Glasgow, Scotland’s culture capital
Following Trongate’s success, the city and six different Scottish cultural foundations renovated the Briggait, a former fish market building from 1873. Empty for 20 years, the building now houses 68 workspaces for artists and cultural organisations, as well as the original public courtyard and a space for a future cafe with views of the River Clyde.
Every two years, the Glasgow International Festival of Art puts its artists’ work on display for the rest of the world. Running now through 7 May, the festival puts on lectures, screenings and displays in venues throughout the city, including the Gallery of Modern Art and the Glasgow Green city park.
Arts out loud
The city’s incredible visual arts can only be matched by Glasgow’s performing arts and music scene. The Scottish Ballet, which relocated to the gold-roofed Tramway performance space in 2008, regularly performs the first screenings of its productions in Glasgow before touring the rest of the United Kingdom. This season’s offerings include a dance take on the play Streetcar Named Desire, Hans van Manen’s Five Tangos and Dance GB, celebration of British dance inspired by the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
The Scottish Opera and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra also call Glasgow home, but most know the city more for its myriad other musical offerings., The city hosts an average of 130 music events per week in genres as diverse as electro, rap, jazz and country, in venues as special as the tunes themselves.
Discover the next big thing at King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, where Oasis signed their first record deal after a performance in 1993, but buy tickets early as the spot hits its 300-person capacity quickly. The Glasgow Barrowland (also known as the Barras) holds about 1,900 concert-goers, but is just as renowned for hosting bands that later end up as chart-toppers, as well as established acts (from Metallica to U2) that often take a smaller fee for the chance to play the space, known for its excellent acoustics See solo stars-to-be sing their stuff at Acoustic Open Mic Night, held every Monday at the Nice ‘n’ Sleazy bar and club on Sauchiehall Street.
Music takes over much of the city in summer. George Square in front of the Glasgow City Chambers will be the centrepiece of a free outdoor music festival that honours the Olympic Torch passing through Glasgow on 8 June, and the 17th annual West End Festival from 1 to 17 of June will feature classical quartets, jazz bands and folk singers throughout the up-and-coming venues on the west side such as Brel, Oran Mor and the Captain’s Rest.
The Glasgow Music Tour, recently launched for smartphones and MP3 players, offers four audio walking routes for £0.59 each. The app gives visitors a walking run-down of the most popular venues and concert halls, and plays interviews with influential local singers and musicians, providing an insightful peek into the rhythm behind Scotland’s savviest city.