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.”

DexysModStuff

Organisers have hailed this year’s The Spree festival as “our biggest and best” as figures show the 2018 edition of the popular event was the best-attended yet.

DexysModStuff

The festival, organised by Renfrewshire Council, had its seventh outing from 12-21 October.

Music fans were treated to a spectacular show from Motown legend Martha Reeves and an intimate question-and-answer session with Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi – both in Paisley Town Hall – as well as a series of hugely-popular gigs in the fantastic Spiegeltent, located in County Square during the festival.

London Gospel Choir at Paisley Town Hall 20.10.18-6475

A ‘wee Spree’ programme of activities for kids was timed to coincide with the school holidays and saw youngsters enjoy everything from comedy to computer coding. A festival highlight saw the National Theatre of Scotland take a theatre-in-a-truck performance across Renfrewshire each day of the festival.

DannyKyleStage

The Spree for All fringe programme was extended this year to take in events in Renfrew, Johnstone, Linwood and Lochwinnoch. In Paisley, the Danny Kyle Stage in honour of the local singer-songwriter was hosted by The Old Swan Inn for the first time.

In total, estimates show almost 11,000 attendances at The Spree – the most yet in the festival’s seven-year run – and the highest ticket sale figures recorded, with several shows completely sold out.

Louisa Mahon, head of Renfrewshire Council’s events, marketing and communication team, said: “We had 87 shows taking place in 17 different venues across five towns and villages over 10 days – so it was definitely our biggest yet, and looking at our various indicators, also our best.”

The Spree is a fantastic opportunity each year to showcase Paisley and Renfrewshire to visitors. We know from ticket-buying information we already have that people travelled from as far as Dublin and Barcelona to see their favourite singers and bands. Visits such as these generate new spend in Renfrewshire’s economy and local businesses can benefit from that spend.”

“We will be researching the impact of the festival in more detail, but the early signs are that another successful staging of The Spree has been a huge boost to the area.”

Jacqueline McCaig, owner of The Old Swan Inn which hosted the Danny Kyle Stage, added: “What a great week we had for the Danny Kyle Stage at The Old Swan. Our customers thoroughly enjoyed it – it was a fantastic atmosphere all week with outstanding talent from far and wide.”

Renfrewshire Council’s events programme will continue with Christmas lights switch-on events in Paisley (Saturday 17 November), Renfrew (Saturday 24 November) and Johnstone (Saturday 1 December). More details of all these events are available online at www.paisley.is.

Paul Simon’s Graceland was performed in full by The London African Gospel Choir which has been critically acclaimed across the country.

This uplifting and amazing show has sold out venues and receives rave reviews from audiences.

Thirty years after its release, the Choir performed their own powerful twist on Paul Simon’s album, delivering from start to finish. The richness and harmony of the Choir’s rhythmic, evocative and empowering, voices created an overwhelming musical event, for anyone lucky enough to experience this special performance. Performed on Saturday night in front of a packed audience at Paisley Town Hall.

Photographs kindly taken by David Cameron, you can find more of his photographs here.

martha and the vandellas

Photographs of Martha & The Vandellas at the Paisley Town Hall October 20th 2018 The Spree.

martha and the vandellas

All photographs courtesy of David Cameron, you can visit his Flickr Page for lots more Paisley photographs here.

 

modstuff the spree festival

Saturday 20th October 2018 – It’s your day Paisley – Photographs from today’s Scooter Rally.

Paisley’s very own Gerry McGuire kicked the day off playing choons as Scooters arrived in the town for the annual charity Rideout. Hosted by Paisley Vespa Club; fundraising for Renfrewshire Carers Centre.

theatre in truck

Paisley’s flagship annual cultural extravaganza The Spree gets under way today….helped by National Theatre of Scotland offering a truckload of chances to see the area as never before.

The seventh year of the Spree (12 to 21 Oct) sees 87 shows in 17 venues in five towns around Renfrewshire over ten days – with music, comedy, theatre and much more.

theatre in truck

Big-name headliners include Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi in conversation about his legendary career (Fri 12 Oct) and Martha Reeves and the Vandellas and the London African Gospel Choir performing Graceland (Sat 20 Oct), both at Paisley Town Hall.

The iconic Spiegeltent in County Square will host musical acts The Orb (Mon 15th), Traceyanne and Danny and The Pastels (Sat 13th), ex-Kraftwerk man Wolfgang Flur (Sat 13th), The Wandering Hearts (Sun 14th), Vieux Farke Toure (Tues 16th), The Leisure Society and Duke Special (Weds 17th), Big Minds (Thurs 18th), and Gang of Four (Fri 19th).

The festival also includes Rimini Protokoll and National Theatre of Scotland’s Do’s and Don’ts (12-14 and 16-21 Oct) – offering a unique experience touring the area in a mobile auditorium inside a remodelled truck, backed by the soundtrack of a local choir.

The show is presented by award-winning German documentary theatre specialists Rimini Protokoll and is part of NTS’s Futureproof festival, marking Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018, and some of the young cast were on hand to help launch the festival yesterday outside Paisley Town Hall.

Other Spree highlights over the next 10 days include a sold-out comedy show with Des Clarke and Janey Godley (Spiegeltent Fri 12th), Aidan Moffat and RM Hubbert (Paisley Arts Centre, Sat 20th), the ModStuff festival-within-a-festival (Spiegeltent, Sat 20th) plus a visit from The National Whiskey Festival (Paisley Town Hall, Sat 13th).

Do’s and Don’ts is part of The Wee Spree programme over the October school holiday – with a list of (mostly free) shows for kids offering everything from comedy to ceilidhs, plus video game design, circus skills workshops and a dancealong to The Greatest Showman.

There’s also the Spree for All fringe festival, which includes the daily Danny Kyle Stage for unsigned acts in the Old Swan Inn, and taking top local musical talent to venues in Johnstone, Renfrew, Linwood and Lochwinnoch, as well as the pubs and clubs of Paisley town centre.

The Spree is run by Renfrewshire Council as part of a major events programme also including Paisley Halloween Festival (Sat 27 Oct) – listed as one of the top Halloween events in the UK.

The council’s head of communications, marketing and events Louisa Mahon said: “This year’s Spree will be the biggest and best yet as our events continue to grow and attract more visitors to the area.

“The bill has something for everyone – from world-renowned musical talent to a diverse programme for kids of all ages, to some of the best local acts at a venue near you.

“We are also delighted to building partnerships with organisations such as National Theatre of Scotland and bringing some of the country’s finest performers to the town is helping cement Paisley’s place as one of Scotland’s go-to cultural destinations.”

Jackie Wylie, Artistic Director and Chief Executive of the National Theatre of Scotland, said: “DO’S & DON’TS has been co-created by the young people of Paisley as part of our Futureproof festival, marking the Year of Young People 2018, and I am delighted that it is part of the Spree programme.

“It was important to the National Theatre of Scotland that, as part of Futureproof, we had the opportunity to work with the Paisley 2021 Legacy team, and we are incredibly grateful to our partners Renfrewshire Council and Renfrewshire Leisure for making this uniquely special co-production possible.”

For tickets and full line-up info, see thespree.co.uk and nationaltheatrescotland.com/futureproof

Paisley town centre will once again be at the centre of a scooter spectacular when the ever-popular ModStuff event returns to the annual Spree festival.

Burger and Keg in Paisley sponsor MOD event at Paisley Spree 2018

The annual festival-within-a-festival – run by LNP Promotions – celebrates all things Mod and Northern Soul, and will again take over the Spiegeltent in County Square on Saturday 20 October.

As well as all-day musical entertainment, the event will see around 70 scooters gather in County Square in the afternoon before riding out and around the town.

This year ModStuff will be sponsored by local bar Burger and Keg – based around the corner in Gilmour Street – who will be hosting three DJ nights from Friday 19 to Sunday 21, including the official ModStuff aftershow party on the Saturday.

Burger and Keg in Paisley sponsor MOD event at Paisley Spree 2018

This year’s scooter rideout – run in partnership with Paisley Vespa Club – will be raising funds for Renfrewshire Carers Centre, with Burger&Keg sponsoring competitions for the best scooters, including furthest-travelled and best-dressed.

ModStuff sees two Spiegeltent shows on the Saturday – a free afternoon one (12 to 5pm) featuring Lemon Soul, START! and Dexy’s Tribute Band, and a now-sold-out evening show with Absolute Jam, Les BOF! and The Signatures.

The Spree festival is run by Renfrewshire Council and is now in its seventh year. Acts appearing this year include Martha Reeves & The Vandellas, London African Gospel Choir, Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi, The Orb, Gang of Four, Wolfgang Flür (ex Kraftwerk), Big Minds, The Wandering Hearts, Tracyanne & Danny, The Pastels, Vieux Farka Touré, The Leisure Society, Duke Special, Aidan Moffat & RM Hubbert, Gillebrìde MacMillan, Des Clarke, Janey Goldey and Stuart Mitchell.

Gary Kerr of LNP Promotions said: “We are delighted to be bringing ModStuff back to The Spree once again – the event grows in popularity every year.

“The evening show sold out weeks ago but we would encourage people to come down for the afternoon and enjoy the free show and the spectacle of the scooter rideout.

“People will be travelling from across Scotland to take part and we are delighted to be raising funds for a great cause in Renfrewshire Carers Centre. We’d also like to thank Burger and Keg for their support.

“Between ModStuff and all the other Spree events happening the day, it’s set to be a great Saturday for Paisley town centre.”

Trevor Mills, owner of Burger and Keg, added: “ModStuff weekend is one of the highlights in the Paisley calendar and we are excited to be working alongside LNP, who have done a fantastic job growing this event with the help of the very supportive and thriving Mod scene.

“We have been granted a late licence over Spree weekends and will have our own DJ playing the classics Friday and Sunday as well as hosting NNE’s Strictly Vinyl ModStuff playing the music as it was originally intended on the old 45s.”

Details of full programmes and ticket information for The Spree, The Wee Spree and the Spree for All are available at www.thespree.co.uk or from the festival box office at 9b Gilmour Street, Paisley PA1 1DG.

Paisley’s Spree festival is hitting the road – with the Spree for All fringe festival taking some of the area’s finest musical talent to all corners of Renfrewshire.

The events – taking place from 12 to 21 October – includes music, comedy, theatre and much more, totalling 87 shows over 10 days in 17 venues across five towns and villages.

Much of the main Spree action will take place in the iconic Spiegeltent in Paisley’s County Square, with big names such as Martha Reeves and the Vandellas and Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi appearing in Paisley Town Hall.

But the Spree for All will also see the action spread into pubs and clubs throughout the area.

A series of free shows will bring some of the best musical acts in the area to Johnstone’s Hazel Bar (Fri 12 Oct), Linwood Bowling Club (Sat 13 Oct), Lochwinnoch’s Lochbarr Leisure Centre (Sat 13 Oct) and Renfrew’s Victoria Bar (Sat 20 Oct)

And there’s also a platform for unsigned talent through the Danny Kyle Stage – run in honour of the Paisley folk music legend by Celtic Music FM – which will be in Paisley’s Old Swan Inn each day from Mon 15 to Sat 20 Oct.

Other Spree for All highlights include:

– a series of three late-night DJ nights at Paisley’s Burger&Keg bar (Fri 19 to Sun 21 Oct), including the after-party of the ever-popular ModStuff show on the Saturday;

– Lochwinnoch’s McKillop Hall will host the Alistair McCulloch Trio and Howlin’ Radio (Fri 19 Oct), supported by Lochwinnoch Arts Festival and the local organising committee for Paisley’s Royal National Mod in 2022;

– local promoters Scottish Fiction will host a night in Paisley’s Bungalow Bar (Sat 13 Oct) featuring alternative rock acts Foreignfox, Mt Doubt, Acrylic and Home$lice;

– RockUs Community Choir (motto: ‘sing yourself happy’) performing a free afternoon show in the Spiegeltent (Mon 15 Oct);

– local singer Johnny Barr will bring his popular open-mic nights to Paisley pubs Burger&Keg (Weds 17 Oct) and Manhattan’s (Thurs 18 Oct);

The Wee Spree programme of shows for kids also includes Cosmpot – a kids theatre show which will tour Paisley town centre, Foxbar, Johnstone, Renfrew and Linwood over the October school week, while National Theatre of Scotland’s unique Do’s and Don’ts show will take the audience of a tour of Renfrewshire in a special truck.

The Spree is run by Renfrewshire Council, whose head of marketing, communications and events Louisa Mahon said: “The Spree is now a fixture in an annual calendar which has made Paisley one of Scotland’s go-to destinations for major events in recent years.

“And we are delighted to be spreading the benefits around Renfrewshire, with a series of shows taking place in different towns and villages.

“The council’s events programme has already put £1.25m into the area’s economy this year – and with The Spree and the big winter events of Halloween, Fireworks and the Christmas Lights Switch-ons coming up in the next few weeks, that will rise further.”

The Spree festival is now in its seventh year. Acts appearing this year include Martha Reeves & The Vandellas, London African Gospel Choir, Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi, The Orb, Gang of Four, Wolfgang Flür (ex Kraftwerk), Big Minds, The Wandering Hearts, Tracyanne & Danny, The Pastels, Vieux Farka Touré, The Leisure Society, Duke Special, Aidan Moffat & RM Hubbert, Gillebrìde MacMillan, Des Clarke, Janey Goldey and Stuart Mitchell.

Details of full programmes and ticket information for The Spree, The Wee Spree and the Spree for All are available at www.thespree.co.uk or from the festival box office at 9b Gilmour Street, Paisley PA1 1DG.

A visit to Paisley’s Observatory gave theatre director Clare McGarry the inspiration for a new children’s show that will be touring locally next month.

Clare is the Artist in Residence at Paisley Arts Centre and had the beginnings of an idea to create a show for children that was set inside a teapot.

Then she was given a tour of the Observatory and saw a photograph of a group of the brightest stars in the Sagittarius constellation called The Teapot and that was a light bulb moment for Clare.

She explains: “I’d been toying with the idea of making a show set inside a teapot when, as part of my residency at Paisley Arts Centre I was given a tour of the Observatory.

“On the way up the stairs the tour guide paused to point out a photo of he Teapot constellation of Sagittarius. It felt like one of those magical moments when it was just meant to be and I love the idea there will be a link to one of the iconic buildings in the town.”

The show for five to eight year olds is called Cosmopot and tells the story of a young boy called Chip, who lives with his mum and has an impressive of space. One day Chip clumsily knocks over his mum’s precious teapot and it smashes to pieces.

That night Chip sees The Teapot constellation through his telescope and decides to build a rocket and travel into space and find a replacement teapot for his mum.

Clare reveals the names of two of the main characters in the show – Chip and Mrs Silver – came from children from Gallowhill Primary School.

Clare, who is also the lead artist in the Cosmopot continues: “The whole show takes place inside a teapot and encourages the audience to interact at various points of the performance.

“The inside of the teapot dome where the show takes place will be multi-sensory with the set design and visually spectacular lighting effects.

“Cosmopot is a truly magical experience for children as I believe live theatre like this should always be about firing young imaginations.

Cosmopot is presented by Paisley Arts Centre in association with Imaginate as part of Paisley’s The Spree festival and is funded by Creative Scotland

Cosmopot opens at Paisley Arts Centre on Saturday and Sunday October 13 and 14 at 10.30am and 1.30m. The show then goes on to play Foxbar Community Centre on Wednesday, October 17 at 1.30pm; Tweedie Hall, Linwood, on Thursday, October 18 at 1.30pm.

The show also plays Renfrew Town Hall, on Friday, October 19, at 1.30pm and Johnstone Town Hall on Saturday, October 20, at 1.30pm and Sunday, October 21 at 10.30am and 1.30pm. Tickets costing only £4 are available online at www.renfrewshireleisure.com/arts or by calling 0300 300 1210.