Renfrewshire Council

MEDIA RELEASE: Roll up, roll up for Paisley's largest fright fest yet!

Paisley Halloween Festival returns for its biggest year yet - and for the first time ever the entire town centre will be the stage!

The Dark Circus rolls into Paisley on Friday 25 and Saturday 26 October 2019 with internationally acclaimed outdoor theatre specialists, Cirque Bijou, helping to transform the town into the perfect Halloween playground.

The free two-day spectacular, one of the largest festivals of its kind in the UK which routinely attracts tens of thousands to the town, will cover everywhere from Bridge Street and County Square to the Coats Memorial Church and Shuttle Street, serving up creepy characters and frightening fun at every turn.

The main spectacle of the festival is the carnival-style Halloween Parade which takes place on the Saturday and will have an extended route for 2019. More than 300 costumed performers including local groups, voodoo acrobats, fire performers and curious creatures, jinxed jugglers and magnificent floats will be led through the town by the sinister Svengali ringmaster to thrilling live music, offering plenty of frights and delights along the way. Don't miss the Dark Circus Stage on Gauze Street where the ringmaster will be conjuring up spectacular acts from his troupe of possessed performers.

The Saturday will see aerial artists, All or Nothing, perform their death-defying act 'Into the Dark' where professional artists will be joined by local performers who will circle and swirl around the haunted carousel suspended over the grounds of the town's iconic Abbey. While international fire theatre company, PyroCeltica, will bring their unique performance to the Coats Memorial Church to delight the crowds.

New to the festival this year is the addition of the ticketed spooky silent disco. Held in Dunn Square in the heart of the town, the disco is sure to deliver plenty of dancing, singing and Halloween fun for all the family. DJs will play a range of floorfillers to the masses covering everything from Halloween favourites to the best of Indie disco, pop and dance classics - making sure everyone gets into the party mood.

The weekend will offer plenty of opportunities to join in the fun with a range of family-focussed Halloween-themed arts and crafts activities and workshops including pumpkin carving. Street theatre acts and walkabout performances will pop up around the town centre featuring the likes of the Spark LED Drummers and Mr Wilson's Second Liners as well as acrobatic, high-wire walking and hula hoop artists.

There will also be scary movie screenings at Paisley Arts Centre, costume making with sustainable fashion experts Re:Mode, terrifying tales with Village Storytelling Centre and a Halloween Fun Fair.

Julian Bracey, Artistic Director at Cirque Bijou, said: "We are delighted to be working on this year's Paisley Halloween Festival and to be involved in an event so strongly rooted in the town. We've been sourcing the best local talent and working closely with community groups from across Paisley who we'll be putting centre stage in our Dark Circus parade alongside some of our fantastic professional performers.

"Cirque Bijou specialise in creating unforgettable and exquisitely crafted shows and Paisley Halloween Festival will be no different. We'll be pulling every trick (and treat!) out of the bag to make this year the most spooktacular yet and we can't wait to show you what we've got in store."

Louisa Mahon, Head of Marketing, Communications and Events at Renfrewshire Council, said: "Paisley Halloween Festival is one of the most highly anticipated events in our calendar. Its stellar programme attracts thousands of visitors from across Scotland and beyond each year and is now regarded as one of the best events of its kind in the UK.

"The festival has grown larger each year and this year will see our most ambitious and creative production yet as the entire town will become a circus stage, for professional and community performers to enthral the crowds.

 "Events like this are not just great for visitors but for the local economy. Last year's event was worth more than £1.9m to the local economy as the festival hosted 34,000 people who enjoyed the fantastic parade and captivating performances. This year we aim to attract even more visitors to the town and encourage them to spend local.

"Paisley's programme of major events has made the town one of Scotland's key cultural destinations in recent years - and we look forward to building on that national platform with the support of our creative partners like EventScotland who continue to work with us to make this event as successful as possible."

The Paisley Halloween Festival, which was supported in 2018 through the Year of Young People event fund, was awarded £16,950 of National Programme funding from Event Scotland for this year's event.

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland's Director of Events, said: "EventScotland is delighted to be supporting the Paisley Halloween Festival through its National Events Programme. The festival was a huge success in 2018 as part of the Year of Young People programme, creating opportunities for the town's young people to be involved in the co-creation of the event while also driving significant economic impact for the local area.

"It is great to see the festival building on this legacy and delivering its biggest programme yet, with aerial performances, workshops, silent disco and the showpiece Halloween Parade, with the exciting addition of Cirque Bijou's dark circus set to capture the imaginations of both locals and visitors alike."

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