History and Heritage

1920s

Kelvingrove was the first public park in Scotland, laid out between 1852 and 1867. It was the setting for no less than three international exhibitions, in 1888, 1901 and 1911, attracting 6, 11 and 9 million visitors respectively. The first bandstand structures were created for the international exhibitions, before being replaced by a more robust building.

The Kelvingrove Bandstand & Amphitheatre structure that we know today was built by the Glasgow Corporation Parks Department. It opened in 1924. It is the only original bandstand left in Glasgow and one of only three with associated amphitheatres left in Scotland. In its heyday the amphitheatre provided seating for up to 3000 people and 7000 standing spectators by clever use of the natural gradient of the land.

The first concerts at Kelvingrove Bandstand and Amphitheatre were free classical music performances on Sunday afternoons and in time the line ups featured many military and brass bands, as well as being very popular for jazz converts and traditional Scottish music.

A Sunday afternoon concert in 1926 was featured in one of the UK’s earliest colour films it shows Claude Friese-Green’s ‘The Open Road’.

1930s

Film of Glasgow captures ballroom dancers performing on stage at the Kelvingrove Bandstand.

1950s

By the 1950s the repertoire at the bandstand had expanded to include a broad range of comedy entertainers, skiffle, rock ‘n’ roll and the music of Scottish country dance.

1970s

During the 1970s, Glasgow’s rock and alternative music scene was beginning to flourish. The bandstand featured bands renowned for their psychedelic sounds and their outlandish costumes and on-stage antics.  Performances by proggers Chou Pahrot went down in local folklore!  The bandstand also hosted a number of punk picnics.

other performances that have remained in local memory are:

1970-1972 Kelvingrove Free Music Festivals.

1975 Clydebank Burgh Band.

1978 ‘Save The Apollo‘ concert at the bandstand
.

 

1980s

The 1980s was the busiest period at the bandstand as local rock bands like Wet Wet Wet, Hue and Cry, Simple Minds and unsigned musicians proved very popular and drew crowds of thousands at weekends.

From 1978-1990 Radio Clyde hosted the Kelvingrove Free Music Festivals.

1990s

1990s leaflet

1990s leaflet

By the 1990s the amphitheatre was falling into a dangerous state of disrepair and proving increasingly unusable. It was at this time that the bandstand hosted many community events such as family fun days.

In 1990 the bandstand
 is the venue for the Anti Poll Tax demonstration.

1992 Proposed demolition of the venue, now in a state of disrepair, was met with huge public opposition. A public campaign began to save the building.

1993 Friends of Kelvingrove Park founded. Between 1993-1999 Friends of Kelvingrove Park runs successful Fun Days at the bandstand with audiences increasing from 500 to 1,500.

1994 sees the Final Radio Clyde Kelvingrove Free Music Festival
 and the Steel Band Festival.

As the bandstand fell into disuse many groups still used the site creatively out of hours; from bands like Teenage Fanclub filming music videos to students experimenting with light and photo projections – this unique outdoor performance space has always captured people’s imaginations!

2000s

The year 2000 saw the Bandstand and Amphitheatre become listed by Historic Scotland through the efforts of Friends of Kelvingrove Park. In 2001 they raised enough funding to commission a Feasibility Study.

In 2002 Friends of Kelvingrove Park submits grant application to Historic Scotland for restoration (including a cost analysis funded by local businesses)
.

The Feasibility Study recommends in 2003 that the aim should be to “Restore as original”
.

In 2004 Friends of Kelvingrove Park raise funds for a business plan in order to make an Heritage Lottery application. They are able to launch the business plan in 2005.

The Herald Scotland publishes article in support of the bandstand restoration, Bandstand of Hope, “What do Wet Wet Wet, Deacon Blue, Punch and Judy and innumerable Boys Brigade brass bands have in common? They have all performed at the bandstand in Kelvingrove Park.”

As awareness and support grows Belle & Sebastian and Teenage Fanclub give their support to the Friends of Kelvingrove Park bandstand restoration campaign and pose for photos at the Museum of Transport. Franz Ferdinand, Carol Laula, Horse and many other musicians also give their support to the restoration of the venue.

Art installation ‘Past park perfect?’ by Hedley Wells features footage of past performances projected onto fenced-off bandstand stage.

Scottish Parliament congratulates Friends of Kelvingrove Park campaign in Motion S2M-04276.

In 2007 Glasgow City Council Parks Department (in association with Friends of Kelvingrove Park) employ Glasgow Building Preservation Trust to create a report.

2010s

2010-12 Kelvingrove Rap Battles take place in the bandstand arena
.

2010 – Glasgow Building Preservation Trust report is published.

In 2012 Glasgow Building Preservation Trust makes funding applications to secure circa £1.4 million to bring the bandstand back into use with modern facilities and infrastructure. A design team is appointed and Historic Scotland announce the Bandstand has been awarded £245,000 from the Building Repair Grant scheme. Heritage Lottery Fund announce a grant of £500,000. Overall the project is estimated at £1.9m. £300,000 remains to be secured but Heritage Lottery Fund grant will allow Glasgow Building Preservation Trust to go out to tender in the new year.

2013 – Glasgow Building Preservation Trust took temporary ownership of the site for the duration of works, at conclusion they will return ownership to Glasgow City Council for management by Glasgow Life as an open air performance venue. The surviving building fabric of the bandstand was conserved with features previously lost – such as the Glasgow Coat of Arms to the roof – re-instated. Surviving horn speakers were converted to function as feature lighting on the roof. An extension to the rear allowed for the installation of a platform lift and other enhancements. Some modifications were made to the amphitheatre to significantly improve accessibility to the venue. During the course of works the main contractor provided apprenticeships and work placements.

2014 – Works are completed and the bandstand & amphitheatre re-opened in May 2014. The grand opening takes place with accompanying media coverage.

A celebratory motion is lodged in the Scottish Parliament by Drew Smith MSP Motion S4M-10172: “Parliament notes and welcomes, further to motion S2M-04276: Rock the Kelvin! Restore the Kelvingrove Park Bandstand and Amphitheatre, and the long Save the Bandstand campaign led by Ed Gillett and the Friends of Kelvingrove Park, the official reopening of Glasgow’s only remaining original bandstand and amphitheatre on 29 May 2014 by Cllr Sadie Docherty, Lord Provost of the City of Glasgow; congratulates the Friends of Kelvingrove Park, Glasgow Building Preservation Trust, Glasgow City Council and Glasgow Life and all who have been involved in the restoration and improvement of what it considers this unique and much-loved west end facility”.

Also Motion S4M-09995: Sandra White MSP “Glasgow Kelvin Hits a High Note with the Reopening of the Kelvingrove Bandstand”.

The first major public event was the Glasgow Mela in June 2014. The venue also featured within Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games Opening Festival, and is now set to host a vibrant programme of performances.

2014 Belle and Sebastian Gig, photo credit Neil Davidson

2014 Belle and Sebastian Gig, photo credit Neil Davidson

2015 – Summer Season 2015 is launched in partnership with Glasgow Life and Glasgow Building Preservation Trust, managed, developed and devised through the Heritage and Audience Development Officer post, supported through Heritage Lottery Funding. The commencement of a community programme giving local people the opportunity to use the bandstand begins in May 2015 with ‘Open Wednesday’  open stage opportunities to perform.

1910 site of Kevingrove Bandstand

Cast iron bandstand in same location c.1910

Cast iron bandstand in same location c.1910

Cast iron bandstand in same location c.1910

bandstand-old

Postcard: Caledonia Series, J.M. & Co. Ltd

1924 design drawing by Glasgow Corporation Parks Department

1924 design drawing by Glasgow Corporation Parks Department

Newsquest (Herald & Times) bandstand close up

1952 Newsquest (Herald & Times) bandstand close up

1952 Music In The Parks Programme

1952 Music In The Parks Programme

1978 Kelvingrove Festival, Chou Pahrot. Photo credit: Marco Rossi

1978 Kelvingrove Festival, Chou Pahrot. Photo credit: Marco Rossi

1990 Kelvingrove Bandstand Poll Tax Demonstration

1990 Kelvingrove Bandstand Poll Tax Demonstration

Kevingrove Bandstand condition 1990

Kevingrove Bandstand condition 1990

1998 funday poster by Frank Rodgers

1998 funday poster by Frank Rodgers

1998 Funday copyright Friends of Kelvingrove Park

1998 Funday copyright Friends of Kelvingrove Park

2005 Past Park Perfect? by Hedley Wells

2005 Past Park Perfect? by Hedley Wells

Kelvingrove Bandstand condition 2006

Kelvingrove Bandstand condition 2006

Kelvingrove Bandstand condition 2013

Kelvingrove Bandstand condition 2013

Belle and Sebastian photo credit Neil Davidson1

2014 Belle and Sebastian gig at the Bandstand photo credit Neil Davidson