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West End Festival launches £50,000 public appeal to stage Festival Sunday next year

Funding campaign launched to bring back popular West End extravaganza that has been cancelled this year because of lack of money

G lasgow's West End Festival has launched a public fundraising campaign to help bring back Festival Sunday.

The West End Festival recently announced its annual festival Sunday wouldn’t take place this year, for a number of reasons, including increasing costs and reduction in funding.

As a result, it has now launched a £50,000 fundraising campaign to bring back Festival Sunday.

With increasing costs for licensing, road closures, cleansing, security and policing, and cuts of funding across the board in the arts, compounded by the bad weather at Electric Gardens in November last year, which impacted on sales, Festival organisers decided not to put on the Mardi Gras spectacular on Byres Road on its 21st anniversary.

It means this year there is no road closure and mass gathering to cheer on 400 parade participants. The streets of Byres Road and Dumbarton Road have been lined with up 100,000 people in past years.

Liz Scobie, festival chairman said: “We took our time this year to think of how best to go about making sure the festival is sustainable in the future.

“We’ve come to realise that as the public are so enthusiastic about the parade and businesses in the west end increase takings on Festival Sunday, we need to start to ask for help and support in future years.

“We’ve never been able to ticket the event, so we can’t charge for attending the parade, plus we’ve always wanted to ensure a real family day out for everyone to enjoy.

“As a charity and organisation run by volunteers we now have to ask the public to contribute to helping ensure we can make Festival Sunday happen.”

Michael Dale, who founded the festival back in 1996 added: “It’s just not possible to organise and run such a huge public event for free anymore.

“We’re launching a fundraising campaign online and we’re going to ask people to donate money through our website.

“We need to raise £50,000 by early next year if we’re going to put an event on like Festival Sunday.

"In addition, we’re also asking for everyone to give us their thoughts on what Festival Sunday could look like. It might not be as it has been in previous years firstly depending on funds and secondly, the public and businesses have the opportunity to shape something really special and potentially new.”

Liz added: “Now is the time to launch this campaign, before the festival kicks off this year and when we’ve got an already captured audience.

"We’d like to thank our current funders and supporters and also thank anyone in advance who would consider supporting our campaign.”

The festival aims to reach £50,000 in this fundraising effort and is relying on community spirit and the passion from previous parade go-ers to help bring back Festival Sunday in 2017.

Donations are suggested from £5 and will be made through the website http://www.westendfestival.co.uk/fundraising/

Anyone who donates £20 or more will be entered into a prize draw and will also be added to the Festival’s website supporter list.

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