Merchant City Festival

  • The List
  • 7 September 2006

Tales of the Merchant City

Approaching its third year, Glasgow’s Merchant City Festival may be a toddler next to the bloated pensioner that is its Edinburgh neighbour, but the five-day extravaganza is already an eagerly anticipated entry in Scotland’s cultural calendar.

This year’s celebration takes place from 20-24 September across Glasgow’s vibrant artistic quarter, and features more than 300 events in 70 venues, which this year includes the recently renovated Old Fruitmarket and City Halls.

Jason Byrne and Adam Hills are this year’s big comedy draws (appearing at the Old Fruitmarket, Fri 22 and Sat 23 Sep respectively), while local heroes Janey Godley and Raymond Mearns will also step up to the mic. Mearns hosts the final of the 2006 Scottish Comedian of the Year award at the Old Fruitmarket on Sun 24 Sep.

Musically, there are over 50 live events, including jazz, folk, world music, rock’n’roll, indie and R & B.
Highlights include a rare screening of 1927 silent movie The New Babylon, accompanied by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra with a live performance of Shostakovich’s specially composed score (Thu 21 Sep), while the singers of Scottish Opera will be taking to Tortine Lane and the Babbity Bowster courtyard (Sun 24 Sep) for some free performances.

Indoor and outdoor theatre is represented, with award-winning company Boilerhouse bringing their latest production, Drenchedto the Tron, while a street theatre showcase, Directors’Choice, features performances by companies from France,The Netherlands,the UK and Japan. Film buffs are also in for a treat, as the ‘short film’ showcase returns to the festival, while the Babbity Bowster will be screening a pair of Jacques Tati classics, and Cafe? Gramofan hosts a Marlene Dietrich evening.

Meanwhile, Artists in Exile will be screening two cutting edge films dealing with issues arising from the Middle East crisis (see Rage!,page 12 for more).

Artistic director Neil Butler, of UZ events, said of the programme, ‘The Merchant City Festival is a unique festival of festivals, providing a one-stop shop for visitors to experience the best both of Scotland’s own indigenous festivals and international arts.’

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