A culture vulture hotspot

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FROM music and live entertainment to a burgeoning foodie scene — it seems the southside is where it’s at these days.

This side of the Clyde has seen a huge boost in creative events over the past few years, marking areas like Shawlands as up-and-coming players in the city’s arts scene.

There’s the Southside Film Festival, launched in 2011 and now an annual event — not to mention screenings throughout the year at the Film Festival Club, back for spring with Good Vibrations (March 11), Blue Velvet (April 8) and Nebraska (May 11).

The southside even has its own Fringe festival, launched in 2013 by musician Crawford Smith and burlesque performer Corinna Currie — surpassing all expectations with over 100 events in its first year.

Corinna told The Extra: “The southside is continuing to grow bigger and better on the live entertainment and food and drink scene.

“The Southside Fringe alone has received an overwhelming amount of support from new and existing businesses in area.

“It’s such an exciting time to live and work here, and we can’t praise the local venues and eateries enough for pulling together to get the area well and truly on the map.”

This year’s Fringe is in the planning stages, with cabaret, music, comedy, theatre, burlesque, spoken word and art on the billing — all organised from the new HQ on Pollokshaws Road.

There are new strands for 2014, including an LGBT element, Pop Up Politics and Women in The Fringe, driven by female creatives.

The Fringe returns to Shawlands (and beyond) May 9-25 — but for co-founder Crawford, there’s always his original crowd pleaser, Southside Sessions.

Crawford commented: “There are more and more people from the creative industries moving to the southside — and there are new musicians coming out of the woodwork.

“That’s why I started Southside Sessions — I was fed up riding my bike over to the westend to play.

“Nowadays I’m finding people moving from there to here. There’s a real bustle at the moment.”

There’s live music in every corner of the city, from Monday night jam sessions to midweek fiddle workshops (courtesy of the new Southside Music School).

But it’s not all about the Glasgow side of things, as East Renfrewshire holds its own on the entertainment scene.

East Ren’s dedicated arts venue Eastwood Park Theatre plays host to professional and amateur acts throughout the year, drawing theatre fans in from beyond the Giffnock boundary for every kind of show imaginable.

Glasgow Music Theatre first performed at the venue in 2010 and the troupe make regular appearances, including How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, which ran in January.

GMT’s Amy Glover told The Extra: “We feel privileged to be a regular fixture in an arts venue where national companies and local theatre sit happily side by side.

“Local theatre introduces new audiences and participants to the magic of live performance. For one week per year, the doctors, teachers and lawyers in GMT get to step away from the day job and experience the life of a performer.

“Without an affordable, accessible theatre like Eastwood Park, a young company like us couldn’t even have got started and certainly couldn’t have built the fan base we have now.”

And it’s not just performance which draws culture vultures to the southside.

There’s a foodie revolution going on across the city, with street food and fast-selling pop-up events springing up to cater to our ever-more demanding tastebuds.

Whether it’s burgers from the secret menu at Buddy’s BBQ or a street food showdown at the Glad Cafe, Shawlands (and beyond) is well and truly on the map when it comes to Glasgow’s favourite food.

Southside food blogger Emma Mykytyn (@glasgowfoodie) is one half of the duo behind last year’s Southside Beer Festival — and she believes there’s an ever-increasing buzz about the place.

Emma said: “From the Southside Street Food Showdown to the Gastro Punx event in March, folks are getting good food out there.

“I hope we’re showing that you don’t need to go to the city centre or westend to eat and shop well — we have farmers markets, butchers, bakers and delis all here on our doorstep.”

East Ren is in on the gastro action too, with plenty of high quality eateries new and established dotted around the area.

The Extra’s Eating Out page — launched in April last year — has proved a success, as we’ve rooted out and rated the best restaurants right on your doorstep.

From high-end dining to classic Italian bistros, comforting pub grub and — yes — even the odd takeaway, the proof is definitely in the eating (and the write ups received from our esteemed reviewers afterwards).

Whether you’re a trend-seeker in search of the next big food event, or after a cosy spot for a family meal out, the southside and East Renfrewshire are on the map when it comes to good grub — and with all that entertainment on your doorstep too, it seems only right to pair dinner with a show.

Who needs the city centre or westend at all?