Guest blog: Paisley inspires creativity and beautiful music

Paisley is inspiring to me. I love its creative community and beautiful venues and buildings. This was the reason I got involved in The Spree, helping to establish it in the town and now as the Artistic Director for the festival. 

Paisley is a vibrant, buzzing and brilliant town full of creative people. Organisations such as PACE youth theatre, Create Paisley and Loud n Proud continually pack in creative activities for young people and  ensure that a new generation of creative ‘buddies’ are just round the corner. They all feature as part of the festival.

It is a place that Robert Tannahill, Gerry Rafferty, Paolo Nutini, David Tennant, Danny Kyle and a whole host more called home.  During this year’s festival we will celebrate our musical heritage with two commissions in the world-famous Spiegeltent.

I’m excited to see Paisley’s daughter Carol Laula at the Spree this year. Carol will bring together a host of ‘buddies’ including Mark and Claire Rafferty, singers from PACE and many others. They will be joined by Christopher Brookmyre who will read from Iain Bank’s novel Espedair Street (a famous Paisley street).

Scotland’s other national Bard, Robert Tannahill, is a true gem in Paisley’s heritage and he will be celebrated with a unique concert featuring The Tannahill Weavers, Eddi Reader and Dick Gaughan.

New talent is a big thing for Paisley and the Danny Kyle stage is a great platform for new Paisley artists – and a fantastic legacy to the great ‘buddie’ Danny. It’s a highly recommended spot to see the artists of tomorrow.

The great thing about The Spree is that we can also showcase our spectacular venues. Paisley Abbey is 850 years old and was the birthplace of Robert the Bruce. It is stunning!  It’s the perfect setting for some truly exceptional concerts. This year, Justin Currie will join Admiral Fallow, Twilight Sad, King Creosote, Roddy Hart and Idlewild in a list of artists that have performed with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra in the Abbey as part of The Spree. These shows are spine tingling some of my favourite concerts I have ever been involved with.

Paisley is just ten minutes on a train from Glasgow and home to Glasgow Airport. Paisley is perfectly positioned to host a festival and perfectly placed to showcase the town and some of Scotland’s most talented artists.  There are a host of shows: some community-based and some with the likes of Admiral Fallow,  Skerryvore, Treacherous Orchestra and SAY (Scottish Album of the Year) award finalists as well.

I love this festival - there is no doubt in my mind that it works because it’s held in Paisley.