More than 10,000 people attended events related to this year’s Spree festival – with homegrown musical megastar Paolo Nutini topping a list of sold-out shows and entertainment.
The sixth edition of the town’s flagship cultural event – which closes tonight (TUES) – has so far seen ticket sales of 8,337 for the main Spree shows – an increase of 60% on last year’s figure of 5,200.
Venues over the 12-day event have included the specially-erected Spiegeltent in County Square, as well as Paisley Abbey, Town Hall and Arts Centre.
Audience numbers have been topped up further by an estimated 2,000 attendees at related events in the Burger & Keg Live tent and at live gigs and other street entertainment across the festival during the Spree For All fringe festival.
In-demand shows included Paolo’s triumphant homecoming show at Paisley Abbey last Friday – for which 50,000 people applied for just 550 tickets, as well as Frightened Rabbit with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra at the same venue.
Many of the free children’s workshops during the October school week saw all tickets snapped up in advance, while for many shows free tickets were handed out to local community groups.
Paisley 2021 Bid Director Jean Cameron said: “This year’s festival was incredible, with a diverse range of acts and artforms, and artists joining us from throughout the UK and abroad.
“This year’s Spree just further underlines Paisley’s capacity to host major events and attract big names – and in Paolo’s case, a global superstar.
“At the same time, one of the key aims of our UK City of Culture 2021 bid is to showcase local talent and allow all within the local community to access the benefits culture brings, and this year’s Spree did just that.”
Hundreds of people enjoyed gigs at the Burger & Keg Live Tent , including sold-out gigs by comics including Burnistoun’s Rab Florence, and Tom Urie and Janey Godley.
Trevor Mills, co-owner of Burger & Keg said: “This year’s festival has been great. We managed to bring a diverse range of acts to the Burger & Keg Live Tent which went down well with those in attendance, with the help of promoters NNE.
“To think we could sell out a poetry show with Burnistoun’s Rab Florence shows we are ready for UK City of Culture 2021, even if it wasn’t what Rabbie may have had in mind.
“We hope to be invited back next year where we will work to bring in some bigger acts as well as favourites from this year as the Spree Festival continues to grow.”
Tommy McGrory from LnP Promotions was involved in the Spree for All, and added: “The Spree for All reached a lot of people and I think the event this year was the busiest I’ve ever seen it.
“I think it’s been a huge success – it brought a lot of stuff to the streets of Paisley, which opens the festival for everyone and gives them the chance of enjoying the experience.”
The Spree was programmed by Active Events and is also supported by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate, and the British Council.
Stuart Turner, Head of EventScotland, said: “The Spree has once again been a great success attracting strong visitor numbers, and helping to increase the profile and visibility of the town during this crucial time in Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021.
“Scotland is the perfect stage for events, and we are proud to have supported this vibrant and diverse festival, that truly showcases both Scotland and Paisley’s rich heritage and culture.”