Friends of Kelvingrove Park – the Bandstand’s true heroes

Kids fun day 2 (1995) copy

Opening ceremony 2014 – Kids Fun Day 1995

Following from

A shout of frustration, not protest, rang out at today’s re-opening ceremony for the Kelvingrove Bandstand and Amphitheatre, writes Ginny Clark.

The official unveiling of this much-loved and now beautifully refurbished Bandstand was marked by grand speeches and some fantastic music from community jazz band Brass, Aye and local schools Hillhead High and Sgoil Ghaidlig Ghlaschu. It was a great moment for all those involved in the £2.1million project – read more about the history, background and details here and here.

Amid the speeches, there was a mention for the Friends of Kelvingrove Park in the ‘thank-yous’ list from Glasgow Buildings Preservation Trust (GBPT) chair Pat Chalmers.

But when it came to handing out souvenir pictures to all of the project partners’ proud – and rightly so – representatives, a question rang out from the back of the amphitheatre: ‘Where’s the picture for Friends of Kelvingrove Park’? From the stage, there was an off-script reply that GBPT would get a picture sorted out for the organisation ‘later’.

But to many local onlookers, in this high-profile and highly successful city project, it seemed the efforts of the Friends of Kelvingrove Park had perhaps not been given the recognition they deserved.

This group began to raise concerns about the Bandstand throughout the 1990s, a driving force that became a fully-fledged campaign to restore the building and retain it as a valuable community asset of great historical value. In 2002 the Friends of Kelvingrove Park carried out the feasibility study into a possible restoration project – and one year later Glasgow City Council had approved the plan in principal.

Yet it took another seven years of hard lobbying by the Friends of Kelvingrove Park – backed by a strong grassroots support – to secure the city council’s commitment and initial funding to at last progress the restoration. As plans for this year’s Commonwealth Games gathered force, so too did the prospect of securing the Bandstand as part of its legacy. By 2010,  the project was rolling – and today’s ceremony marked the culmination of a classy restoration job by Glasgow City Council, GBPT and Glasgow Life.

However, what this community knows for sure is that without the tireless efforts of Friends of Kelvingrove Park, the B-listed Bandstand and Amphitheatre would not be a unique and shining outdoor venue – but still lie decaying, a derelict shell.

See more about Friends of Kelvingrove Park here

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