SPREE FESTIVAL 2019-5767

Paisley’s annual festival of music, comedy and more gets under way tonight – with a special tribute to one of the town’s most famous musical sons, Gerry Rafferty.

The Baker St singer’s legacy will be honoured with a sold-out Gerry Rafferty Songbook night fronted by Roddy Hart, Emma Pollock and Gerry’s long-time friend and former Stealers Wheel collaborator Rab Noakes.

SPREE FESTIVAL 2019-5767

The show kicks off nine days of Spree action – the bulk of which will take place in a specially-erected Spiegeltent next to Paisley Gilmour Street station in the town’s County Square.

The Spree festival is now in its eighth year and has helped Paisley become established as one of Scotland’s go-to destinations for major events.

The festival is organised by Renfrewshire Council, programmed by Regular Music, and sponsored by Tennent’s Lager.

SPREE FESTIVAL 2019-5767

Many of the shows are already sold out but there’s still time to get your hands on the last remaining tickets for others at www.thespree.co.uk, in person at the box office at InCube shop at 9b Gilmour St, or on the door at The Spiegeltent.

Speaking ahead of tonight’s show, musician, broadcaster and long-time Rafferty fan Roddy Hart said: “We are super-excited and looking forward to kicking off the Spree festival with a collection of Gerry Rafferty’s best-loved songs.

“The Spree is an amazing festival – it’s great to have these events outside of Glasgow and Edinburgh as it brings music and talent to whole array of people who might not have access to it otherwise. There’s a fantastic selection of singers and artists and it’s a very exciting thing to be part of.”

SPREE FESTIVAL 2019-5767

The Spree opening night also includes late-night comedy including Fred MacAulay and Mark Nelson in The Spiegeltent, with tickets still available at the door.

Saturday will see the town centre invaded by the Mods as the annual ModStuff event run by local promoters LNP Promotions returns with a free afternoon show – including the ever-popular scooter rideout – followed by a sold-out evening gig.

Rising stars of Scottish indie-rock The Snuts play The Spiegeltent on Sunday evening – with all tickets for the 450-capacity venue being snapped up in just two hours earlier this summer.

Highlights during the week include Hue and Cry (Mon 14th), Glasvegas only UK full-band show of the year (Tues 15th), former Super Furry Animals frontman Gruff Rhys (Wed 16th) and soul legend PP Arnold, performing alongside Ocean Colour Scene guitarist Steve Cradock (Thur 17th).

SPREE FESTIVAL 2019-5767

Next weekend sees Karine Polwart’s Scottish Songbook, and more late-night comedy featuring Scott Gibson and Gary Little (Fri 18th) before a lively last night with comedian Jerry Sadowitz followed by a closing party with the inventors of rockgrass Hayseed Dixie (Sat 19th).

Paisley Arts Centre will also host a diverse programme including Lost Map’s Lost Weekend (Sun 13th) with the Pictish Trail, a Paisley in Song night fronted by Michael Cassidy (Thurs 17th), and a show by ex-Arab Strap mainman Malcolm Middleton (Sat 19th).

The week will also see The Wee Spree – a special programme designed for kids to run over the October school week, featuring Lego, circus skills, comedy, and dance-along Disney films.

Sold-out shows include the Stramash ceilidh with local Gaelic music group Fèis Phaislig – promoting the town’s contribution to Gaelic language culture ahead of hosting the Royal National Mòd in exactly three years time.

And the Spree for All fringe festival will take the show on the road to towns and villages across Renfrewshire, with gigs taking place in local venues in Johnstone, Renfrew, Lochwinnoch and Kilbarchan, as well as a packed programme in Paisley’s Bungalow Bar and Old Swan Inn.

The Spree for All also takes in the Paisley Art Institute’s 131st annual exhibition – this year taking place in a formerly-empty unit in the Piazza shopping centre (right next to The Spiegeltent) while Paisley Museum is undergoing a £42m transformation.

Louisa Mahon, Renfrewshire Council’s head of communications, marketing and events, said: “The Spree has grown year on year with Paisley now firmly established as a key destination on Scotland’s festival map.

“Ticket sales this year have been by far our best yet – we look forward to welcoming thousands of visitors to Paisley over the next nine days, which will be great news for local traders.

“Paisley town centre is home to many great places to eat, drink and shop and we and would encourage festival-goers to Spend Local and sample everything the town has to offer.”

The Spree is the first of a bumper run of major events in the area this winter, with huge crowds expected for Paisley Halloween Festival – one of the largest of its kind – on 25-26 October.

Paisley’s annual fireworks display is on Saturday 2 November, followed by Christmas Lights Switch-ons in Paisley (Sat 16th), Renfrew (Sat 23rd) and Johnstone (Sat 30th), while local business improvement district Paisley First’s annual Winterfest event will take over Paisley town centre for five weeks from 24 November.

Bands Spree for All

Festival fans across Renfrewshire will enjoy a bumper month of music, film, art and more this October with the announcement of this year’s Spree for All programme.

Established in recent years as a ‘fringe festival’ to the annual The Spree festival in Paisley, the Spree for All has grown to take in events in towns and villages throughout Renfrewshire.

Bands Spree for All

Much of this year’s programme has been organised by Tommy McGrory of local music charity Loud ‘n’ Proud and Alan McEwan, owner of Brick Lane Studios.

The Village Live Nights team will bring live music from talented youngsters to Lochwinnoch (11 and 18 October), Kilbarchan (18 October), Paisley (11 – 19 October), Renfrew (18 October) and Johnstone (12 and 19 October).

Bands Spree for All

Paisley’s The Old Swan Inn will host a Spree Festival Club (11-19 October) and the iconic Bungalow Bar – under the ownership of a new community interest company – has a packed programme of live music for the duration of the festival.

Spree organisers have tied-up with the popular Lochwinnoch Arts Festival to bring two events to the village. Acclaimed folk musicians Hamish Napier and Adam Sutherland will bring their Nae Plans show to McKillop Hall (20 October) and the spectacular Sea Hames from Feral Arts, supported by Creative Scotland’s Touring Fund for Theatre and Dance, will take place in Lochwinnoch and Paisley (19 October).

It promises to be a busy time with the new HB Film Festival (19-20 October) celebrating the best of independent filmmaking and Paisley Art Institute’s 131st Annual Exhibition occupying the former Co-op store in the Piazza Shopping Centre until 20 October.

Tommy McGrory said: “The Spree for All is about making sure as many people as possible across Renfrewshire can enjoy all of the great cultural activities taking place – from listening to a young band, to admiring some new artwork of a locally-made film.

“This is the biggest and most varied programme yet with contributions from many different people – it’s testament to just how much is going on across Renfrewshire.”

Louisa Mahon, head of marketing, communications and events for Renfrewshire Council, said: “Cultural activity in Renfrewshire is thriving and the Spree for All is another opportunity for people to experience the breadth of local talent in fantastic local venues. Taken together with the main Spree festival and a packed schedule of kids’ activities in the Wee Spree, it all adds up to a programme of events with something for everyone.

Details of the full Spree for All programme are available online at www.thespree.co.uk/spree-for-all.

Tickets are on sale now for The Spree festival with acts such as Glasvegas, Gruff Rhys, PP Arnold, Karine Polwart and Hayseed Dixie playing the Spiegeltent in Paisley’s County Square. Details of The Spree programme and the Wee Spree programme of activities for kids are available online at www.thespree.co.uk.

HueandCry

Paisley’s The Spree festival returns next week (11-19 October) with its biggest line-up yet.

Glasvegas, Hue and Cry, The Snuts, Gruff Rhys, Karine Polwart, Jerry Sadowitz, PP Arnold and Hayseed Dixie are just some of the top acts coming to town for the fast-growing festival, which is now into its eighth year.

The bulk of the action at The Spree 2019 will take place in the specially-erected Salon Perdu Spiegeltent in Paisley’s County Square – with a bigger tent than in previous years allowing for more people to enjoy the performances.

ModStuff

The opening night (Friday 11 October) sees a tribute to one of Paisley’s favourite musical sons – A Gerry Rafferty Songbook, featuring Roddy Hart, Emma Pollock and Rab Noakes.

On Sunday 13 October, hotly-tipped Scots rockers The Snuts will play to a sold out Spiegeltent before Hue and Cry entertain a sell-out crowd on Monday 14 October.

HueandCry

Platinum-selling indie-rockers Glasvegas come to Paisley for their only full-band Scottish date of the year on Tuesday 15 October and Super Furry Animals frontman Gruff Rhys brings his solo show to the Spiegeltent on Wednesday 16 October.

London’s First Lady of Soul, PP Arnold, will perform songs from her six-decade career, including the classics ‘The First Cut is the Deepest’ and ‘Angel of the Morning’ alongside Ocean Colour Scene guitarist Steve Cradock on Thursday 17 October.

Singer-songwriter Karine Polwart is celebrating her first UK Top 40 album and will bring her Scottish Songbook of fantastic covers – including songs by Frightened Rabbit, Biffy Clyro, Chvrches, Gerry Rafferty, Deacon Blue and more to the Spiegeltent on Friday 18 October.

The festival closes on Saturday 19 October with two fantastic shows. First, a sold-out performance from comedy headliner Jerry Sadowitz in the Spiegeltent, then a second late-night closing party of classic rock hits from US ‘rockgrass’ outfit Hayseed Dixie.

Comedy lovers can enjoy two late-night stand-up shows featuring Fred MacAulay, Susan Riddell, Christopher Macarthur-Boyd and Mark Nelson (Friday 11 October) and Scott Gibson, Rosco McCelleland, Jay Lafferty and Gary Little (Friday 18 October).

The Spiegeltent will also host an all-day festival within-a-festival on Saturday 12 October, with LNP Promotions ever-popular ModStuff celebration of all things Mod, including the spectacle of the annual scooter rideout.

The popular Paisley Arts Centre will host a series of gigs, including Lost Map’s Lost Weekend Sunday Social featuring the Pictish Trail, Fell, Molly Linen and Callum Easter (Sunday 13 October), Paisley in Song featuring Michael Cassidy and Andy Monahan (Frightened Rabbit) on Thursday 17 October, and an appearance from ex-Arab Strap musician Malcolm Middleton plus support from Megan Airlie (Saturday 19 October).

The Arts Centre will also show a number of film screenings, including Loki’s History of Scottish Hip-Hop and Stretch & Bobbito: Radio That Changed Lives (Tuesday 15 October) and Rudeboy: The Story of Trojan Records, which includes an after party where you can dance away to the label’s hits of 60’s and 70’s (Friday 18 October).

The Wee Spree popular programme of kids activities will take place as part of the main Spree festival with thousands set to be entertained during the school holiday period.

Highlights include the Bricks 4 Kidz Camps on Tuesday 15 October, Dance Along Moana and Mary Poppins film screenings on Thursday 17 October, Comedy 4 Kids Show on Friday 18 October and a bumper afternoon with Scotland’s top traditional musicians and young up-and-coming talent at Fèis Phàislig’s Stramash in the Spiegeltent on Friday 19 October.

This year will also see the return of the popular Spree for All fringe festival with gigs and events taking place in towns and villages across Renfrewshire.

The Spree festival is one of the centrepieces of Renfrewshire Council’s major events programme which has made Paisley one of Scotland’s key cultural destinations in recent years.

This year’s festival is programmed by Regular Music and sponsored by Tennent’s Lager.

Some shows have already sold out, so move quickly to secure your tickets by visiting the full listings page at www.thespree.co.uk.

Involved in a Renfrewshire community group? Fancy coming along to some of the shows at this year’s Spree festival? Then be our guest!

Festival organisers Renfrewshire Council have teamed up with Engage Renfrewshire to offer a limited number of free tickets to local groups for this year’s festival, between 11 and 19 October.

We want as many people as possible to experience this exciting cultural event, especially those who may otherwise struggle to attend. This is a scheme we have successfully run in previous years.

How to get tickets

Just get in touch to tell us – in your own words – how your group would benefit from the experience.

Please email info@engagerenfrewshire.com with a short description of what your group does, why you would benefit from the experience, how many tickets are requested and for which event by Friday 27 September 2019.

You can see what is available for the main Spree shows and the Wee Spree shows for kids here.

Tickets are for service users/group members only, however if you require staff to support the group, please let us know.

We will try to accommodate your first choice of event where possible but may not be able to do so depending on demand and will allocate on a first come first served basis. Please indicate your second choice of event.

Here are some things people who came last year had to say:

“Had the best night, I really enjoyed myself and felt at ease with the group”

“I wasn’t going to come to the event, as quite nervous being out in public myself, but so glad I did”

“Really lifted my mood, had such a good night, singing along”

“I don’t get out often due to my difficulties…I had the most amazing night”.

“This is something I wouldn’t have been able to attend otherwise, thank you”.

ModStuff is always a Spree festival favourite – and this year’s event is now the latest sell-out show on this year’s bill.

The celebration of all things Mod – run by LNP Promotions – returns to The Spiegeltent on Saturday 12 October, and the last tickets for the evening show have now been snapped up.

But if you missed out you can still take in the ModSuff afternoon show – it’s free, no ticket is needed, loads of bands are playing, and includes the spectacle of the annual scooter rideout. Both shows are being run in support of Renfrewshire Carers Centre.

Gary Kerr of LNP Promotions said: “ModStuff has been a big part of The Spree for a few years now and the event has grown in popularity with the festival as a a whole. We are delighted to once again take over the Spiegeltent on the first Saturday of the festival in aid of a great cause.

“We are thrilled to be bringing some incredible bands to Paisley for you to enjoy… we look forward to seeing you all there!”

Spree tickets have been flying out the door this year with ModStuff one of several sell-outs. All tickets are gone for the Gerry Rafferty Songbook, Hue and Cry and Jerry Sadowitz, while The Snuts sold out The Spiegeltent within hours of going on sale in July.

But if you hurry there’s still time to get tickets for other acts including Glasvegas, Gruff Rhys, PP Arnold, Karine Polwart, Hayseed Dixie and our late-night comedy nights on Friday 11th and Friday 18th.

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/

renfrewshire leisure guide

THERE’S something for everyone to enjoy between now and the end of the year in the new series of shows, performances and events being staged by Renfrewshire Leisure.

The latest free edition of The Guide – the indispensible almanac for lovers of music, theatre and all things entertainment locally – has just been published.

renfrewshire leisure guide

The booklet covers a veritable compendium of comedy, music, family events, thought-provoking theatre performances, dance, talks, film, panto and even Christmas Party nights.

Highlights of the coming months contained in The Guide include a host of events from the upcoming Paisley Youth Arts Festival and the annual Spree Festival.

Morag Macpherson, Renfrewshire Leisure’s Head of Cultural Services Renfrewshire Leisure said: “We have a brilliant independent, dynamic youth arts scene, so expect the best from Paisley’s inaugural Youth Arts Festival in September.

“Young people and their grown ups have some beautifully crafted theatre to look forward to, with Anonymouse and Eaten at Paisley Arts Centre, WhirlyGig, at Foxbar Community Centre, and Stick By Me at Johnstone Town Hall as just a few examples.

renfrewshire leisure guide

“People can experience the best in touring theatre, including Company Chordelia and Stellar Quines, and don’t miss contemporary dance piece The Box by Julia James-Griffiths.”

The Guide can be picked up from Paisley Arts Centre, Renfrew and Johnstone Town Halls and Linwood’s Tweedie Hall, or it can be downloaded from www.renfrewshireleisure.com .

To book any of the events featured in The Guide, log on to www.renfrewshireleisure.com/whats-on or call the Box Office on 0300 300 1210 or visit Paisley Arts Centre, in New Street, Paisley.

MiniManoeuvres

Paisley is set for a festival of family fun when The Wee Spree comes to town this October.

The popular programme of kids activities will take place as part of the annual Spree arts festival from 11-19 October with thousands set to be entertained during the school holiday period.

MiniManoeuvres

The festival coincides with The Spree festival of music and comedy set to take over the town centre. The magical Salon Perdu Spiegeltent will be located in the town’s County Square for the duration of the festival and will host much of The Wee Spree programme.

Family celebrations of music are at the heart of the programme with Mini Manoeuvres (Sun 13 Oct) and Baby Loves Disco (Sun 13 Oct), such music and theatre shows for children letting families have ‘a gig experience’ together.

Youngsters can learn how to be Circus Stars (Weds 16 Oct) from hula hooping and juggling to tightwire with the team from Glasgow’s Aerial Edge.

AerialEdge

For budding young comedians, Comedy4Kids (Fri 18 Oct) will host a free workshop helping kids ‘find the funny’ before putting some of the best stand-ups and sketch artists on the circuit in front of a family audience in the Spiegeltent.

Families can get active together with two sessions of Family Yoga (Fri 19 Oct) led by Renfrewshire Leisure, while little ones will love the Bookbug sessions (of song, rhyme, music and stories organised by Renfrewshire Libraries.

Family celebrations of music are at the heart of the programme with Mini Manoeuvres (Sun 13 Oct) and Baby Loves Disco (Sun 13 Oct) shows letting families have ‘a gig experience’ together.

the wee spree

The ever-popular FUNBOX gang bring their Rocking All Over the World show to the festival (Tues 15 Oct) and the Spiegeltent will host two special BSL-signed screenings of Dance Along Mary Poppins Returns for families (Thurs 17 Oct).

Paisley’s strong tradition of commitment to Gaelic music and culture will be celebrated during the festival when the popular local Fèis Phàislig host a Stramash in the Spiegeltent (Fri 19 Oct). Traditional music will also be showcased at the free Trad Tunes for Tiny People and Big Music for Little Ears shows (Weds 16 Oct).

There will also be two shows specially designed for young people with additional support needs and their carers (Fri 18 Oct) – a film screening of kids favourite Paddington 2 in the Spiegeltent and an Animation Workshop run by Cinemor77 in the Methodist Central Halls. A second animation workshop open to all will run in the same venue later on that day.

Brickz4Kids

Entertainment of another kind comes from the Computer Xplorers (Sat 12 Oct) who will teach kids how to program their own robot using the latest technology. Fans of LEGO will want to sign up for one of the Bricks4Kidz camps (Tues 15 Oct) in the Methodist Central Hall which will have a Paisley-inspired twist featuring lions, walruses and crocodiles.

And the fun isn’t limited to Paisley – the Wee Spree will also reach Johnstone this year with the Soundplay Dome in Johnstone Town Hall (Fri 18 and Sat 19 Oct) supported by Creative Scotland – a magical sensory space where children and adults of all ages can explore sound and light.

Tickets for The Wee Spree go on sale from 10am on Friday 21 June and can be bought online via www.thespree.co.uk or from the festival box office at InCube Shop, 9b Gilmour Street, Paisley PA1 1DG.

The Spree is Paisley’s annual arts festival and one of the events which has made Paisley and Renfrewshire one of Scotland’s key destination for events in recent years.

Some of the big-name music acts playing as part of the main Spree bill include Glasvegas, Hue and Cry, Gruff Rhys, Hayseed Dixie, PP Arnold, Karine Polwart and a Gerry Rafferty Songbook night, as well as comedy from Jerry Sadowitz and more. Tickets for all shows are on sale now.

The line-up will be announced over the summer for the Spree for All fringe festival – which will see shows take place across all of Renfrewshire.

The Spree is organised by Renfrewshire Council, programmed by Regular Music, and sponsored by Tennent’s Lager.

Paisley’s annual Spree festival has today announced its biggest line-up yet – with Glasvegas, Gruff Rhys, PP Arnold and Hue and Cry among the acts coming to town this October.

The festival will take place over nine days from 11 to 19 October with the bulk of the action in a specially-erected Spiegeltent beside Paisley Gilmour Street station – and with a bigger tent than in previous years allowing 500-person shows.

Now in its eighth year, the festival is one of the centrepieces of Renfrewshire Council’s major events programme which has made Paisley one of Scotland’s key cultural destinations in recent years.

The Spree 2019 was programmed by Regular Music – who work with some of the biggest names in the industry as the team behind the Summer Nights at Kelvingrove Bandstand and the Edinburgh Castle Concerts – and is this year sponsored by Tennent’s Lager.

The festival kicks off on Friday 11 October with a tribute to one of Paisley’s most celebrated musical sons – A Gerry Rafferty Songbook, featuring Roddy Hart, Emma Pollock and Rab Noakes.

Monday 14th sees Hue and Cry in the Spiegeltent – a venue and location fitting for a band for whom one of their biggest hits, ‘Looking for Linda’, was set on a train to Paisley.

Platinum-selling indie-rockers Glasvegasperform their only full-band Scottish date of the year the next night, before Super Furry Animals frontman Gruff Rhys brings his solo show to the Spiegeltent on Wednesday 16th.

London’s First Lady of Soul PP Arnold is next up on Thursday 17th with songs from her six-decade career working with stars including Rod Stewart and the Small Faces, Barry Gibb, David Bowie, Eric Clapton and Oasis.

The Friday night sees multi-award-winning singer-songwriter Karine Polwart bring her Scottish Songbook – a collection of Scottish pop classic spanning more than 50 years.

And the festival ends on Saturday 19th with anarchic magic from comedy headliner Jerry Sadowitz, followed by what will be a lively late-night closing party all the way from Tennessee, USA, with the inventors of ‘rockgrass’ Hayseed Dixie.

There’s also two late-night comedy shows on Friday 11th and 18th, headlined by Mark Nelson and Gary Little and compered by Fred MacAulay and local lad Scott Gibson.

Renfrewshire Leisure are programming Spree shows at Paisley Arts Centre, with the ones announced so far being Lost Map’s Lost Weekend Sunday Social featuring the Pictish Trail, Fell, Molly Linen and Callum Easter (Sunday 13th), Paisley in Song featuring Michael Cassidy and Andy Monahan (Frightened Rabbit) on Thursday 17th, and ex-Arab Strap musician Malcolm Middleton plus support (Saturday 19th).

And the Spiegeltent will also host an all-day festival within-a-festival on Saturday 12th with LNP Promotions ever-popular ModStuffcelebration of all things Mod, for which the line-up will be confirmed soon.

Tickets for all shows go on sale at 10am on Friday 7 June via thespree.co.uk and www.ticketweb.uk

More will be added to the bill over the summer with details still to be announced for The Wee Spree – a programme of children’s entertainment over the October school holidays – and the Spree for All fringe festival, with a range of shows in other venue across Renfrewshire.

Duncan Frew, Tennent’s Lager’s Commercial and Marketing Director (UK), added: “Tennent’s are delighted to partner with the Spree Festival in 2019.

“The festival continues to go from strength to strength, developing a national profile through an impressive programme of local and international artists and activity. We look forward to working with organisers and local community to help build on this success.”

Louisa Mahon, Renfrewshire Council’s head of marketing, communications and events, added: “The Spree has grown in recent years to become a fixture in Scotland’s festival calendar – and we are delighted the expanded capacity this year has allowed us to attract some of our biggest names yet.

“Not only will that bring music fans from across the country to see what Paisley has to offer but the growth in the event will help bring a real festival feel to the town, and a boost the local economy.”

For more information on the festival, see www.thespree.co.uk and for more on what’s happening in Paisley visit www.paisley.is

Visitor Plan 2018

Day visits to Renfrewshire almost doubled between 2015 and 2017, new figures have revealed.

The sharp rise was unveiled in the first annual update of the Renfrewshire Visitor Plan 2018-2021, which aims to develop the area as one of Scotland’s key tourist destinations.

Visitor Plan 2018

It showed that day visits to Renfrewshire rose from 2.73 million between 2013-2015 to 5.33 million between 2015-2017 – with the area’s thriving events calendar proving popular with visitors.

There was also an increase in day and overnight visitor spend from £72.5 million to £99.1 million during the same period.

The first update of the Renfrewshire Visitor Plan – which was shown before Renfrewshire Council’s Leadership Board – includes the following key achievements:

– visitor numbers to Renfrewshire’s events are expected to exceed growth of 8% in 2018 – surpassing the target of 4% year-on-year;

– The delivery of 15 events, including four major visitor events in 2017 – Paisley Food and Drink Festival, the British Pipe Band Championships, The Spree Festival and Paisley Halloween Festival – all of which witnessed increased attendee numbers;

– the launch of Paisley Welcomes, a new customer service excellence and product familiarisation training programme to enhance the visitor experience in Renfrewshire;

– increased support for tourism business growth with 53 businesses supported and 34 businesses and agencies now regularly engaged in a tourism business network.

This year also saw the development and launch of a new destination brand and the area’s first ever digital guide to Paisley and Renfrewshire – www.Paisley.is.

The website promotes Paisley and Renfrewshire as a place to live work and visit and offers a guide to what’s on across the region, with dedicated content for each town, village and attraction.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “It’s fantastic to see such positive results in the first annual report of the Renfrewshire Visitor Plan as we continue to work towards transforming tourism in the area.

“Renfrewshire has so much to offer, from our rich heritage and a wide variety of visitor attractions across our towns and villages to our cultural events calendar, which continues to go from strength to strength.

“The phenomenal increase in both day visits and visitor spend underlines the benefits that Renfrewshire’s tourism offer has on the local economy and the appeal for those visiting the area.

“We will look to build upon this in the coming years by continuing to forge positive relationships with the tourism sector across Renfrewshire and strengthened partnerships with national agencies.

“This first report on the Renfrewshire Visitor Plan highlights the excellent work being carried out to build our visitor economy and is a key part of our plans to use our culture and heritage enhance the area’s reputation as a key visitor destination in Scotland.”

Gordon Smith, VisitScotland Regional Director, said: “This incredible increase in day visits and spend in Renfrewshire is testament to the brilliant work being done to boost the area’s tourism and events offering.

“Tourism is more than a holiday experience – it is the heartbeat of the Scottish economy and touches every community, generating income, jobs and social change.  VisitScotland is committed to encouraging and supporting the industry to provide world class service, facilities, events and attractions to keep up with ever-changing consumer demands and it is clear that Renfrewshire is making huge strides to ensure visitors continue to have memorable experiences in the region.”