Michael Dale, Director of Glasgow’s West End Festival
(2021 – West End Festival now in 25th year)
Michael Dale presents an urbane and elegant figure; easily spotted around the West End with his thick mane of silver hair and smart suits. He is often out and about, enjoying a meal at Cottier’s or strolling through the park with his wife Freddie. Freddie and Michael live in the West End, in the lovely Kirklee area, with their children Robbie and Pippa and although born in Scotland, he was actually brought up in Cairo as his father worked there.
Michael is humourous and courteous, interested in everything and everybody, and always available for a friendly chat at West End gatherings , However, beneath his relaxed manner lies the font of creativity and commitment, which makes him so successful as Director (and founder) of Glasgow’s West End Festival. Now in its 9th year.
During the festival the West End is at its very best. It is lively and interesting with a range of musical, theatrical and community events and the carnival atmosphere attracts large numbers of people from far and wide. Organising such a large scale event is a tremendous responsibility and from his headquarters in a quaint little office in the West End (Hyndland’s White House), Michael has built an impressive network of performers, sponsors, funders, community groups, councillors, public sector officers and departments, suppliers of equipment, local businesses, and volunteers. He takes responsibility for every aspect of the Festival from participation to publicity and has built a loyal and capable team, who provide support year in, year out. He is particularly appreciative of the help he gets from “the people from the Council and the local police”.
What is most impressive about Michael is his energy, he is entirely focussed on success and that is why each year the scale of the festival grows and its popularity increases. This year it has a programme of over 500 events involving many acts and organisations. Michael has been successful in attracting major sponsorship and last year over 40,000 people attended the Street Party, sponsored again this yer by Whyte and Mackay, other major sponsors are the Evening Times and Corum.
The West End would not be the same without the Festival and the Festival would not be the same without Michael Dale. Originally Director of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (1981-1986), he has an impressive pedigree and apart from his work in the capital, he was Director of Events and External Relations for Glasgow’s Garden Festival, he also organised the events for the EC Summit 1992 and Commonwealth Heads of Government 1997.
With his partner John Kerr he established The Scottish Events Agency, which since 1999 has been responsible for a variety of important events. At present ‘Scottish Events” is organising the new Glasgow River Festival 16th – 19th July – which takes place in and around the old Garden Festival area at the Science Centre and the SECC, so Michael will feel quite at home! This event and the West End Festival should be Glasgow’s two top events of the year.
‘It can only get bigger and better … it’s good to know that WEF has built a reputation and when we get to the 10th anniversary in 2006, I want fireworks!!’
Michael Dale – 2005.