Revamped outdoor concert venue that has already seen a number of big-name bands perform. The tranquil setting makes it one of the city’s finest venues.
After more than two decades of dereliction, near-complete disuse, and loud calls and campaigns for its restoration by locals with support from prominent Scottish groups including Belle and Sebastian, Teenage Fanclub and Franz Ferdinand, the Kelvingrove Bandstand has finally been given a major facelift. It reopened in 2014, in time for the Commonwealth Games.
The rebirth of this iconic structure, built in 1924 and designed by Glasgow architectural godfather James Miller, has been warmly welcomed. Not only because it has relieved one of Glasgow’s most popular parks of a sad, graffiti-stained and boarded-up eyesore, but also because it has returned the city’s only large-scale permanent open-air music venue. Indeed, it’s the only original bandstand left in Glasgow, and one of only three with amphitheatres left in Scotland.
The weather being as it is, the bandstand only has a short window of full usage in summer, but it will be well used if its debut season is anything to go by - Belle and Sebastian on the opening night of the Commonwealth Games, Teenage Fanclub, Steve Earle, Capercaillie, Squeeze and The Waterboys.
With a capacity of 2,500, most of the seating is on hard stone benches. It’s not the comfiest place to sit (best to bring some kind of cushion or seat padding), but sight lines are great from almost every angle thanks to an amphitheatre design that makes clever use of the land’s natural gradient down towards the River Kelvin behind the stage. While volume levels aren’t usually the best – neighbours have to be taken into consideration – the location is truly special, with lush green trees towering above the site from every side. On a warm evening, there is no finer place in the city to watch a concert.
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