Cocktails · Glasgow · Music

Kelvingrove Goes Cuban

Earlier this month I won tickets to a one day music festival called Kelvingrove Goes Cuban. It was to be held in the Kelvingrove bandstand that was restored just last year – an open air bandstand in Kelvingrove Park. Naturally I was thrilled, I’d really hoped to win tickets because it sounded like a fun event, but there was no way I could have justified the cost of buying them at face value.

Now, Glasgow is a city of weather. Two weeks ago it was getting really bright and sunny and warm. It felt like Summer had come early. P kept suggesting that we go get ice creams and sit in the park, which we did several times. Occasionally it was sunny enough that concerns about sunburn wouldn’t be totally ridiculous.

Samba Ya Bamba!

However, by the week before the festival, while it was occasionally quite sunny, it was also occasionally snowing. There was hail, sleet, clouds, rain, sunshine. Usually within any two hour period you’d get it all. At one point I walked to work in blazing sunshine, printed a document and exited the building to falling snow. I had to ask a stranger if they could see it too in case I was losing it (they could). On the morning of the festival day I walked to Ladies Who Lift in sunshine, and walked home in hail.

I was concerned – even if people had paid good money for their tickets, there’s no way they’d hang around long outside in snow or hail. However, by the time the festival was going to start the sun was out and although it wasn’t as warm as midday it was turning into quite a nice evening. We picked up our tickets at the gate (thanks, Yelp!) and picked up our free cocktails (thanks, Yelp!) and settled down.

Soon the first band, Samba Ya Bamba struck up. Loud, jazzy samba music with lots of drums and trombones, they even brought on dancers who encouraged everyone else to dance too. These guys had two sets, with an hour break in between so people could go get beer and food. After their second set there was interactive dance, which we weren’t interested in, so we went to a local pub for cheaper beer and to warm up – by this time the sun was getting low and it was getting a little chilly.

Delicious brisket from Bowl Foods

We got back in time for The Shiverin’ Sheiks, a local Glasgow favourite who play swing and rock n roll. They were a lot of fun and after a rum-filled coffee and some sustenance provided by Bowl Foods (I got the brisket and it was sooooo good) I was in high spirits in spite of the cold. However, after their set there was a fairly long wait before the headline act, The Cuban Brothers, were to come on.

It might be true that I feel the cold but I don’t feel it anywhere near as much as P does and he was getting chilly. Honestly, if you’re having an outdoor event in Glasgow you need to think about how cold it can get, how quickly, how unexpectedly. If they’d had those heat lamps you sometimes get in beer gardens they would have been fine but apparently they were just hoping that people would dance enough to stay warm which most people didn’t really do, even when the music was on, never mind between sets.

The Shiverin’ Sheiks, managing to get a few people dancing

We agreed to wait around for The Cuban Brothers to start, listen to a couple of their songs and stay if they were good but to just go home if they were naff. Sadly, they were seriously naff. The bad banter which seemed to be 90% of their act might have been forgiven if the music was good but it was not. I was neither drunk enough, nor 13-years-old enough to appreciate the act and P quickly dismissed it as crap. So we went home to warm up.

It was a cool and fun day and I’m really glad I went, if only to hear Samba Ya Bamba and The Shiverin’ Sheiks (who I’ll definitely look out for in future) but I can’t honestly recommend The Cuban Brothers, or outdoor events in Glasgow in Spring. Lesson learned.


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