After around 15 years of closure Kelvingrove Bandstand and Amphitheatre was opened by the Lord Provost of Glasgow, Councillor Sadie Docherty at 10am on Thursday 29th May. The bandstand has undergone a major £2.1 million transformation by Glasgow Building Preservation Trust in partnership with Glasgow City Council and Glasgow Life, and was proudly showcased to key stakeholders at Thursday’s launch event.
This event marked the (re)opening of this Glasgow landmark and celebrated the achievements of all those that have worked hard to bring it back into use. The building was officially opened by Lord Provost of Glasgow, Councillor Sadie Docherty cutting the ribbon at 10am. Key speakers included; Patricia Chalmers MBE, Glasgow Building Preservation Trust’s Chairperson; Colin McLean, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland; and Jill Miller, Director of Culture at Glasgow Life. Some of the first few performers on the stage were Brass, Aye (the New Orleans Dixie jazz community band with Glasgow style) and music performances from Hillhead High School and the Glasgow Gaelic school (Sgoil Ghaidlig Ghlaschu) helping to mark this momentous occasion.
A purpose-built entertainment facility, Kelvingrove Bandstand & Amphitheatre was built by the Glasgow Corporation Parks department in 1924. It is Category B listed and situated within Kelvingrove Park, a designed landscape of national importance which was laid out around part of the river Kelvin from 1852, with design contributions from Charles Wilson and Sir Joseph Paxton. The building is the only original bandstand left in Glasgow and one of only three with associated amphitheatres in Scotland. The Bandstand is of theatre-type design with the Amphitheatre’s terracing cleverly using the natural gradient of the land to provide seating for up to 3,000 people and 7,000 standing in its heyday. The building closed in 1999 and fell into serious disrepair, suffering from repeated acts of vandalism, with its condition described as ‘critical’ on the Scottish Buildings at Risk Register.
There have been a number of proposals over the years to find a sustainable future for this iconic venue and the local community have long campaigned for its reuse. In 2012, an agreed delivery plan, development funding and a partnership between Glasgow Building Preservation Trust, Glasgow City Council (the building’s owner) and Glasgow Life (the end user) enabled the project to proceed. A Design Team was appointed in November 2012 and work started on site in August 2013, which moved at pace to ensure the project was complete for Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games. The existing fabric and features of the original structure have been carefully conserved and repaired and sensitive interventions have made the building and site safe and accessible for modern day performers and audiences. Two modest, contemporary extensions to the rear of the Bandstand have enabled the introduction of a platform lift and enhanced facilities. Adaptations to the Amphitheatre include the introduction of a new cross aisle, two new gangways and improvements to the upper terracing to provide permanent concrete seating. A new ramped area at the top of the Amphitheatre has significantly improved accessibility. The pay boxes on Kelvin Way are a later addition and have been rendered and new ogee-style roofs to the original design have been built.
Pat Chalmers MBE, Chair of Glasgow Building Preservation Trust:
“Glasgow Building Preservation Trust is delighted to have been able to raise funding and be the delivery organisation for the restoration of this delightful historic building, giving the much loved outdoor venue a whole new lease of life for the next generation of audiences . Our Trust has been absolutely committed to finding ways to contribute to looking after Glasgow’s unique built heritage for the last 32 years.”
Lord Provost of Glasgow Sadie Docherty:
“This is a very exciting time. The Kelvingrove Bandstand is a much loved Glasgow landmark and its restoration is a great example of how working in partnership can bring out the best in a project.”
Colin McLean, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said:
“The success of the recent Big Weekend shows how much Glasgow loves an outdoor concert. Thanks to the lottery playing public, Kelvingrove Bandstand can once again play its part in the cultural and civic life of the city providing a fantastic outdoor space for events for the Commonwealth Games and beyond.”
The building is being managed by Glasgow Life who will be organising a number of commercial and community events. For information on hiring the Bandstand please contact Jamie Houston Jamie.Houston@glasgowlife.org.uk 0141 353 8032
For information on Community engagement and learning opportunities please contact Laura Bennison Laura.firstname.lastname@example.org 0141 276 9509
Undoubtedly the Bandstand has already attracted a lot of press interest. See below for a few articles and a video clip on BBC!