Parkour performers gave a spectacular rendition of their exciting new show JAMP on Hutcheson Street today (Monday 18 June) to launch the 2012 Merchant City Festival. JAMP is an exceptional dance-circus outdoor act which has been created by Bright Night International and Glasgow Parkour. The group created a dynamic performance drawing on parkour, acrobatics, gymnastic, breakdance and physical theatre to create the spectacle which was earlier performed using just their bodies and the urban surroundings of Hutcheson Street. The exciting and energetic performance of JAMP today is just a taste of the exciting and ambitious programme of events for the 2012 Merchant City Festival.
From Wednesday 25 July to Sunday 29 July audiences will be amazed and inspired by a number of exciting and eclectic events and performances. Families, festival-goers - and this year even football fans – are getting a bigger and better festival with several UK and world premieres as well as specially commissioned performances. The diverse festivities will continue until 3 August with the unique 2012 Experience when Glasgow will host eight Olympic football matches at Hampden as part of London 2012.
The 2011 Merchant City Festival was a record-breaking success with the festival enjoying over 90,000 attendances across the four day festivities. With this in mind, this year’s programmers faced a substantial challenge to try and top last year’s successes.
Councillor Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council, Chair of the Merchant City Festival and Chair of Glasgow City Marketing Bureau said: “Festival organisers faced the challenge of topping the success of last year and looking at the programme unveiled today it looks like they will succeed. The 11th festival to take place in Glasgow’s cultural quarter offers a massive 300 events and performances spread across 75 venues.
“The fantastic music, culture and artistic vision on show across the five days are a reflection of the brilliant arts organisations and venues our city has to offer. If you haven’t experienced this exciting festival, 2012 is the year to relish in all that it has to offer.”
Among the highlights at this year’s Merchant City Festival a unique event this year is The People’s Tower which is taking place on Brunswick Street. This gigantic cardboard tower will be constructed by Olivier Grossetete, an artist from Marseille, with the assistance of schools and community groups. Once this huge tower has been built participants will get to destroy it which may well be more fun than the construction!
The breathtaking Leaving Limbo Landing will take place on Wilson Street as part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad programme. Caroline Bowditch’s ambitious new outdoor production will explore journey, placement, displacement, settling, arrivals and departures. Stories from around the world about where to settle (or not) and why, provide the catalyst for a visually arresting and poetic exploration about why we live where we live.
Celtic Connections will also be presenting A Celebration of 30 Years of WOMAD which will feature three of the best acts in world music today, Baloji, Deolinda and Hot Water. The Merchant City Festival welcomes Baloji whose work has been described as francophonic raps surrounded by reggae and retro-funk. Also performing on the Celtic Connections stage is Deolinda who are fast winning fame for their wildly flamboyant live performances. They draw on styles including fado, traditional folk, Brazilian and Cape Verdean music. They recently achieved platinum sales in their native Portugal for their debut album Canção ao Lado. Hot Water’s sound incorporates elements of traditional South African music with folk, blues and indie-pop rock.
For the first time ever there will be a music stage at the historic Glasgow Cathedral Precinct as part of the Merchant City Festival. Atmospheric live music will transport the Cathedral Precinct back through history on Saturday 28 July. Audiences can expect early instruments, traditional Scottish music and songs about the history of Glasgow as part of a great afternoon’s entertainment. On Sunday 29 July multiculturalism will be the day’s theme and this will be celebrated with a diverse and uplifting programme. The aim of the performance will be to broaden people’s musical horizons.
Kevin Maguire from Merchant Square said “We are proud to continue our longstanding support of the Merchant City Festival, and look forward to welcoming visitors throughout the festival, whether it’s to enjoy the entertainment on the Merchant Square stage or to join in the celebrations in our many bars and restaurants.”
The Merchant City Festival encourages locals and visitors to the city to explore some of the rich heritage, architecture and history of the area, before stopping to appreciate its vibrant café culture, shops, bars and restaurants.
The Merchant City Festival will run from 25 July to 29 July, with the 2012 Experience continuing until 3 August, for live updates follow @MerchCityFest on Twitter or visit www.merchantcityfestival.com