque Bijou, helping to transform the town into the perfect Halloween playground.

Paisley Halloween Festival - Big Grey

The free two-day spectacular, one of the largest festivals of its kind in the UK which routinely attracts tens of thousands to the town, will cover everywhere from Bridge Street and County Square to the Coats Memorial Church and Shuttle Street, serving up creepy characters and frightening fun at every turn.

The main spectacle of the festival is the carnival-style Halloween Parade which takes place on the Saturday and will have an extended route for 2019. More than 300 costumed performers including local groups, voodoo acrobats, fire performers and curious creatures, jinxed jugglers and magnificent floats will be led through the town by the sinister Svengali ringmaster to thrilling live music, offering plenty of frights and delights along the way. Don’t miss the Dark Circus Stage on Gauze Street where the ringmaster will be conjuring up spectacular acts from his troupe of possessed performers.

The Saturday will see aerial artists, All or Nothing, perform their death-defying act ‘Into the Dark’ where professional artists will be joined by local performers who will circle and swirl around the haunted carousel suspended over the grounds of the town’s iconic Abbey. While international fire theatre company, PyroCeltica, will bring their unique performance to the Coats Memorial Church to delight the crowds.

New to the festival this year is the addition of the ticketed spooky silent disco. Held in Dunn Square in the heart of the town, the disco is sure to deliver plenty of dancing, singing and Halloween fun for all the family. DJs will play a range of floorfillers to the masses covering everything from Halloween favourites to the best of Indie disco, pop and dance classics – making sure everyone gets into the party mood.

The weekend will offer plenty of opportunities to join in the fun with a range of family-focussed Halloween-themed arts and crafts activities and workshops including pumpkin carving. Street theatre acts and walkabout performances will pop up around the town centre featuring the likes of the Spark LED Drummers and Mr Wilson’s Second Liners as well as acrobatic, high-wire walking and hula hoop artists.

There will also be scary movie screenings at Paisley Arts Centre, costume making with sustainable fashion experts Re:Mode, terrifying tales with Village Storytelling Centre and a Halloween Fun Fair.

Julian Bracey, Artistic Director at Cirque Bijou, said: “We are delighted to be working on this year’s Paisley Halloween Festival and to be involved in an event so strongly rooted in the town. We’ve been sourcing the best local talent and working closely with community groups from across Paisley who we’ll be putting centre stage in our Dark Circus parade alongside some of our fantastic professional performers.

“Cirque Bijou specialise in creating unforgettable and exquisitely crafted shows and Paisley Halloween Festival will be no different. We’ll be pulling every trick (and treat!) out of the bag to make this year the most spooktacular yet and we can’t wait to show you what we’ve got in store.”

Louisa Mahon, Head of Marketing, Communications and Events at Renfrewshire Council, said: “Paisley Halloween Festival is one of the most highly anticipated events in our calendar. Its stellar programme attracts thousands of visitors from across Scotland and beyond each year and is now regarded as one of the best events of its kind in the UK.

“The festival has grown larger each year and this year will see our most ambitious and creative production yet as the entire town will become a circus stage, for professional and community performers to enthral the crowds.

“Events like this are not just great for visitors but for the local economy. Last year’s event was worth more than £1.9m to the local economy as the festival hosted 34,000 people who enjoyed the fantastic parade and captivating performances. This year we aim to attract even more visitors to the town and encourage them to spend local.

“Paisley’s programme of major events has made the town one of Scotland’s key cultural destinations in recent years – and we look forward to building on that national platform with the support of our creative partners like EventScotland who continue to work with us to make this event as successful as possible.”

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 Event Scotland for this year’s event.

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said: “EventScotland is delighted to be supporting the Paisley Halloween Festival through its National Events Programme. The festival was a huge success in 2018 as part of the Year of Young People programme, creating opportunities for the town’s young people to be involved in the co-creation of the event while also driving significant economic impact for the local area.

“It is great to see the festival building on this legacy and delivering its biggest programme yet, with aerial performances, workshops, silent disco and the showpiece Halloween Parade, with the exciting addition of Cirque Bijou’s dark circus set to capture the imaginations of both locals and visitors alike.”

To find out more about Paisley Halloween Festival and other events please visit www.paisley.is/halloween