By Alieu Ceesay
Following its successful debut four years ago, the Southside Festival attracted thousands at the weekend to Queen’s Park to celebrate the cultural diversity and community spirit of this unique part of the city.
The area was packed with fun and entertainment for all ages with live music, dance, sport, relaxation and comedy as well as the ever-popular face painting and displays from major contributors such as Strathclyde Fire and Rescue Service. Also available was some of the fine, locally produced food and goods.
Said chair of the organising team, Andrew Montgomery: ‘The event this year has been stunning with the best of Glasgow weather and more activities for all ages.’
Local mum of three, Clare Boyd, said: ‘Events like this help bring the communities together to appreciate each other’s culture. The kids had great fun trying all the different children’s activities.’
Japanese tourist Yuko Okumura said: ‘The Southside Festival was really good! A real family festival, lots of games for children, lots of children, lots of balloons. There was a big stage for music and many people lying in the sun. There was a long line of food stalls and people drinking beer and talking – a lot! Not everyone was young. Whole families were there. And it was peaceful!’
As a commercial design student at home and a hobby Taiko drummer, Yuko enjoyed the whole sound and atmosphere of the day.
The fun continued on Sunday when the Picnic in the Park brought another day of music and family fun and good community spirit.
By Elyas Hussain
An estimated 15,000 people turned out for the annual Southside Festival, and all of them had a wonderful time. The location was changed, however, from Queen’s Park to Queen’s Park Recreation Ground because there are old coal mines under the Park and there were concerns about the ground collapsing under the weight of the crowd, the marquees and all the equipment.
The day started with a procession from Shawlands Academy, down Pollokshaws Road, Allison Street, Victoria Road and along Queen’s Park Drive into the Rec grounds.
Local Councillor, Bailie Margot Clark formally welcomed everyone.
There were different zones for the different activities. Art and music were in the Glasshouses. The acoustic stage was located in Queen’s Park Bowling Club. The other things were inside the park and included a Relaxation Zone, Tai Chi, yoga, Indian head massage, Capoeira and much more.
The Fitness Activity Marquee, gave people a chance to try different sports. Rides and a climbing wall suited all ages. An Integration Community Marquee offered a wide range of music, songs and performance from Egyptian dancers to Theatre Nemo Choir.
At the main stage, performances from Shawlands Academy Dance Group to the Langside Band were well received.
The Band’s lead singer, Dalian Dooley (18), is studying music at Langside College. She and her four class colleagues set up the group. Said Dalian: I’m really happy with the response we’ve had and with my performance. This was our first time playing at the festival and it was great fun.’
One festival goer who was there with his wife and children, was Andrew Card (37) from Cathcart. He said: ‘It’s been really good fun and the kids really enjoyed going on the rides.’
Andrew Montgomery, Chairperson of the Southside Festival, told the LOCAL NEWS GLASGOW: ‘We are really delighted with the turn out. Everybody has had a wonderful time with a wide range of activities on offer. It has been an improvement on last year’s events. It takes a full year to prepare with 30 volunteers. I would like to thank everybody who has supported and helped out with the festival.’
More than a hundred people attended the second annual Abbot Street, Shawlands Christmas tree and lights switch-on.
Community Councillor Andrew Montgomery, hosted Father Christmas who performed the switch-on after a countdown.
Said Santa: ‘It’s a great honour and privilege to be here and I am delighted to be switching on the lights.’
The Christmas tree at Shawlands Cross was switched on simultaneously.
The day featured face painting in the Co-Operative supermarket, Victorian Christmas storytelling from education group Ecole Enterprise, an activities bus for children which was provided by South East Glasgow Community Planning Partnership, and an aftershow party at Suzie’s Café on Abbot Street.
There were many councillors in attendance and the event was organised by Shawlands and Strathbungo Community Council.
Pollokshields City Councillor David Meikle was one of the organisers, along with Community Council Secretary Andrew Montgomery and Chairman Scott Mackay.
David said: ‘Today has been another great success in terms of the people turning up. We have had a great time, and I am happy to support this event.’
Scott said: ‘We are really delighted with another successful Christmas lights switch-on in Shawlands and hope to spread a bit of Christmas cheer in our communities. Everybody who turned up had a wonderful time. We would also like to say a big thank you to everybody who helped out on the day.’