In the two years since Paisley launched its bid to be crowned UK City of Culture 2021, the town has discovered a new found optimism and confidence.

Paisley was shortlisted for the title in July, along with Coventry, Stoke-on-Trent, Sunderland and Swansea. A decision by competition organisers the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is expected next month.

Since the town officially declared its title ambitions at Paisley Abbey on November 13, 2015, as part of a wider plan to transform the area, more than 34,000 people have been involved in the conversation around the bid.

Paisley Fireworks 4.11.17

Paisley’s popular events calendar has seen a marked increase of over 34,000 visitor numbers in 2017 so far – with a number of fantastic events still to take place in the town before the end of the year. The town’s major events have also seen a 37% increase in visitors from out with Renfrewshire.

Sharon McAulay from the award winning Paisley-based community initiative, the STAR Project, said: “The impact of the bid so far has been huge.

“When we were shortlisted attitudes literally changed overnight. People believe that we can actually do this, that Paisley is so much more than a bunch of negative statistics.

Diageo are backing the Paisley 2021 bid with special johnnie walker bottles pic shows gavin and Jean

“This bid is a real opportunity for us to show the world that Paisley is ready to be put back on the map.

“Our members have been talking about how winning will not just benefit them, but also their children and their children’s children too, so there is a real sense of future change and opportunity for all.”

More than 200 local businesses and a raft of sponsors have also backed the bid. Companies with international links including Glasgow Airport, drinks giants Diageo and Chivas Brothers have pledged funding totalling £260,000 if Paisley wins the title in December.

Major milestones have included the town hosting the British Pipe Band Championships, with Paisley also welcoming the Royal National Mod in either 2021 or 2022.

Home grown star Paolo Nutini hosted a triumphant homecoming concert at Paisley Abbey in October as part of this year’s annual Spree Festival.

Local dance company Right 2 Dance brought internationally renowned choreographer Sir Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures & Re:Bourne company to Paisley to deliver a week-long series of workshops and work with young people in the town.

School children from across Renfrewshire also set a new world record for the largest ever architecture lesson. Using coding game Minecraft, 406 pupils from eight local primary schools were guided through a history of Paisley’s architecture and learned how to create buildings using code.

Paisley 2021 Bid Director Jean Cameron said: “Paisley’s connections throughout the UK and the rest of the world have continued to grow and grow in the two years since the bid was launched. We have seen Paisley designers showcase their work at London Craft Week and reach new markets from their base in the town.

“There have also been a number of international link-ups, including the opening concert of this year’s Spree arts festival which twinned with the Rajasthan International Folk Festival in India.

“We have initiated cultural conversations at Westminster and thanks to our £1m Culture, Heritage and Events Fund, the local creative scene is benefitting from new national partnerships.

“Launching the bid has generated a positive outlook for the future in the town and surrounding areas. Hosting the title could also create the equivalent of 4,700 jobs over ten years and provide a £175m economic boost to the local economy.

“We have so much to offer and winning the title will show why Paisley matters, not just to Scotland, but to the UK and the world.”

The Paisley 2021 campaign has also helped boost the town’s global links – and even to outer space when a patch of the Paisley Pattern was sent on board a rocket bound for the International Space Station in July 2016.

Alan McNiven, the CEO of community group Engage Renfrewshire, said: “The bid for Paisley to be City of Culture 2021 has created an atmosphere of energised excitement – and that energy has created countless amazing, emotional moments over the last two years.

“The Paisley 2021 movement has provided fantastic opportunities for local engagement and we’ve heard thousands of Paisley voices describing their enthusiastic support for the UK City of Culture 2021 campaign.

“It has captured the community’s growing confidence in a brighter future for Paisley. “

Paisley First, the organisation which represents hundreds of local businesses, has backed the town’s bid to be named UK City of Culture 2021.

Paisley first and local businesses support Paisley 2021 bid for UK City of Culture 7.11.17
Pic with Lion L to R
Ken MacDonald (Houston Kiltmakers), Jean Cameron (Paisley 2021), Graeme McGowan (MSM Solicitors), Thomas Sinclair (JewelFare), Provost Lorraine Cameron, Colette Cardosi (Pendulum), Ian Henderson (Paisley First)

The non-profit organisation set up to deliver a Business Improvement District (BID) in the town centre, has joined a wide range of companies who have agreed to provide funding should Paisley take the title.

Paisley first and local businesses support Paisley 2021 bid for UK City of Culture 7.11.17
Pic with Lion L to R
Ken MacDonald (Houston Kiltmakers), Jean Cameron (Paisley 2021), Graeme McGowan (MSM Solicitors), Thomas Sinclair (JewelFare), Provost Lorraine Cameron, Colette Cardosi (Pendulum), Ian Henderson (Paisley First)

The group works with more than 600 businesses from within Paisley town centre, including both property owners and commercial tenants.

Paisley 2021 Bid Director Jean Cameron said: “The response we have had from businesses both locally and with international links has been phenomenal and we are delighted to welcome Paisley First as one of our valued sponsors.

“It works for and on behalf of literally hundreds of local businesses and so to have a commitment from them just shows the scale of the support for the bid as we head towards a decision.

“Local businesses recognise both the economic and cultural benefits of a winning bid, not least the extra footfall it would bring to the town centre.

“ Since Hull took the title in 2017, it has seen £1bn of investment with the city attracting 1.4m visitors in just the first three months of the year.”

The UK Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is due to announce the UK City of Culture 2021 winner next month. The other shortlisted contenders are Coventry, Stoke, Sunderland and Swansea.

Renfrewshire Provost Lorraine Cameron also welcomed the latest sponsor and added: “It’s great to see an organisation with the reach of Paisley First locally come on board as we head towards a decision on UK City of Culture 2021.”

Paisley First, which drew an estimated 20,000 people with its Pride of Paisley public art trail last summer, has also launched its new Makers Space as part of a plan to boost creativity in the town’s artisan sector

Paisley First Chairman, Ian Henderson, said: “There is a real feeling of positivity on the streets of the town centre and this is in no small part due to the success of Paisley being shortlisted for the UK City of Culture 2021.

“Everyone at Paisley First is working hard to help confirm Paisley’s reputation as a business location and further enhance the town centre as a visitor destination.

“It’s vital that all businesses work together now to support the Paisley 2021 team as they enter the final stages in their bid to be appointed UK City of Culture – what a boost that would be for the town.”

To date the Paisley 2021 bid has attracted 13 bid sponsors, including internationally-important names such as Glasgow Airport, intu Braehead, drinks giants Diageo and Chivas Brothers as well as the world’s largest thread manufacturers, Coats PLC.

Leading science company Thermo Fisher Scientific, Paisley based Mac Asphalt and Clark Contracts and the Renfrewshire-based Scottish Leather Group have all also thrown their weight behind the bid.

Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce, Morrison Construction and the Gordon Leslie Group have all also pledged their support to back the town’s ambitions.

Africa in Motion is Scotland’s major annual celebration of African cinema, and is delighted to return for the 12th year to bring audiences a wide variety of creative stories from across the African continent.

 

In support of Paisley 2021 this year the festival is moving outside of the city centre, packing its mobile cinema and heading to Paisley. Through partnerships with West of Scotland Regional Equality Council and Pachedu, AiM has been able to work with the local community to support them in curating their own mini-festival.

The pop-up festival will screen a diverse film programme for everyone to enjoy. The day will start with a selection of short films for children as curious-minded little ones can become intrepid AfriKids by taking a cinematic adventure across the wild and wonderful African continent. This will be followed by an afternoon screening of the Kenya feature film Watatu, a film focused on a young university graduate struggling with discrimination. Finally the day will draw to a close with a screening of new documentary, Fonko, merging urban club sounds with traditional African music, Fonko tells the stories of Africa as heard from some of the most innovative musicians on the continent. This screening will be followed by an open mic night.

 

Accompanying film screenings will also be craft making, an African fashion show and the chance to try a few African tasty treats throughout the day.

 

All of the events are free to attend and will take place at St Ninians Church, Paisley on Saturday 11th of November 2017. The full programme can be found here: https://www.africa-in-motion.org.uk/year-round-cinema/venue/104

Thousands turned out to enjoy a dazzling display as Paisley’s annual fireworks spectacular went off with a bang this weekend.

The town’s historic skyline lit up in the extravaganza which delighted the gathered crowds of more than 25,000 when it burst into life on Saturday night, accompanied by an 80s soundtrack.

The themed event took place as part of Paisley’s Winter Festival as the town bids to be named UK City of Culture 2021.

Each of the town’s rivals – Coventry, Stoke, Sunderland and Swansea – were given a surprise musical shout outs across the day.

The soundtrack to the display itself referenced Sunderland with ‘Sweet Dreams’ by the Eurythmics in celebration of the duo’s Dave Stewart, who hails from the city.

Stoke’s musical heritage was marked with ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ by Guns N’ Roses from 1987 in honour of guitarist Slash who was born in the city and spent his formative years there, while ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ from Bonnie Tyler was the musical nod given to Swansea. ‘One Step Beyond’ by Madness marked Coventry’s moment to celebrate its’ links with ska music and Paisley’s own musical heritage was celebrated with local star Kelly Marie’s 1980 hit, ‘Feels Like I’m in Love.’

Radio Clyde DJs Callum Gallacher and Grant & Amber earlier added to the musical fun, with George Bowie & Cassi also playing 80s classics leading up to the dazzling display, introduced by Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron.

Earlier in the day revellers enjoyed a host of 80s themed free family fun, including a silent disco, kids workshops and retro arcade games.

Remode Redesign ran fabric print workshops using a range of 80s games themed wooden blocks, while a silent disco saw two sets of music fans of all ages dance to different soundtracks through headsets.

Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021 is part of a wider push to use the town’s unique heritage and cultural story to transform the whole of the Renfrewshire area.

Paisley 2021 Bid Director Jean Cameron said: “This year’s display was nothing short of spectacular and it was great to see so many of the community come into the town centre to enjoy it.

“Seeing the fireworks against the back drop of Paisley Abbey really is something special and as we bid to be named UK City of Culture 2021 it’s a great reminder of how Paisley is capable of staging events such as this one.

“We were also delighted to pay special tributes to our fellow UK City of Culture 2021 rivals with a musical shout out at one of our biggest annual events.

“It seemed fitting to give a nod to them all – and to also mark our own home grown musical talent.”

The fireworks display follows the Halloween festival and parade in the town centre and precedes the Paisley Christmas Lights Switch-On on November 18.

To hear the spectacular 80s fireworks soundtrack by DJ Gerry Lyons go to:  Fire 2017 Wav 16bit by gerry lyons

Photographs of Paisley Fireworks Display 2017. Thousand’s turned up to tonight’s event. Paisley was packed and the 80’s music went down a storm with families with the kids being stunned by the powerful display held at the heart of Paisley’s Historic centre.

The photographs above were taken by Ian McDonald Photography and kindly allowed for use on www.paisley.org.uk

Thousands are expected to turn out to see Paisley’s historic skyline light up in the annual fireworks extravaganza this Saturday.

With Paisley the only Scottish place on the shortlist for the UK City of Culture 2021, the 80s themed event will show the town knows how to stage a huge event, with a silent disco, kids workshops and retro arcade games.

The twenty minute fireworks spectacular will burst into life across the Paisley skies from 7pm, accompanied by an 80s soundtrack.

Radio Clyde DJs Callum Gallacher and Grant & Amber will be playing classics from the decade from 4pm, with George & Cassi also playing 80s classics from 6pm at Paisley Town Hall leading up to the dazzling display.

The funs starts in Paisley Town Hall from 2pm, with a series of free family activities throughout the afternoon.

Remode Redesign will run workshops where participants will print fabric using a range of 80s games themed wooden blocks and create their own pencil case or make up bag.

Numbers are limited to 20 per session and the free event starts at 2pm.

The 80s themed silent disco kicks off on the ground floor at 2pm, where two sets of music fans of all ages dance to different music played through headsets.

The sessions are suitable for all ages and will run throughout the afternoon.

At the end of each one, the best dressed 80s costume or best dancer will win a prize.

Kids drop in workshops start at 2pm in the Artmania zone, with crafts suitable for pre-schoolers to kids of Primary 4 and beyond.

All of the workshops should be booked through Eventbrite.

Arcade games will continue the 80s theme, with iconic favourites like Pac- Man, Space Invaders and Donkey Kong available to pit your skills against.

Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021 is part of a wider push to use the town’s unique heritage and cultural story to transform the whole of the Renfrewshire area.

The town is on the shortlist alongside Coventry, Stoke, Sunderland and Swansea.

Paisley 2021 Bid Director Jean Cameron said: “It’s great to be able to showcase Paisley as a large scale events venue as we bid for UK City of Culture 2021.

“Big events like these show our proven capacity to host big crowds and Paisley town centre makes a unique venue, especially with the back drop of the Abbey.”

Residents should be aware that a series of road closures will be put in place from early on Saturday 4th November at Gauze Street, St Mirren Street, Cotton Street, Lawn Street and Smithhills Street until after the event.

County Place, Gilmour Street, High Street and Bridge Street will be closed in places, while Abbey Close and the Lagoon South Car Park will be closed.

From 3.30pm, Seedhill Road  will be closed in places, with Causeyside Street to follow from 4.30pm onwards, while Mill Street will  be closed from Lonend to Bank Street from 6.45pm.

The fireworks display follows the Halloween festival and parade in the town centre and precedes the Paisley Christmas Lights Switch-On on November 18.

For more information and to book go to: http://www.paisley2021.co.uk/paisleys-winter-festival/fireworks-spectacular/

Twelve aspiring music stars who wrote songs to capture what Paisley means to them have had their original works recorded for a special album to mark the town’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021.

2021 Album Bands play at the Spiegltent in Paisley 23.10.17

The compositions make up Paisley 2021: The Album, which was launched last night, with performances by all the artists (Monday 23 October) to a sold out audience in the Spiegeltent at The Spree festival, with former River City star Tom Urie acting as event compere.

The only stipulation was that the songs had to be about the town or Renfrewshire and had to be an original work.

Profits from the record, which was funded by a grant from the Paisley 2021 Culture, Events and Heritage fund, will be shared equally among the 12 singer songwriters.

Alan McEwan from Brick Lane Studios who recorded the album and whose brainchild it was, said: “When we put the call out for local musicians to submit original songs we didn’t know what the demand would be like. But we had about 25 applications from people who wanted to be part of the album and whittled it down to 12.

“The album is very diverse – we’ve got traditional and folk music to rock and pop and even a world percussion band. There’s a real variety of music talking about Paisley’s past, present and future and the initial feedback is fantastic.”

Alan added: “It’s a great way of supporting local musicians as it’s giving them an income from their time on the project and its giving them exposure as well. They’re getting music videos and air play as part of the project – Celtic Music Radio are making it album of the week next week.”

Arhythmia Grooves featuring Samadhisoundscapes kicked off the evening with ‘Threads’ and other artists performing last night included Mandulu and Hephzibah, who were one of the support acts for Paolo Nutini at his sell out Homecoming show at Paisley Abbey last Friday.

Paisley based singer songwriter Matt Fotheringham, aka the Highway Chile, showcased ‘Patterns’ while three piece The Pilgrim Society from the University of the West of Scotland played their song ‘Welcome to Paisley’.

Local 24-year-old acoustic pop artist Linzi Clark loved every minute of her time on stage and hailed the opportunity to write her Paisley 2021 album track, called ‘Gallow Green.’

It is based on how seven people were found guilty in the infamous witch trials of 1697. They were sentenced to death in the last mass execution for witchcraft in western Europe.

Linzi said: “I’m born and bred in Paisley, I have been writing my own songs since I was 17 and I saw this opportunity and thought it would be a good challenge.

“There has already been an increase in opportunities for young artists and performers in Renfrewshire since the bid began. Paisley has a rich history of talented musicians and the bid has provided an opportunity to showcase the next generation coming through.”

There were other songs by Dogtooth, by music composer Alan Fleming Baird who recorded the ‘The Secret Tear (Tannahill)’ and by Evelyn Laurie, whose song Keep Your Eye on Paisley was warmly received.

Evelyn said: “I was honoured to add my voice to this album as making music is what Paisley is all about. The town has always been full of talent. When I was a college student in Paisley everyone played music – we just didn’t realise that was culture.”

Maria McMillan, Christy Scott and Seve Smith all also showcased their original work before the Hellfire Club, featuring Meadows rounded off the night’s entertainment with their track ‘The Bungalow Bar’ in tribute to the popular music venue.

An initial release of 1,000 copies of the album – complete with artwork designed by West College Scotland students – have gone on sale at £8 each and are available from Feel the Groove and The Music Centre, the InCube shop and Brick Lane Studios, all in Paisley.

Paisley 2021 Bid Director Jean Cameron said: “The album is a fantastic way of helping to nurture fledgling local talent and to give them a stage, as well as supporting the Paisley 2021 UK City of Culture bid.”

Paisley is the only Scottish place to be included on the shortlist for UK City of Culture 2021 with a decision on the winner to be announced in December by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, which is running the competition.

The Spree takes place in partnership with local bar Burger and Keg and Fosters.

The festival is also supported by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate, and the British Council.

Private sector companies have pledged almost a quarter of a million pounds so far to back Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021.

A dozen companies with links to the town have given the bid their backing by promising £20,000 each – a total of £240,000 – if Paisley takes the title.

Companies of international standing including drinks giants Diageo and Coats, the world’s leading industrial thread manufacturer, have thrown their weight behind the bid.
As well as the combined financial pledge, some have come up with ingenious ways of showcasing their support.

Diageo are backing the Paisley 2021 bid with special johnnie walker bottles pic shows gavin and Jean

Diageo created specially crafted bottles of Johnnie Walker designed with the Paisley 2021 logo. The limited editions were created by workers at the world’s biggest Scotch bottling plant in Renfrewshire.
Haulage firm Gordon Leslie created a special truck emblazoned with the Paisley 2021 logo, which has travelled the length and breadth of the UK.

Glasgow International Airport displayed a Paisley-themed artwork on the floor of the check-in area.
Paisley company Mac Asphalt have also backed the bid, along with biotechnology company Thermo Fisher Scientific.

Whisky firm Chivas Brothers and the Bridge of Weir based Scottish Leather Group are also on board, while Morrison Construction, one of Scotland’s leading contractors and Paisley First, the non profit organisation set up to revitalise the town centre have also has backed the town’s bid to be named UK City of Culture 2021.

Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce also pledged to support the town’s year in the spotlight  while  intu Braehead even staged a special Paisley 2021 day.

It’s estimated that hosting the title could bring in a £175m economic boost for the local economy and create the equivalent of more than 4,700 jobs over a ten-year period.

Paisley 2021 Bid Director Jean Cameron said: “I would like to extend a huge thank you to all of our bid sponsors. It’s an honour to have so many companies on board from across Renfrewshire and beyond, some of whom have significant international links.

“Their backing shows what a real team effort the bid is and demonstrates the scale of support from the business community as we bid to be UK City of Culture 2021.

“This investment also shows Paisley is ready to host – along with the guarantee of funding from the Scottish Government should we win, and the £45.7m investment in our venues and town centre now confirmed by Renfrewshire Council.

“Public sector investment is happening and private sector investment will follow.
“Hull, this year’s host of UK of City of Culture, has seen more than £1billion of investment since taking the title in 2013.”

Paisley is the only Scottish place on the UK City of Culture shortlist and is joined by Coventry, Stoke, Sunderland and Swansea, with the winner to be announced in December.

Speaking on behalf of all the businesses, Bob Grant, Chief Executive of Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “The local business community has embraced the chance to get involved with Paisley’s UK City of Culture 2021 bid.

“Winning the title would bring a great economic boost to the area with a year long programme of events and all the benefits that would bring.

“The fact that Paisley has been shortlisted has already raised the town’s profile and promoted it as a tourist destination, as well as a great place to live, work and invest.”

Local artists are putting their own stamp on the Spree Festival with a project to decorate the famous Spiegeltent venue.

Sign writers and a graffiti artist are working on a series of hoardings at County Square.

Artists Rachael Millar and Karina Duncan spruce up The Spree with their amazing hand painted signs around the famous Speigletent Paisley Spree 14th October 2017

Rachel Millar, whose signage work has been championed by Paisley star Paolo Nutini , says  it’s one of the biggest scale projects she’s ever worked on.

Rachel, who also created one of the art works which fronted the official documents for the Paisley 2021 UK City of Culture bid, said: “We’ve made great progress.

“The sheer scale of it was quite hard and it was tricky to put up the big massive bits of paper but we hope people will love the end result.”

This year’s artwork was inspired by circus poster from the 1920s and 1930s and the baroque artwork of the wood and canvas Spiegeltent itself.

Festival goers are being greeted by a seven metre sign reading  ‘Welcome to the Spree’ with another massive hoarding is covered in slogans.

Rachel is assisted by fellow sign writers Karina Duncan and Ciaran Globel, while graffiti artist Mark Worst is also decorating another of the hoardings in his signature style.

Mark is behind a series of murals across the town including a Kingfisher at Johnston Street and one of iconic music stars on the side of Paisley rock bar The Bungalow

Fellow artist Kevin Cantwell has also created smaller scale artworks on the High Street and at the Little Book Transfer at Gilmour Street Station.

The artists created the works to mark Paisley’s national festival, which runs until Tuesday October 24.

It takes place as part of the push for the town’s bid to be named the UK City of Culture 2021.

This year features some of the biggest names in the Scottish worlds of entertainment, music and comedy, including a sold-out homecoming show from Paolo Nutini at Paisley Abbey on Friday.

Other acts on the bill include James Grant at Paisley Abbey and singer songwriter Dougie MacLean.

Paisley 2021 Bid Director Jean Cameron said: “It’s wonderful to attract such big names from the national stage to the Spree Festival  as we bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 but it’s also important to give a platform to local artists and creatives too.”

The Spree is taking place in partnership with local bar Burger and Keg and Fosters, who will be programming additional acts in the Burger and Keg Live Tent in Abbey Close during the festival. More info can be found at burgerandkeg.co.uk.

The festival is also supported by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate, and the British Council.

Tickets and info are available from www.thespree.co.uk and from the box office on 0300 300 1210.

One lucky reader can win a pair of tickets for the Paisley 2021 album launch in the Spiegeltent on Monday October 23.

Part of the annual Spree festival, the event from Brick Lane Records features 12 great local acts including Linzi Clark and Christy Scott performing their specially written tracks celebrating the town’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021.

To win, simply answer the question below and email answers to brian@paisley.org.uk

  1. Where does the Paisley Album Launch show take place?    

The Spree Festival runs until October 24 and features a fantastic bill of music, comedy, film, theatre and much, much more packed into various venues across the town.

It comes as Paisley bids to be UK City of Culture 2021, with a decision expected from the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport this December.

For more information and tickets for the Spree go to www.thespree.co.uk or call the box office on 0300 300 1210.