Summer Movies at Loch Lomond Shores

Summer Movies

 

Nothing says summer like open- air cinema and that’s what is coming to Loch Lomond shores this July 2 -3.

Organised by the events arm of alfresco caterers Firedog; the Summer Movies will show two days of free family-films, on the big screen.

Firedog Events partner Jonathan Stipanovsky explained: “We are going to have a 60m screen – one of the biggest in the UK – pulled down onto the beach. The top half of the beach will host a 18 by 6 meter bar tent, cornered off with white picket fencing, leading down to a deck chaired area by the screen.”

Launching at 10am Saturday with cartoons; Summer Movies will continue with Finding Nemo at noon, Jamanji at 2pm, Back to the Future at 5pm and Jurassic Park at7.30pm.

These box office classics were chosen so that families could enjoy the films without loosing the plot, should they stop for a break.

Stipanovsky said: “We choose films that were good action films that everyone has seen and loved. The idea is that people can arrive at any point of the film, sit with some food and drink and enjoy their favourite bits.”

Easy viewing continues on Sunday with another 10am cartoon start; followed by Toy Story at noon, The Goonies at 2.30pm, Dirty Dancing at 5pm and The Lost Boys at 8pm.

All of the showings are free to attend, but seating is likely to fill up fast.

Stipanovsky added: “We have deck chairs and picnic benches at the front of the cinema. It’s first-come- first- served on seating, but being at the beach people can bring their towels.”

As well as two seating areas, Firedog Events has organised food to compliment the films.

Stipanovsky said: “Firedog will be there – in our fire engine catering van – serving gourmet hotdogs, fries, nachos and Aberdeen Angus burgers. Joining us will be Bowl Food, offering a range of hot treats from a converted ambulance. Firebird will also be on hand, serving up stone-baked pizzas; as well as The Buffalo Truck, who will be cooking up fired chicken.”

To wash all this down the bar has a range of treats.

Stipanovsky listed: “The licensed area will have Jaw Brew and Estrella beer, Rekorderlig cider, Daffy’s Gin and a cocktail bar.”

The bar tent will be open from 12pm till late.

With trains every 15 minutes from Glasgow to Balloch, it’s the perfect excuse to leave the car at home. Or – for the designated drivers – the Charlie Mills coffee truck is open from 10am till 10pm.

Stipanovsky concluded: “It’s a free event with a stunning backdrop, massive screen, great films, beach bar and some of people’s favourite food. What’s not to love?”

Festive Foraging

Foraging

Sprucing up spring – with an egg hunt alternative – is the Queen’s Park Herb Foraging Walk. Led by Green Health Glasgow on April 3, the walk will start at 11am at the Glad Café.

Green Health Medical Herbalist, Catriona Gibson said: “The walk will last up 2 hours, depending on the group and a little bit on the weather. The end point will be the Queen’s Park Glasshouses, which have toilets, a café and play area.”

Gibson explained that the walk is open to all ages, offering a beginners guide to foraging.

She continued: “The focus of the free walk is plant identification and confidence building.

“I will advise people how to harvest sustainably, respecting the plants and other organisms that rely on them. We will discuss when and how to harvest and any issues around mis-identification of species.”

Identifying plants comes as second nature to Gibson, who regularly hosts workshops and herbal health consultations. However, she encouraged walkers to bring along any foraging books and tips they wished to share.

She said: “The walks are really participative, with the chance to learn common species and try some recipes.”

Gibson rhymed off some of her favourite wild herb ingredients.

She said: “Wild Alliums, Ramsons and Few-Flowered Leek can substitute onion or garlic; and plants such as Lady’s Smock or Bittercress can be make Wild Green Pesto.”

Gibson explained food foraging is becoming a growing movement.

She added: “There’s been a real increase in food bloggers and artisan producers looking for innovative ingredients. I’ve worked with micro-brewers to make foraged beer, and with artists to examine how people and place influence and food.”

This conscientious approach reduces food miles and encourages awareness of seasonal produce.

Gibson said: Foraging connects people to their environment and fosters an appreciation of the natural world.”

The natural world, she said, was good for the body as well as the soul.

Gibson explained: “Many wild plants can be used medicinally for common ailments such as coughs, colds and headaches.”

There are also sociable benefits of foraging walks, as Gibson concluded: “The walks are a lot of fun. There’s always a diverse bunch of people looking to live more sustainably; from young families wanting their children to be more involved in the outdoors; to bloggers who are interested in food foraging or gardeners looking to enhance their skills.”

Updates on the April walk and similar events throughout the year can be found on Green Health’s Facebook page.

The Only Way is Ethics

TOWIEtwit pic

 

Social conscience stirs as Glasgow plans its alternative lifestyle festival. The Only Way Ethics will busy the city, from November 29 to December 6, with ethical discussions focused on improving Glasgow.

Organiser Craig Tannock said: “Some of the issues the festival will cover include the energy crisis, anti austerity, women’s activism, ethical arts funding and organic food.”

 He explained: “The festival will cover issues in a range of ways, such as panel discussions, theatre events, film screenings and community meals.”

Food will also reign supreme at Vegfest Scotland, the Vegan exhibition that is partnering the festival. This exhibition will run in the SECC, during the last two days of The only Way is Ethics. Vegfest Scotland will offer information, demonstration and delectation.

Tannock explained: “Vegfest is a huge event, but for the rest of the festival we encouraged smaller venues to get involved. We wanted to make the festival accessible to everyone; so it has a variety of spaces for people to engage with experts and others on ethical issues.”

These spaces will be found in venues throughout the city, including The University of Glasgow, Chemikal Underground Records, Glasgow Women’s Library, and Toonspeak Young People’s Theatre.

While most venues are open to all ages, Tannock explained that some licensed events won’t admit children, and other events have adult themes.

He said: “Some events are for a more adult audience, such as the talk and screening of a film about vCJD in the food chain. This kind of event doesn’t make for easy consumption and people would probably decide not to bring children; however we will leave it to them to decide.”

As well as heavy discussion the festival will have light entertainment. Nowhere is this truer than in its opening gig at St Luke’s. The venue (near the Barrowlands) will host Radio 2 Folk Award winner, Karine Polwart and artist Ela Orleans, among others.

Then, after eight days of events, the festival will close in equal style.

Tannock said: “The closing night will be a real chilled out party at the Flying Duck; with some unannounced surprises. By this point there will have been plenty of chin- scratching, so it will be a purely social event, allowing people to catch up with others they have met.”

Encouraging everyone to come along, Tannock concluded: “The Festival of Ethics provides a space for free thought on social issues; it allows people to get involved in movements that can change lives.”

 

StrEAT Glasgow

 

StrEAT Glasgow pic

Combining Glasgow’s love of arts and eats; StrEAT food festival is coming to the Briggait on September 26 -27, and the best part is it’s free!

After witnessing the success of its London events, StrEAt organisers: Nicky Modlin, Simon Foy, Donald MacLeod and Vanessa Gilpin brought it north of the border.

Vanessa Gilpin explained: “A lot of culinary festivals just focus on food, but this one will include music and visual arts.

“There will be craft workshops throughout the day for kids and adults, including a live art session, where members of the public can use materials provided to get inspired.”

StrEAT Glasgow will also have artists playing between 2 and 9pm; with music ranging from folk to acoustic and jazz.

Gilpin said: “We are still confirming the full line up, but we have arranged a live jam session on Sunday for musicians to turn up and preform.”

She added: “There will be lots of seating for people to take in the atmosphere while enjoying their food.”

The festival will have an area of cold stalls, with chocolates, cakes and artisan beers; as well as a vendor catering area, where visitors can grab a hot bite to eat.

Gilpin said: “StrEAt Glasgow will feature food traders already quite popular in the area, such as Babu Bombay Street Kitchen,  Mighty Mexican, and Smoak.

“Then to wash this down there will be lots of craft beer and cocktails.”

Gilpin explained that people can follow StrEAT Glasgow on social media, to discover the traders as they are revealed. She vowed the festival would appeal to all tastes and ages.

From noon – 5pm there will be a chilled vibe and we expect a lot of families to attend at this time. Then, toward the end of the night, as the DJs hit the stage, there will be more of an adult feel to the festival.”

She concluded: “StrEAT festival is an exciting new concept for Glasgow; it will showcase great food and arts that no one should miss out on!”

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

L cover

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.

L dining

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.

L Music

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.

L Traveling

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.

L Art appreciating

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.

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.