3 October 2019, Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Glasgow Central

Glasgow's Favourite Business: Multi-disciplinary arts and events venue SWG3

Glasgow's Favourite Business: Multi-disciplinary arts and events venue SWG3

TODAY we profile the last of the six contenders for the title of Glasgow’s Favourite Business 2019.

The award, sponsored by the Evening Times, is part of the Glasgow Business Awards, organised by Glasgow Chamber of Commerce and with Royal Bank of Scotland as the main sponsor.

The awards will be presented at a black-tie dinner at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel on October 3. The six contenders are the SSE Hydro, Battlefield Rest, Loganair, Eusebi Deli and Restaurant, Scottish Ballet and SWG3.

From today you can vote for the business you would like to see win the title.

All you have to do to cast your vote is to visit www.glasgowbusinessawards.com/glasgows-favouritebusiness-poll/

The deadline for all votes is August 30. SWG3 may be off the beaten track, but fans know it offers unique atmosphere. 

The multi-disciplinary arts and events venue that is SWG3 is tucked away down a quiet street lined with railway arches, which runs parallel with the A814 Clydeside Expressway.

If it’s not the most immediately obvious location for one of the hottest venues in the city, but nevertheless, artists, musicians and discriminating fans have been beating a path to its doors in increasing numbers.

It has numerous spaces, from the TV Studio, which can accommodate 1,000 standing people, to the 350-seater flexible arts space, the Warehouse.

The recently added space, the Galvanizers, has hosted everything from music festivals to an international graffiti festival.

Add in the outdoor Yard space (capable of accommodating up to 5,000 people), the Poetry Club hub, a photo studio, artist studios, a design studio and a cafe bar known as the Acid Bar, and it’s not difficult to see the reason why SWG3 has such a high profile.

Art exhibitions are a regular feature, and the list of forthcoming concerts includes such well-known names as Imogen Heap, Metronomy, Professor Green, Ride, the celebrated themed club night, Elrow, and The Skids and Big Country. The XX, LCD Soundsystem, Foals and Young Fathers have all played at the Galvanizers.

The venue has attracted some of the live-music concerts that would otherwise have gone to the O2 ABC in Sauchiehall Street, which was devastated by the Art School fire last year.

Its music programme has been carefully built up over 15 years, and lasting bonds have been created with promoters.

The fact that SWG3 has no fewer than four spaces means it is unusually flexible as well. SWG3’s story can be traced back to 2004.

The venue is the creation of Andrew Fleming-Brown, a Gray’s School of Art graduate widely known as Mutley.

“I had an opportunity to take on what was a semi-derelict building at the end of the street about 15 years ago,” he says. “I had a very loose vision to turn it into artists’ studios and gallery space.

“I’d visited [the contemporary art institution] MoMA PS1 in New York while I was at art school, and it started from that point. 

“We developed the building over a period of time but through non-conventional means.

“We used to run events every four to six weeks and we’d raise money to do up different parts of the building. We did skip parties, electricity parties, we did toilet parties.

“It was pretty hand-to-mouth for 10 years as we slowly chipped away at the space we occupied at that time.”

The ultimate aim, he says, “was that I guess we wanted to create something that was an international, multi-discipline facility.

“I think we’re all more aware that artists and audiences cross over from one discipline to another, but 15 years ago we were a little bit more structured.

“The music recording studios would be there, the venues and the artists’ studios were there. Everything had its place and was slightly more separated than it is now, even though there’s always been a real sense of community here. For me, it was about trying to bring all that together under one roof.”

Another aim was to provide the best-quality in international facilities, whatever the discipline, “and to work with the best promoters and curators that we can to deliver a really broad but high-quality programme of cultural activity.”

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