The Spree Festival

A show by one of Scotland’s top musicians is attracting international interest to a new Paisley festival.

And such has been the interest in the performance by Roddy Frame that ticket buyers from Houston, Renfrewshire, to Houston, Texas, have made the show a sell-out.

The show, in Paisley Abbey on October 27, will be one of the highlights of The Spree, Paisley’s national festival, which takes place from 25-28 October.

Organisers of the inaugural festival, which also features a range of music and comedy acts, are delighted at the response to the Roddy Frame performance which has also attracted gig-goers from Germany and Japan, as well as across the UK and Ireland.

“It’s brilliant to be part of this new festival and to learn that so many fans are willing to travel so far to see the show,” said Roddy Frame.  “I’m also looking forward to performing in a working abbey – that will be a first!”

Lisa Whytock, who is programming the Spree, said:  “We are really excited to see that news of The Spree has spread so quickly across the world.”

The concert goers from Houston in Scotland and Houston in the USA are both long-standing Roddy Frame fans.

Scott MacKay from Houston, Renfrewshire, said: “I was delighted to learn of The Spree festival in Paisley as I have travelled to gigs and festivals all over the UK and it is brilliant to see this level of talent on my doorstep.

“I have also seen Roddy Frame on three previous occasions and it is great that he is coming to see me this time rather than me travelling far to see him.”

Jeffrey Barlow, from Houston, Texas, said:

“Since my first chance to see Roddy perform live (in London, 2002) I’ve tried to attend as many shows as I can. For me The Spree is worth a trip ‘across the pond’ to enjoy the energy, passion, and genius he delivers when performing live.

“This will be my fifth trip to the UK, and eighth live show to see Roddy.

“I saw his concert in Glasgow at the Old Fruit Market in 2006 and have wanted to return to Glasgow since then.  Another reason for making the trip is that my birthday falls on 28 October, so for me this all too rare live show from Roddy is like a birthday gift.”

The four venues to host the events include a specially erected Spiegeltent at County Square, Paisley Abbey, Wynd Centre and Paisley Arts Centre. Roddy Frame’s concert will be held in Paisley Abbey.

Tickets are now on sale for the festival and can be bought through Ticket Scotland and Renfrewshire Council’s box office- /

Two Rivers Music Festival this Saturday the 4th August in County Square 12pm – 8pm. (see Poster for details)


Keep coming back for more info

The race is on! 10k winners announced as event gets closer

With three weeks to go until the Paisley Vision 10k and Fun Run, eight lucky winners have snapped up free registration to the major sporting event.

Event sponsors MEPC Hillington Park made the winning draw and Councillor Iain McMillan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Community and Family Care Policy Board, was on hand to congratulate the budding runners.

Councillor McMillan said: “My congratulations go to the lucky winners. It was a pleasure to meet them and we were able to share some running tips as we’ll all be taking part in the event. The 10k is flat, fast and takes competitors through the historic town centre, along Paisley canal and Kilmacolm cycle track. It’s a fantastic route.

“With just over three weeks to go, I’d urge as many local people as possible to sign up to take part. Why not take part as a family or a larger group? And if you’re not sure about doing the 10k – there’s the Fun Run as well. This year’s event is shaping up to be best yet, so don’t miss out.”

The event takes place on Sunday 26 August at 10am. Last year around 1,600 people took part. The Fun Run starts at 12.15pm.

Grant Edmondson, Managing Director of MEPC Hillington Park (event sponsors) said: “MEPC is delighted to sponsor one of Renfrewshire’s most prestigious sporting events. I would encourage everyone to take part or support the runners in some way. Best of luck to all involved”

MEPC gave 500 staff at its occupying companies the chance to take part in the draw. The winners are:
– John McGeady: Centri Force Engineering Co Ltd
– Graeme Fleming: Caledonian Industries Ltd
– Paul O’Brian: National Milk Labs
– Ewan Fisher: Haven Products Ltd
– Louise Cullen: Balfour Beatty Engineering Services Ltd
– Tracey McKenna: BAA (Business Support Centre Ltd)
– Viki Wilkinson: Cromwell
– Mandy McAulay: Johnson Construction UK Ltd

This year runners will also raise the profile of Renfrewshire as a Fairtrade Zone by sporting Fairtrade cotton t-shirts sponsored by MEPC Hillington Park– that is also Renfrewshire’s Fairtrade Flagship employer.

Entry information

The entry fee for the 10k is £18. There’s a group discount where one free entry is offered for every five paying entries when registering online.

The entry fee for the Fun Run is £8 for adults and £6 for children under 16. The adult and child discount offers a joint entry for £12.

Scottish Athletics League members are eligible for a further £2 discount.

Enter online at

Paisley Museum

What’s On in Renfrewshire!

We have a fantastic season lined up for what’s on Renfrewshire – tickets now on sale! (all text courtesy of Renfrewshire Council)
Full details of performances, exhibitions, films, classes and events are available in our ‘What’s On Guide’. Get your FREE copy at Paisley Town Hall, Paisley Arts Centre or Paisley Museum.

Bookings and information:
Paisley Arts Centre, New St, Paisley PA1 1EZ
Tel: 0141 887 1010 (Mon – Fri:9.15am – 4.45pm – closed 12.30pm – 1.30pm Sat: 9.45am – 4.45pm – closed 12.30pm – 1.30pm)

Solar Viewings

Every Thursday afternoon, 2pm to 4pm from 12 July to 31 August
Coats Observatory
£FREE (No booking necessary)

We all owe our existence to the Sun. Without it, life on Earth would be impossible. The Sun provides heat, light, nourishment for plant and animal life right down to the very atoms that make up our bodies, …which are made of the same material found inside the Sun.

Safely view the Sun through the special telescopes housed in Coats Observatory. See sunspots, prominences and solar flares and learn more about our nearest star.

Please note that Solar viewing is weather dependent and will not take place in the event of thick cloud or rain.

Sunday 22 July
Paisley Town Hall, 7.30pm
£14 (£12 conc)

You are invited to come along and see Britain’s longest running tribute to Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jnr; The Rat Pack is Back on Sunday 22 July with the fabulous Don Hunt Swing Band.

Frank, Sammy & Dean take you on a trip to the strip in Las Vegas to the Sands hotel where they performed all the classics.

The hit show perfectly captures not only the music and comedy of the original legends, but also the personalities of the stars who ruled the entertainment world from Las Vegas. Don Hunt from the Swing Band is also no stranger to the Rat Pack having played on shows featuring the real Sammy Davis Jnr.



Family Events and Classes: Crazy Olympic Camp

Mon 30 July – Fri 3 Aug
Paisley Museum, 10am – 3pm
£31 (£23.50 conc for those in receipt of full working tax credit)
Suitable for ages 8-14

With the official launch of London 2012 upon us in just two short weeks, Renfrewshire Arts and Museums is gearing up for the fun with a themed summer workshop focusing on all things Olympic!

Using animation, film, drama, music and visual arts, our award winning Community Outreach team will be on hand to help children create and prepare their very own country for entry into the Crazy Olympic Games! The week of fun-filled, creative activities will culminate in an ‘Opening Ceremony’ on Friday 3 Aug, at which children will have the chance to show off their country’s flag and team uniform to their parents, families and friends.

To book call 0141 887 1010, max 25 places. Participants are asked to bring a packed lunch.

Exhibitions at Paisley Museum

Sixty Years, Six Lives
A photography exhibition from Ian Berry (Magnum Photos)

Tues 19 June – Sun 12 August
FREE (associated with The UN Refugee Agency and Scottish Refugee Council)

Photographer Ian Berry is known worldwide for his arresting, evocative photos – and as a member of the celebrated cooperative, Magnum Photos. Magnum Photos was formed following the Second World War by pioneers of photo-journalism including Robert Capa and Henri Cartier-Bresson. Today its photographers continue to chronicle the world and its people, with a powerful, individual vision. To mark the 60th anniversary of the UN Refugee Convention the UN High Commissioner for Refugees has partnered with Ian Berry and Magnum Photos to produce this exciting exhibition. Berry has photographed refugees around the UK, including Scotland, who came here seeking safety since the 1950s.


Friday 29 June – Sun 21 October

Following the popular “Paisley’s Glasgow Boys” exhibition, now the girls are back in town! This exhibition celebrates a century of female artistic creativity, including new acquisitions for the permanent collection at Paisley Museum.

There is an emphasis on artists associated with Glasgow School of Art, from trail-blazing Glasgow Girls, Olive Carleton Smyth and Stansmore Dean, through to their successors such as Joan Eardley and contemporary artist Mary Redmond, whose newly commissioned work is shown here for the first time.

Paisley MuseumHerstory Portraits

Friday 29 June – Sun 21 October

An exhibition of work by Glasgow-based artist Sharon Thomas, Herstory Portrait presents egg-tempera portraits of seven inspirational women, several of whom are the first females to gain key positions in their respective professions. Herstory Portrait includes preparatory sketches and is a unique opportunity to see inside the artist’s process.

Developed over the span of the last year its primary focus is on mapping female power and influence in Glasgow today and further afield but with a compass leg positioned firmly in the experience of Thomas; a female artist making paintings in the 21st Century in Glasgow.

Big Summer Chill

Tues 10 July – Sun 19 August

The next 2000th & 3000th visitor is a winner!

Forget expensive foreign travel and rainy British beaches…you can have your summer holiday at Paisley Museum, where we’re bringing the seaside inside. An interactive natural history exhibition for all the family, no matter what the weather is like outside.

Activities include:

– Games zone with themed board games
– Interactive fishing game
– Art corner
– Story corner
– Soft play ‘rock pool’
– Boat for smaller children to play in

There will also be a chance to win some family passes to M&D’s Theme Park!! Every 1000th, 2000th and 3000th visitor is a winner.

Check in for the town’s top holiday destination, it’s FREE!

Why not drop in for your chance to be part of our summer holiday installation! Simply fill out one of the luggage labels explaining:

1. Your best holiday memory
2. Your ideal holiday destination if money was no object

Pipe bands from across the UK will head to Paisley for the town’s growing Pipe Band Competition this weekend.

Bands from Milngavie to Manchester will take part in the national competition on Saturday 21 July presided over by Depute Provost John Caldwell.

This will be the third Paisley Pipe Band Competition which has become a key event in the lead up to the World Pipe Band Championships with bands coming from further across the UK this year including greater Manchester and Morpeth in Northumberland.

There will also be competitors from Milngavie, East Kilbride and Irvine as well as local bands from Paisley, Johnstone and Renfrew.

The event kicks off at 12pm with the main band competition taking place in County Square. There will also be a High Street competition from 12.15pm. The day culminates at 5.30pm with all the bands taking part in a ‘march past’ before Depute Provost Caldwell awards the winning competitors with their prizes.

Depute Provost Caldwell said: “I am really looking forward to presiding over the Paisley Pipe Band Competition for the first time. It’s great to have bands coming from all over to compete and perform in front of the people of Renfrewshire.

“As well as a competition it’s a fun day of entertainment for everyone and I hope to see lots of people out enjoying the fun.”

Paisley Pipe Band Competition is run by Renfrewshire Council in conjunction with the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association.

Saturday 7th July saw this year’s Sma’ Shot Day parade from Brodie Park to Abbey Close. 

This year the weather played a major part in the event – the night before the event the contractors who were tasked with setting up the many stalls outside Paisley Town Hall had major problems with the wind and had to construct two large marquees instead. The main parade was also hit by the weather when strong heavy rain tried to dampen spirits just before and during the parade but thankfully the parade and its participants all smiled and braved the rain.

Just as the parade started and was heading towards Neilston Road shops, Tony Lawler the Charleston Drummer hit straight through the side of the drum (which dates back to Napoleonic times) cutting his thumb in the process. The parade was temporarily halted but Tony was made of sterner stuff and the parade snaked its way down to Paisley Town Centre to lots of applause from those watching from the side.

The now traditional pint of lager at the Wellington was a welcome distraction for Tony and a welcome rest for the parade as it reached its half way point. As the parade hit Abbey close the crowds gave it a rapturous reception and the participants could relax.

From the pictures above, you can see the parade from start to finish as well as the excellent BMX Stunt Riders “The Clan”. The video below is the journey from Brodie Park to the end point in Abbey Close, you will notice the rain is a feature in almost all the images!

Thomas Coats Observatory

New season of afternoon viewings launches next week

On Thursday 12 July, Coats Observatory in Paisley launches its regular solar viewing season.

We all owe our existence to the Sun. Without it, life on Earth would be impossible.  The Sun provides heat, light, nourishment for plant and animal life right down to the very atoms that make up our bodies, which are made of the same material found inside the Sun.

You can get a closer view of our nearest star by attending one of the solar observing sessions at Coats Observatory. These will run every Thursday afternoon, 2pm-4pm from July 12 to Aug 31 in the garden of Coats Observatory. Telescopes dedicated to safe Sun watching will be set up, allowing visitors to see detail such as sunspots, solar flares and prominences, and observatory staff will be on hand to answer any questions that visitors may have.

Coats Observatory point out that, on a point of safety, the telescopes in use at Coats Observatory to view the Sun are specially designed only for solar viewing. We should never look at the Sun with binoculars, an unfiltered telescope or even with the naked eye as permanent damage to your eyes will occur very quickly.

Admission to the solar viewing events is free and there is no need to book. For further information log onto or follow us on facebook at

Please note that solar viewing is weather dependent and will not take place in the event of thick cloud or rain.

We had an email the other day there from a former student of the University of the West of Scotland and he showed us some amazing images of paisley Town Hall, I wanted to make a blog post to show the talents of Ian below.

Here is what Ian says.

I built this model of Paisley town hall as a project to myself as i’ve always been interested in cgi architectural modelling, this is an industry which is really just taking off and would usually involve a developer having the property modelled via CGI in order to display it to the builders (before building) and the customers (whilst being built). This is one of many uses for a CGI property being built as well as the obvious advantages in promotion.

I wanted to model a building that was easily recognized and my end goal in the town hall was to have a model that would actually look and render as a realistic form. I am happy with the model and am constantly adding parts to it or editing it. I am currently building a scene in which the town hall is a run down derelict building, this is far from finished though (i’ve attached a render to this email)

The town hall was modeled, surface and rendered using professional software Lightwave (9.6) which is a professional piece of software used in many films and CGI projects. architectural modelling is certainly something which i would like to ‘get into’.

I recently graduated from University of west of Scotland in Paisley with an honours degree in computer animation (2:1).

If anyone would like to contact Ian please email 

Next Saturday 7th July is the annual Sma’ Shot Day Parade. Parade starts at 12pm, burning of the ‘Cork’ at 5pm, the parade starts at Brodie Park, entertainment throughout the afternoon at Abbey Close.

The festival came about as a result of a political battle fought between the weavers of Paisley and their employers, the manufacturers, in the 19th Century.

The Sma’ (small) Shot was a cotton thread which bound all the colourful weft threads into the warps of the famous shawls.

However, the Sma’ Shot was unseen in the finished garments and so the manufacturers, known locally as ‘corks’, refused to pay for the thread.The weavers had no choice but to buy the thread themselves. Without it the shawls would fall apart and the weavers would not be paid for their work. A long dispute followed.

The Charleston drum, which was beaten through the streets of Paisley to summon the weavers in times of trouble, was beaten once again to rally the weavers in protest marches. After a long and hard struggle, the manufacturers backed down and the weavers were paid for the Sma’ Shot.

In 1856 the first Saturday in July, a traditional holiday for the weavers, was renamed Sma’ Shot Day in honour of the victory.From that day and for many years, the Charleston drum was used to rally weavers and lead them to the departure point for their annual trip, usually “doon the watter” to Ayr.
The demise of the weaving industry, the introduction of the five day working week and a change in local government brought an end to Sma’ Shot Day in 1975, but in 1986 local councillors and the people of Paisley decided to revive this great tradition.
Since then, on the first Saturday of July, once more the beating of the Charleston drum rallies the people of Paisley to a gathering outside Paisley Town Hall, and a procession is held through the streets of Paisley, led by ‘The Cork’, an effigy of one of the manufacturers defeated by the Paisley weavers.

Local people are being urged to put their best foot forward for a big hearted charity walk on Tuesday.

The Barshaw Big Heart Charity Walk will take place on Tuesday 19 June to commemorate 100 years of Barshaw Park and to celebrate Paisley being a heart town.

A two mile walk begins from Paisley Town Hall at 11am, or you can join the group at Barshaw Park gate at 11.45am for a one mile walk around the park.

The theme is ‘red’ and those taking part are being asked to bring a donation (or sponsorship) as an entry fee with all proceeds going to the British Heart Foundation.

Councillor Iain McMillan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Community and Family Care Policy Board, said: “We’re very proud that Paisley is a Heart Town and the Barshaw Big Heart Charity Walk is a wonderful opportunity for local people to contribute towards the British Heart Foundation, while getting active at the same time.

“I’m delighted that this will also celebrating the fact that Barshaw Park is 100 years old and I’d urge as many local people as possible to don their walking shoes and head along to enjoy some fresh air.”

Further information is available from Senga McLeod, walking development officer at or on 0141 889 1110.