The St Andrew’s Day Torchlight Parade is a unique and exciting community event set in the beautiful West End of Glasgow. The event’s director Brendon McIlroy explains what it’s all about – and how to get tickets.
What can people expect?
The St Andrew’s Day Torchlight Parade is a vibrant, colourful and accessible community event for Glasgow in support of the city’s St Andrew’s Day celebrations. In 2019, over 1000 people participated in the parade and many hundreds more lined the streets to cheer it on.
Now in its fifth year and previously organised by West End Festival, the parade is now organised by Glasgow-based production company Halo Arts, which has become known for its innovative and imaginative community events and outreach programme.
When does the torchlight parade take place?
The parade is on Saturday November 27, which is the nearest Saturday to St Andrew’s Day. Gates Open at 5:30pm and the entertainment starts at 6:00pm.
Where does it start and where does it go?
It starts at Glasgow Botanic Gardens with 90 minutes of pre-parade entertainment, before making its way along Byres Road and University Avenue to the South Front of University of Glasgow where it finishes with more entertainment.
What is the entertainment at the start?
We have live music from Sambayabamba, Brass Aye & The Shiverin Sheiks as well as our fabulous fire performers from Think Circus and our kids & families hub featuring lantern making, face painting and more.
We then have the lighting of the torches which will be an event in itself. We are planning more live entertainment at the end of the procession from the fantastic Think Circus.
Will the event be safe?
Yes, absolutely. We are committed to delivering a safe, low-risk event by an experienced and responsible and skilled team. Health and safety and COVID-19 prevention will be our primary considerations.
Why is the event so special?
We are all about inclusivity and accessibility, and believe in providing affordable experiences for the whole community. Our events are not just for people in Hillhead, Kelvinbridge or Dowanhill. We want to include communities in places like Whiteinch, Anniesland, Drumchapel and Yoker.
So many events nowadays seem to be about making money and focused on ‘high average transaction value’. That’s why we make our ticket prices as low as we possibly can. We don’t believe in erecting barriers and hoardings around our public places.
How do you support the community?
We host a charity sponsor, which this year is the children’s hospice charity CHAS. We also give out a lot of free tickets to community groups and schools. The parade gives artists and performers, musicians, fire performers, and contractors something to work towards.
We also have an outreach programme, which will see up to 300 young people learn through creativity, making carnival items, such as lanterns, banners and flags to be carried in the parade.
What would you say to people thinking about coming along?
There’s something for everybody at the torchlight parade – and families don’t have to break the bank to enjoy an evening out. The event has been reimagined slightly from previous years and we have built on what has gone before by taking feedback. Halo Arts is really excited to be delivering this fantastic and much-needed community event.
How much are tickets?
People can join in by buying a £9 ticket for general entry to the event at Botanic Gardens and walk with our parade. For only a few pounds extra, at £13, you can buy and carry a torch to add to the spectacle. A family ticket costs £40.
How can people book tickets?
Tickets can be purchased via www.wearehaloarts.com. But hurry before they sell out! We look forward to seeing you on the parade.