21 great moments from Paisley 2021

Paisley’s bid to become UK City of Culture 2021 has turned into a mass movement over the past 18 months.

In that time, businesses, cultural and community groups have thrown their support behind the town’s ambitions…even joined by a celebrity or two.

Here, we look back at some of the highlights since the bid was launched.

 1) Paisley 2021 is officially launched – November 2015


More than 350 people gathered in the picturesque Paisley Abbey for the official launch of Paisley's bid to be UK City of Culture 2021. The evening, which was hosted by broadcaster Shereen Nanjani, featured a fabulous performance by Paisley's own Pace Youth Theatre group.


2) Indian fashion show – January 2016


The famous Paisley Pattern was the star of the show during a cross-cultural fashion extravaganza featuring students from India and Scotland. A delegation from Glasgow Kelvin College travelled to Andhra Pradesh in India and a group from the Government Polytechnic for Women in the city of Guntur jetted over later in the month for the special show to parade the Paisley Pattern at the Abbey.


3) First cultural conversation – February 2016

Members of the local creative scene met in Paisley Town Hall for a cultural conversation with the Paisley 2021 team  allowing them to help shape the content of the bid. The event, which was held as part of February's 2021 weekend, also showcased the variety of cultural events taking place in Paisley on a typical weekend.


4) Paisley 2021 Stadium signs unveiled – February 2016

After announcing that their home would be renamed the Paisley 2021 Stadium in November 2015, St Mirren unveiled new branding at their home stadium to show their support for the bid. Signs carrying the colourful Paisley 2021 brand identity were erected around St Mirren’s stadium as part of the two-year sponsorship and stadium naming rights deal.


5) Paisley Beer and Food Festival – April 2016

Thousands of visitors enjoyed an extravaganza of food and drink with two major events in the town. The Paisley Food festival saw a carnival of entertainment and street food from across the globe at Abbey Close, which took place alongside Scotland's largest festival of real ale, the Paisley Beer Festival.


6) British Pipe Band Championships – May 2016

Paisley played host to one of the biggest events in world piping as 15,000 people turned out for the British Pipe Band Championships in May 2016. A record entry of around 4,000 pipers and drummers descended on St James Playing Fields at the championship's first ever visit to the town.


7) Scottish Album of the Year Award – June 2016


Paisley Town Hall lit up for one of the biggest dates in Scotland's musical calendar when it hosted the SAY Award on the first time it had ever left Glasgow. At the ceremony, presented by co-hosts Vic Galloway and Janice Forsyth, Anna Meredith emerged as the winner of the £20,000 prize for her hit album Varmints.


 8) Glasgow Airport back the bid – June 2016


Paisley's bid for UK City of Culture was cleared for take off after being backed by bosses at Glasgow Airport. A special event saw attractions including a Paisley-themed 3D-effect artwork created by artist Duncan Wilson and the chance for travellers to take pictures with Paisley-2021-branded photo props. 


9) Pride of Paisley lions a roaring success – July 2016


The Pride of Paisley lions were unveiled by Paisley First business improvement district and proved to be a roaring success. Twenty five lions were positioned at locations all across the town and were a big draw for kids, families, shoppers and visitors to the town during their three month stay.


10) PACE kids take Paisley to London – September 2016


Young people from PACE Theatre Group led a delegation to London for a reception in the Houses of Commons celebrating the town’s creative scene. The group from PACE, the youth theatre which started the careers of Paolo Nutini and James McAvoy, promoted Paisley's Untold Story at the event hosted by Renfrewshire MPs Mhairi Black and Gavin Newlands.


11) The Spree festival returns – October 2016


The annual festival of music, comedy and more took over the town centre for a fifth year – with the bulk of the action in the Spiegeltent in County Square. The nine-day festival saw over 4,000 tickets sold and more than 1,000 children attend free day-time workshops during the October school holiday.


12) Paolo Nutini backs Paisley 2021 – November 2016

Paisley’s musical megastar Paolo Nutini showed his support for Paisley 2021 and told why he believed his hometown should be named UK City of Culture 2021. The singer backed the bid with a surprise video message broadcast to a crowd of 30,000 at Paisley's Christmas Light Switch-on event, which coincided with the first anniversary of the bid launch.


13) Paisley 2021 goes to Holyrood – December 2016


Paisley took over the home of the Scottish Parliament with a rousing reception to mark a critical moment in the town's bid for UK City of Culture 2021. Artists, poets, actors and musicians from Paisley joined representatives from the public, private and third sectors and MSPs to celebrate the phenomenal support for the town's bid.


14) Paisley showcased in LEGO video – February 2017

Iconic Paisley landmarks and famous faces were reimagined in a stunning stop-motion animation LEGO film by local teenager Morgan Spence. The 17-year-old, who received funding for the film from Paisley’s Culture, Heritage and Events Fund to create the video, hilariously captured Paisley “Buddies” in action, including actors David Tennant, Gerard Butler and singer Paolo Nutini.


15) Gerard Butler backs Paisley 2021 – February 2017


A certain Hollywood megastar was left impressed by Morgan Spence's LEGO video - Gerard Butler. The Paisley-born actor spoke of his pride at being recreated in the animated film in support of Paisley's bid for UK City of Culture 2021 bid. Taking to his Twitter and Facebook accounts to back the bid, Gerard said: “Honoured to make the cut, especially in Lego form. Paisley 2021, you have my support!”


16) Stunning kingfisher mural unveiled – February 2017


Paisley became the first Business Improvement District in Scotland to have a gable end transformed into a giant mural by Paisley First. The beautiful artwork, which received funding from Renfrewshire’s Culture Events and Heritage Fund, highlights the work of Paisley-born ornithologist Alexander Wilson, as well as iconic buildings and local wildlife. It was the first of a series of murals to be created in Paisley’s town centre.


17) Coats back Paisley 2021 – March 2017


The world's leading industrial thread manufacturer Coats showed its support for the Paisley 2021 bid. The famous global name can be traced back to the Coats and Clark families that created the weaving and textile industries in Paisley during the 1750s. The families were also major benefactors to the town, including buildings such as the Coats Observatory and the Grand Fountain.


18) Brad Paisley backs the bid – March 2017


Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 gained support from the town’s superstar namesake – Grammy-award-winning US country artist Brad Paisley. The star posed for pictures with a specially-branded Paisley 2021 taxi ahead of his show at Glasgow's Clyde Auditorium. He was also presented with a Paisley tartan tie which was produced by the town’s Houston Kiltmakers. 


19) School pupils shape Paisley 2021 bid – March 2017


Every school pupil in Renfrewshire was given the chance to shape Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 thanks to a specially-commissioned children’s short story. Gracie's Big Idea, written by an award-winning author Ross Mackenzie and illustrated by Neil Slorance, was given to 14,000 primary pupils and asked them to submit one idea they would like to see as part of the bid.


20) Creative Scotland chief visits YDance event – April 2017


Janet Archer, Chief Executive of Creative Scotland, visited Paisley to see the showcase of the Look Up, Look Under Look Out school project by national youth dance organisation YDance. The project was one of 46 funded by Renfrewshire’s Culture, Heritage and Events Fund and worked with eight primary schools to produce a dance piece on the area’s architecture or history.


21) Malcolm trailers spread Paisley 2021 message – April 2017

Paisley's bid for UK City of Culture took to the road across the UK as top logistics and construction firm Malcolm Group unveiled two special Paisley 2021 branded trailers. The Linwood-based company, which will celebrate its centenary in 2021, will continue to spread word of the town’s bid far and wide.

Find out how you can pledge your support for Paisley 2021.