MugStock

mugstock pic

Spreading the love this summer is MugStock: Glasgow’s not- for profit festival. Situated (north of the city) in Mugdock Country Park; the boutique gig offers camping, music, and arts over August 7- 9.

Although in its debut year, the festival already expects 2,000 revellers.

MugStock Co-organiser, Kat Borrowdale said: “MugStock is something truly unique – a small festival that is close to Glasgow, but feels like a different world.

“The festival will have extraordinary occurrences including: a kazoo conga-line, pop-up fortune tellers and circus acts. All this will be accompanied by local and internationally -acclaimed music.”

MugStock’s musical highlights include its headliners Beats Antique who will play the Erne Parkin Stage, as well as the alternative artist Dodgy, who will be taking the Yellow Movement Tent.

Borrowdale added: “We’ve got music you can dance to from Colonel Mustard & the Dijon 5; as well as sunny nostalgia from Samba Ya Bamba, delicate songwriting from Siobhan Wilson and female rock from The Amorettes.”

As well as this there will be chilled music at the Jolly Lovely Stage, a family area, camping, and art installations throughout the venue; in association with A for Audi.

As well as wall art guests can enjoy a sculpture trail, poetry, cabaret, pop-up theatre, zombie science, storytelling and even Shakespeare!

Borrowdale said: “We aim to give MugStockers plenty of excellent stories to relate, as well as music to enjoy.”

This sentiment is extended to junior MugStockers, as the family area includes activities like: science workshops, Capoeira, crafts and a Mini Muddy Disco.

After dancing festival goers can refresh with food from on-site cafes, such as Chipstix, and craft beverages from the likes of Thistly Cross.

Borrowdale concluded: “The festival will be an incredible experience. Guests will want to tell the story of their time at the very first MugStock.”

Revellers can buy weekend tickets from £67 and day tickets from £35; before grabbing a MugStock bus from Glasgow George Square, for £5.

West End Beer Festival

WEBF

The first annual West End Beer Festival is pitching up in Glasgow from July 31 – August 1.

Situated in Hughenden grounds – at Hillhead Sports Club – the festival will be sheltered from the elements, and include bars by Cafe Source Too and Good Spirits, as well stalls from visiting breweries.

West End Beer Festival organiser Conor McGeady said: “Some of the best Central Belt breweries will be attending, including three Glasgow companies only one year old!”

The Event will run in three sessions over two days; launching from 5-11:30pm on Friday, then reopening from 12 – 4.30pm on Saturday family day, before concluding 5-11:30pm that night.

Entry to the festival is £6, or £4 for members of CAMRA and Hillhead Sports Club; all guests get a free festival glass.

Yet drinking isn’t the festival’s only feature, it will also host folk music (by Babbity Bowsters’ bands) and family- day face painting by Lisa Good.

While being entertained guests can enjoy BBQ food, with a choice of beer from nine Scottish breweries.

These breweries include: Stewart Brewing, Jaw Brew, Ayr Brewing, Monolith, Floodline Brewing; Williams Brothers; Tryst; Fallen Alechemy and Fyne Ales.

McGeady said: “You never know what crazy collaborations Fyne Ales will pull out of the hat!

“And our three new Glasgow Breweries are sure to turn heads; Monolith Brewing with their outstanding Belwether IPA; Floodline with their Fearless Nadia IPA; and Jaw Brew with the impeccable Wave Wheat Beer.”

He added: “We also have great guest beers on our bar and a selection of beers from America, England and Europe at and Good Spirits bar.”

McGeady explained that Café Source has been serving cask ales and craft beers for around four years; instilling a passion that birthed the West End Beer Festival.

He said: “As Glasgow demand for craft beer grew I started to organise meet- the- brewer tastings that showcased different Scottish breweries.”

From there McGeady noticed a gap in the market for bigger events in Glasgow’s West End.

He explained: “There was the Paisley Beer Festival, as well as the Glasgow City Centre events: CAMRAS Real Ale Fest, and Hippo’s Great Scottish Beer Celebration; but there was nothing of the sort in the West End.”

So McGeady set out to create a West End Beer Festival. However, he knew it would have to meet Scotland’s high hospitality standards.

He said: “I have been attending Scottish drinks events over the last couple of years and the standard is amazing.

“Having enjoyed many well informed tastings – at events like Fyne Fest – I have found there is a thriving beer scene in Glasgow.”

And to prove McGeady’s point the West End Beer Festival has sold over 700 tickets.

He concluded: “Scotland is pushing to the fore of a global beer movement, the likes of which we have never seen. So people should come down to the festival and support the innovative companies making this happen.

“Visitors can have a beer and some fun.”

West End Beer Festival tickets can be bought at Cafe Source Too bisto, and Good Spirits Co shop.

Lisbon

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With our hearts set on a music festival, seven friends and I booked a week in July to Lisbon. Liberdade was our area of choice for its proximity to the venue; but there was a catch, it was ‘save- a- year-ahead’ expensive.

Being Portugal-virgins we had unwittingly booked accommodation in its premier shopping district. So bedraggled from the plane, we did the walk of shame past Gucci to reach our hotel foyer.

Staying

Since none of the group was shopaholics, our motive for choosing NH Lisboa Liberdade was simple, it had a pool. The thought of a city break in 30 degrees heat was too much for my Scottish soul so, like a prima donna, I pushed for a pool.

Having assessed the competition, we decided that Lisboa Liberdade had not only the best pool (for our budget) but best balconies. However, we soon realised not all balconies were created equal (two of our crew hit jackpot with room 803’s huge terrace).

Contending with balcony envy, the hotel staff consoled us with travel advice and charm in excellent English.

This charm extended to the rooms, which had spacious interiors, comfy beds, decent bathrooms and mini bars.

Mini bar prices were enough to make us shudder, but the hotel’s surrounding shops had surprisingly cheap fare to substitute.

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Dining

Cheap prices continued in Lisbon’s pubs and bistros. With a beer around three euros, bottles of wine for ten, and cocktails for five; Lisbon’s bars were a joy.

To digest both drinks and cityscape we headed to Bairro Alto (an alfresco area). On Bairro Alto’s plaza we chose the further of two open-air bars, to enjoy sugar cane cocktails while listening to buskers. The music perfectly complimented the plaza’s fountain and vantage point.

Across the road from the plaza we found The Decadent a bistro that, despite its name, was a reasonably priced. Its earthy interior provided respite, along with tasty cornbread, cocktails and seafood.

Seafood also stole the show at Pinóquio, a restaurant across the road from Restauradores Metro station. With packed tables, Portuguese dialogue, and tanks full of crabs it provided perfect taste of local life.

Another local treat surfaced near Cais do Sodré Metro, where we tracked down Mercado da Ribeira: Lisbon’s fab food fete. Here deli, drinks and dining units offer visitors a choice of global cuisine at cafeteria tables.

With a huge range of stalls as well as desert, wine and chocolate shops, we enjoyed post- dinner shopping.

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Music

High spirits continued at Nos Alive music festival, which filled three of our seven nights in Lisbon. Situated in Passeio Marítimo de Algés (a 15 minute drive from Liberdade) the festival had four stages, indoor toilets, food, bars and walking beer tenders.

With headline acts including: The Prodigy, Muse and Mumford and Sons, Nos Alive 15 tickets were surprisingly cheap (costing £90 for all three nights). Each night ran until 3am, providing miles better value than a UK festival.

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Travel

The only disadvantages of the festival closing at 3am was fighting competition for a taxi home; and suffering a post- midnight fare hike.

Aside from post-festival fares, Lisbon’s taxis were by large cheaper than those of the UK. As were its trams, buses and trains. While only the taxi’s had working air conditioning, each mode of transport had its appeal.

Aero-buses acted as punctual transfers from Lisbon Airport to the districts, while trams offered a vintage view of Lisbon’s ‘seven hills’. For travel outside of Lisbon centre, the trains offered quick and spacious speed.

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Art appreciating

To escape the city, my boyfriend and I boarded a train to Sintra, Lisbon’s neighboring old town.

With regal buildings, museums and cliffs, the area had plenty to see. But we bee-lined to the Quinta da Regaleira, a World Heritage Site complete with chapel, underground tunnels, grotto and Gothic mansion. It really was the stuff of dreams.

The mansion house offered Portuguese history briefs, as well as drawings from the architect’s restoration. With multi-coloured tiles, intricate wooden paneling and fresco painting, signs explained that António Augusto Carvalho Monteiro (Monteiro the Millionaire) bolstered the manor’s splendor, as testament  to Portugal’s golden age.

After two hours of exploring my boyfriend and I resigned ourselves to the journey home, but not before scouring Sintra village’s crafts and wine shops.

As the trip drew to an end the group reflected on all we had done and all that we would have done, had we booked more time. Turns out a week isn’t long enough to see all Lisbon has to offer.

Edinburgh International Film Festival

EIFF

The Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) has cameras rolling and chins wagging with its 69th event.

Opening the festival VIPs – including Robert Carlyle and Ashley Jensen – graced the red carpet for Carlyle’s directorial debut, The Legend of Barney Thomson.

EIFF Recruitment Coordinator Katri Vanhatalo said: “This year’s festival has had a great UK presence, and it has welcomed so many icons of the screen that I feel star-struck!”

Yet the 2015 hype wasn’t all about celebrities, as Vanhatalo explained, it emanated from audience participation.

She said: “This year’s festival is different because it is headquartered at Edinburgh’s Filmhouse cinema; allowing pass-holders and the public a place to share the excitement.”

This interactive spirit started with Film in the City, an EIFF programme of outdoor screenings, which overlap the main festival.

Vanhatalo said: “The screenings take place over two weekends, both of which show family films in a friendly atmosphere.

“On the first weekend there was a dance-a-long show that kept the crowd warm, even in high winds. The outdoor setting brought together film-lovers who wouldn’t otherwise meet.”

This interactivity continues in the festival’s new strand: Doc of the Day; a changing daily feature that explores EIFF non- fiction films, through activities.

Vanhatalo explained: “Doc of the Day will host events like sherry tastings and a rock gig, as well as traditional Q&A discussions.”

This non -fiction focus takes the EIFF back to its 1947 roots; when it was a documentary showcase, held by the Edinburgh Film Guild.

Now the EIFF enjoys the support of Creative Scotland, City of Edinburgh Council, EventScotland, Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund and the British Film Institute.

EIFF prides itself in presenting both factual and fictional films from home and abroad.

Vanhatalo said: “Our programme is filled with films from 44 different countries. Some highlights from this year’s programme are the Mexican movie: 600 Miles from Mexico/USA, German film: Who Am I – No System Is Safe, Canadian/Kiwi horror: Turbo Kid, and the Chinese/American film: The Iron Ministry.”

She added: “We have 34 films in our programme with a Scottish connection.

“The Best of British strand shows new films from Scotland, England and Wales, including: Iona, The Pyramid Texts, The Violators, 45 Years and The Marriage of Reason & Squalor.”

These and many more films will compete in the EIFF Awards Ceremony; in Filmhouse 1, on June 26 (1pm). This event is open to the public and free.

Vanhatalo said: “EIFF has a mixture of free events, special events and events attached to film tickets. We also have special discounts, on multi- film purchases, via the EIFF brochure.”

She concluded: “EIFF has something for all ages. It has the Film Fest Junior strand and Inside Out UK premiere for families; The Young and The Wild strand for 15-19 year- olds; and films of an adult nature for others.”

For information on EIFF 2015 or on joining next year’s – 70th anniversary – celebrations visit the festival website.

Fyne Fest

FyneFestpic

Breaking the cycle of clichéd festivals, Fyne Fest returns for its sixth year of beats, beer and bites.

The boutique festival, running June 12 – 14, is hosting 2000 attendees, over 30 live acts, and 150 craft beers.

This is a long way from its humble roots, as Festival Marketing Manager Chris Black explained.

He said: “Fyne Fest started as a bit of a party around Fyne Ales brewery; celebrating its new and bestselling beers. However, as time passed, it has grown and become a full scale festival with music, entertainment, food and drink.

“The festival is held beside Glen Fyne River, in a site surrounded by hills. It is really stunning; there is nothing like it.”

Black added: “Every year Fyne Ales adds more features to Fyne Fest.”

New features of Fyne Fest 2015 include a Tap Stage in the brewery courtyard, which will host chilled music and a Fyne Fest Pub Quiz.

As well as this, 2015 sees the scenic Walker’s Bar open longer hours, with a bigger area, acoustic music, and food.

Foodies can also catch a break at Fyne Fest’s many stalls.

Black said: “The festival site will have eight different butchers selling their wares, as well as stalls with seafood fresh from Glen Fyne”.

And to compliment this food, craft beer tastings are being held in the Wee Tent (a new sheltered seating area).

Black explained: “Fyne Ales will be showcasing its world-class beers at Fyne Fest; however it will also be working with staff from Good Spirits Glasgow, to run a cocktail bar within the site.

“The cocktail bar is new to Fyne Fest 2015; it will feature an amazing list of drinks all served in a cool setting.”

Once refreshed, guests can dance the weekend away to the many featured acts.

Black said: “On Friday night we have a ska band called Bombskare, who are returning to the festival for their third year running. Bombskare have always been such a massive hit that we had to ask them back for 2015.

“Then we have a Glasgow band called Federation of Disco Pimp playing on Saturday night; they are really funky and bound to get everyone dancing.”

Dancing can continue on Sunday, when the acoustic area hosts the under-16s- jam, handing the stage to young musicians.

Any hangovers the music fails to soothe can be tackled at Zen in the Glen, where Glasgow charity Yogability will run free yoga and meditation sessions.

Further R&R can be gained at Sephora Health and Beauty’s stand, where massages will pamper adults and face-painting amuse children.

Black said: “Fyne Fest welcomes guests of all ages; kids under 16 go free, and this year we have special entertainment for them.

“The atmosphere is great; everyone brings their kids and dogs, and just has a good time. The vibe is really friendly and there is never any trouble; this is something the festival has become famous for.”

He added: “Fyne Fest has a reputation as one of the best small festivals in the county; last year 99.5% of its patrons said they would return. This year is testament to that because we have sold out.”

For information on this or next year’s festival, visit the Fyne Fest website.

West End Festival

West end festival

Celebrating its 20th year in business, the West End Festival has returned to Glasgow with bigger acts than ever before.

Festival Founder Michael Dale said:“The 2015 WEF has a lot of big names, including comedian Elaine C Smith, choir composer Mark Carroll, and (the Gruffalo) author Julia Donaldson.

“There is a real mix of activities scheduled: music, shows, food and drink stalls, galas and guided walks through the city.”

Over 100 Glasgow-based organisations have joined the festival, which showcases arts groups and local talent. The festival does this by presenting national treasures alongside hidden gems.

Dale said: “One of the most exciting local acts at the West End Festival will be a collective of Samba players (from across Scotland). The Samba players will be performing at the end of the parade, on the steps of the Kelvingrove Art Gallery, and again at the Kelvingrove bandstand.”

He added: “The bandstand will also be hosting lots of local bands (of different genres) on the last day of the festival.”

Another musical must-sees, Dale said, is the WEF Festival of Choirs. This concert unites Glasgow Phoenix, Govan Gaelic, Dublin Airport, Glasgow Philharmonic Male Voice, and the Govan Schools Combined Choirs, at the Govan Old Parish Church.

He said: “Govan used to be in the same borough as Partick, till about 1914, so the choir concert celebrates this connection to the West End.”

Connecting the West End to the international music scene is Elaine C Smith and Christina Dunwoodie’s show, Torch Song Divas. The show (running at Websters Theatre) will examine eternal themes of love, loss, betrayal in a variety of genres.

Dale added: “Torch Song Divas should be great; it promises lots of big song numbers.”

While the adults are bound to love the gigs, Dale explained there is more to the festival than music.

He said: “The festival appeals to people of all ages, for kids there is a series of children’s author talks, both in and outside of schools.”

Among these talks is Julia and Malcolm Donaldson’s appearance at Maryhill Central Community Hall. Here the authors will be joined by illustrator Nick Sharratt, to recount tales from their books.

Books may not appeal to all kids, and so Dale explained interactive family workshops are also sprinkled through the festival.

He said: “There will be lots of workshops, including those ran by the Children’s Wood group (in North Kelvinside). This group offers nature based workshops exploring things like bugs in the habitat.”

For the less green fingered, there will also be workshops ran by professional artists, making  costumes for the parade.

The parade, Dale explained, was one of the founding principles of the festival.

He said: “The first festival was in June 1995 and it occurred to me then that we needed a way to promote the event; so I came up with the idea of having a parade, not that I had a one to hand, but I didn’t think it would be too hard to make.

“I met some people who wanted to start a parade in Glasgow, and make the costumes, so between ourselves we created the first West End Festival.”

Although it is an iconic part of the festival, Dale stressed that there is more to the event than the procession.

He said: “The West End comes alive in a special way during the festival. There are events throughout each day, including: exhibitions, concerts, food and drink. Those who have never been to the area before will be surprised just how much there is to do.”

He concluded: “A lot of the festival is free, with many people taking part on a voluntary basis.

“The West End Festival Website has a search function that you can use to find free events each day.”

 

 

Merchant City Festival

Merchant City Festival

Preparations have begun for this year’s Merchant City festival and it promises to be the biggest yet. Running twice the length of previous events, the 2015 bill will span July 25 – August 2.

Festival Executive Producer, Lorenzo Mele, said: “The 2014 Festival was exceptional because it supported the Commonwealth Games, acting as the cultural centre for the programme. Last year’s festival brought the city alive with outdoor content and that will continue this year.”

The outdoor content is expected to include acting, circus performances, and of course music.

Mele said: “The festival will include lots of different art forms, but its central element will be music. We have two outdoor stages every year and this year they will host a variety of artists, playing everything from rock, to RnB, and dance music.”

The Brunswick Street Stage will have a marquee with large screen and bar area; while the Emerging Talent Stage will showcase new bands.

Indoors, the Blackfriars Stage will once again feature music acts, but this year it will also become a comedy hub.

Headline comedy and music events will be cost ticketed, however Mele explained the majority of festival events will be free.

Bargain-seekers can enjoy a variety of performances and workshops throughout the day.

Mele said: “We want the festival’s daytime schedule to appeal to as much as the night; so we are hosting a weekday family zone, in Merchant City Square, from 27 –31 July.

“The festival will have interactive workshops for toddlers and parents; music for adults; and this year – for the first time – a programme for those 55 and older.”

Mele welcomed guests from all ages and walks of life.

He said: “The Merchant City Festival is good at bringing the focus on art, but also at attracting members of the public who wouldn’t usually go to gigs.”

He described plans to attract shoppers with interactive fashion and beauty events.

Mele said: “The team are examining ways to make the fashion element of the festival interactive, with things like upcycling and accessorising workshops.”

He added: “We have a Barcelonan act coming to the festival, called Osadia. This group create fantasy makeovers, taking people from the audience and transforming their look with hair and make- up sculpture.

“Osadia performed at the festival last year and they were hugely popular, so we look forward to having them back.”

Another international act Mele anticipates being a hit, is Dutch musician-come- chef: The Screaming, Cooking Prince; whose act does what it says on the tin.

As well as international acts, the festival will showcase home-grown talent.

Mele explained: “One of the highlights will be a UK dance performance called Fragile; a world Premier show from the Motionhouse dance company. It will involve around 25 performers dancing in, on and around JCB diggers. It should be quite spectacular.”

He concluded: “The Merchant City Festival really does have something for everyone. As well as great acts there will be stalls selling food from around the world.”

The festival’s themes include: Scotland’s Year of Food and Drink, and Glasgow’s Year of Green; these themes provide inspiration for organisations hoping to participate.

Organisations hoping to participate in Merchant City Festival can apply for grants of up to £500, through the Get Involved Fund.

Proposals should include specially planned activities that incorporate city space.

Open House Art Festival

Tine

Bringing visual art to the public, Glasgow’s Open House Festival returned for its second year. Running May 2 – 4; the weekend saw local art installed in everyday buildings.

Open House Artist Tine Bek said: “The festival involved almost 200 artists, whose work was spread out throughout town, in houses and public spaces; to make it more accessible.”

The festival provided a platform for (emerging and established) artists to open their practices, and sometimes homes, to new audiences. By removing art from conventional spaces and embedding it in infrastructure Open House gave a second perspective of Glasgow.

Turning heads in the Savoy Centre was photographer Tine Bek. She and fellow artist, Scott Caruth, made the ‘Twofold’ exhibition in Savoy Centre disused units.

Bek explained: “The exhibition was collaboration between myself and Scott; we arranged our space together, but as two separate shows with the common link of travel.”

In Twofold Bek and Caruth presented work developed during artist residencies abroad. Bek was ‘artist in residence’ in Buenos Aires, and Caruth was one in Modena.

Caruth mused on the legacy of the 70s Italian movementAutonomia’, while Bek examined the Baroque period and its influence.

She said: “This is a selection of images from a book I am making called the Barok. It views the Barok as a state of mind, as opposed to a just time in history. The work examines human interactions; the way people deal with space and excess.”

Bek describes the baroque as both a period in design and as a philosophy on duality. Bek’s work showed this conflating illusion and reality, light and dark and time and space.

These contrasts worked well in Twofold’s unusual setting.

Bek said: “Exhibiting in a Savoy Centre unit has been awkward, but in a good way. Working in unconventional space challenged me as an artist, and opened my work to people who wouldn’t usually see it.”

Opportunity has also arisen in her partnership with Caruth.

Bek explained: “Scott and I have been talking about working together for about three years, having both graduated from Glasgow School of Art (GSA) Fine Art photography. It has been great to finally collaborate and bounce ideas off each other.”

She added: “We are thinking about working together in the future, and possibly making a book of photography.”

This natural development of talent was the founding principle of Glasgow Open House (GOH) an artist-led, not-for-profit group, established by GSA alumna Amalie Silvani-Jones, in 2013.

Since its founding, GOH has helped grassroots artists circulate their work. This ethos was then enshrined in the Glasgow Open House Art Festival 2014.

The 2014 festival showcased 80 artists, however a year later the festival had grown and included new ‘Art Walks’, touring its exhibitions. Specially commissioned flags were made (in partnership with Project Ability and COLOUR HOTEL) to adorn Glasgow buildings, pinpointing the art.

Artist work and details of the 2015 festival can be viewed at the Glasgow Open House Art Festival website.

Galoshans Festival

GALOSHANS PIC

There’s a new UK arts festival and it’s called the Galoshans. With the Scots name for ‘guising’ it’s unsurprisingly scheduled North of the border. The exact location is however, more surprising. Unlike most Scottish festivals, it isn’t going to Glasgow or Edinburgh, rather Inverclyde.

Bringing the festival to Inverclyde is Scottish charity UZ Arts. The group works to commission, produce and distribute art in all its forms.

UZ Arts Executive producer, Jo McLean, said: “The Community Trust had been organising events as part of the Inverclyde Space programme and, in 2014, they spoke to UZ Arts about growing a festival.

“The Galoshans was an idea that the Community Trust had introduced to us. They told us it was a traditional folk play about George and the dragon. The original custom was to perform the play in spring;  but Inverclyde adapted it to take place around Halloween [alongside guising]. ”

Now UZ Arts are expanding the custom into an arts festival. The festival will still nclude the Galoshans play, as well as music, performances, and installations throughout Inverclyde.

Galoshans will run from 30 October to 1 November, with a complimentary fringe programme that ends in  Inverclyde’s firework display (November 7).

As well as this, the festival will launch with a symposium entitled Moving Out, which pushes artists and audiences outside of their comfort zones.

Using the European network IN SITU, UZ Arts will bring artists across seas to engage with the people of Inverclyde. The artists will create work outside conventional venues, reimagining iconic landmarks.

McLean said: “UZ Arts are part of IN SITU, a 19 country network, which funds international arts projects, and enables collaberations. IN SITU artists will be coming to the Galoshans festival to showcase their work.”

As well as artists, the public can get involved with the Galoshans.

McLean explained: “UZ Arts will be looking for volunteers to assist at the festival. We will also be running internships and opportunities, especially aimed at young jobseekers.

“Whenever UZ Arts run a festival we always try to make it benefit the local community.”

All visitors will benefit from the Galoshan’s reasonably priced and free events (ticket details to be confirmed).

McLean concluded: “We hope the festival will celebrate the international community, while reflecting the Inverclyde’s local pride.”

Galoshans may continue to be an annual source of pride, as UZ Arts have provisionally planned to roll it out in future years.

To get involved with the 2015 festival, visit the UZ Arts Website or email the team.