Festival signs Chaka Khan for bandstand concert

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Chaka Khan is to perform in Kelvingrove’s bandstand venue in a high profile opening concert for this year’s West End Festival on June 4.

It’s one of just three UK tour appearances she will make this year, and is confidently expected to be a sell-out.

Best known for signature hit “I’m Every Woman” she is easily the biggest popular music name ever to be associated with the Festival, which in the past was best known for its Mardi Gras parade down Byres Road - a spectacle which hit crowd control and policing problems.

The fortnight-long Festival always contains a number of outdoor events, but consists mainly of indoor events in venues such as church halls and the local library.

It is often said that many assume the opening Sunday is the main or only event, rather than just a curtain-raiser.

The full programme for the 2017 Festival hasn’t been finalised, but some Festival veterans see the conspicuous Kelvingrove bandstand appearance as further evidence of a shift away from the heart of the West End for the busiest events.

The bandstand (and its outdoors arena) was restored by the council in time for the Commonwealth Games after many years of derelict decay during which it was a conspicuous eyesore.

Chaka Khan’s concert means the Festival will effectively be opened with a paid attraction, as opposed to the street carnival in Byres Road of previous years – and anyone aiming to see Chaka Khan has been advised to book early.

The Gibson Street Gala Day staged nearby remains hugely popular, and for many local people is the highlight of what can seem an otherwise low key fortnight.