IMPRESSIVE LINE-UP OF ACTS WILL ENSURE THIS YEAR’S 60 shows, 12 and a lot of
The town that gave the world the Paisley Pattern is set to celebrate its close links with India by forging a musical friendship as The Spree kicks off today.
Paisley is hosting the renowned arts festival for the sixth year, with more than 60 shows taking place over 12 days.
And all the action comes as we wait to hear if the town will be the first Scottish place to become UK City of Culture in 2021.
Headline acts this year include an eagerly-anticipated homecoming charity show from the town’s musical megastar, Paolo Nutini, in Paisley Abbey on Friday, October 20 and a unique collaboration between Frightened Rabbit and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra on Monday, October 16, also in the abbey.
The festival starts tonight with a special Musical Tapestry, which celebrates Paisley’s friendship with India through its textile heritage.
Three Scottish musicians —piper Ross Ainslie, musician and composer Angus Lyon and singer-songwriter Ross Wilson (aka Blue Rose Code) — team up with Indian counterparts Smita Bellur, Asin Khan Langa and Sawai Khan for a collaboration fusing traditional music and instruments from both countries.
The six have just arrived in Scotland after performing the same show last week at the Rajasthan International Folk Festival, which The Spree has been twinned with thanks to support from the British Council as part of their UK/ India Year of Culture 2017.
The Scottish leg wi l l be recorded for BBC Scotland’s Travelling Folk programme and broadcast next Wednesday. It will be accompanied by a digital tapestry, where school pupils from both countries will work together on an art project to be revealed later in the year.
Some of the participants met up yesterday in the County Square spiegeltent, which will host today’s opening concert and the bulk of The Spree action.
Ross Wilson said: “People can expect something genuinely new.
“We bandy around the terms ‘unique’ and ‘special’, but this is a genuine fusion of styles people won’t have heard before.
“As musicians, we have been outside our comfort zone, but we have learned a lot and really grown together.
“Last week, we performed this show in a 15th-Century Indian fort to 3,000 people and the energy was palpable — it couldn’t have been any better.”
Spiegeltent highlights include:
Yola Carter with Laura Cortese and the Dance Cards tomorrow
Sharon Shannon with Fara on Sunday
Dougie MacLean on Wednesday
BBC Radio Scotland’s Janice Forsyth and Vic Galloway shows on Thursday, October 19 and
Breabach with Kris Drever and Talisk on Friday, October 20.
Other musical moments include Paisley Arts Centre hosting Emma Pollock and RM Hubbert on Sunday, October 15, Paisley: The Untold Story show with James Grant in Paisley Abbey on Saturday, October 21, and a Lost Map Records night, hosted by the Pictish Trail, on Sunday, October 22.
There will also be two Best of Scottish Comedy nights with the Gilded Balloon, as well as theatre, poetry, film, dance and a full programme of kids’ shows during the October school holiday.
Paisley 2021 bid director Jean Cameron said: “The Spree festival is firmly established as a key date in Scotland’s festival calendar and we look forward to welcoming people from across the country for this year’s bill, which is the biggest and best yet, with a range of art forms and some incredible performers
“We are delighted to be welcoming musicians from India to help kick off the packed programme tonight.
“Our UK City of Culture 2021 bid aims to use Paisley’s place as the one-time centre of a global industry to reconnect us to the world and this is a great way to show what that will look like.”
The Spree is taking place in partnership with Gilmour Street bar Burger and Keg, and Fosters, which has programmed additional acts in the Burger and Keg Live Tent in Abbey Close during the festival.
These include comedians Rab Florence, Billy Kirkwood, and Tom Urie and Janey Godley. You can find out more at burgerandkeg.co.uk
The festival is also accompanied by The Spree For All fringe, which will see gigs taking place in local pubs and venues during The Spree fortnight.
More information is at thespree.co.uk/spree-for-all
The festival is organised by Renfrewshire Council, programmed by Active Events, and supported by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s events directorate, and the British Council.
Paisley is the only Scottish place to make the final UK City of Culture 2021 shortlist alongside Coventry, Stoke, Sunderland and Swansea, with the winner to be announced in December.
Spr e e tickets and information are available from www.thespree.co.uk and from the box office on 0300 300 1210.