In August, Glasgow will be hosting Scotland’s first World Sufi Festival, with the aim of capturing positive messages about peace and love that have been around for centuries and recognised in the east and west. These messages are often conveyed through arts and culture.
Sufism is a mystical way of life, which emphasises the unity of all religions. It plays a part in the lives of people of all religions and the festival will greatly promote this by helping to better understand where we have come from and what we have in common. It will highlight the importance of treating all countries with fairness and respect and bring to all people more understanding of our heritage and history.
The festival promises to be an entertaining and enchanting weekend with events inside and outside the Tramway. It’s from Friday 4th to Sunday 6th August with lead up events including workshops for the community. The festival itself will showcase performers, artists, crafts, fashion, poetry, theatre and film from the local area, the UK and abroad, encompassing both the traditional and modern around the Sufi theme.
Highlights from overseas include renowned Pakistani singers Salamat Ali and Azra Riaz; and from Rajasthan Gafoor Khan Manganiyar. From Bangladesh will come folk troupe Joler Gaan and from England, Bakshi Javaid Salamat. Rashid Mukhtar is one of 8 crafts people creating a south Asian crafts bazaar. There will be poetry and a fashion show with designs inspired by Rumi’s ancient verses. Film and theatre will also be represented. The latter is from the top Ajoka Theatre with their internationally acclaimed musical play about Sufi saint, Baba Bulleh Shah, a play with great contemporary relevance.
The festival is organised by the Association of Poetry and Music Glasgow (APMG), in association with, Festival of Muslim Cultures, Tramway Glasgow City Council Culture and Leisure Department Management and Melange Network. Funding is from the Glasgow City Council, Heritage Lottery Fund and Ministry of Culture, Pakistan, among a range of sponsors and funders.
Mohammed Ashraf of APMG, and one of the lead organisers is extremely excited about the forthcoming event – “It is not often that you get the opportunity to be involved in such a meaningful event where you can convey the message of love and peace which is so needed at the moment. It will be a pleasure meeting the different artists who all have a special talent, which they are kind enough to bring to the people of Glasgow. Above all, it will be very interesting and great fun”.
Harminder Berman from Glasgow City Council is also enthusiatic about the event – “There is such a diverse culture in Glasgow but more importantly, one that is willing to open its hearts and minds to other cultures and therefore this event is bound to be a success. Sufism is a way of life in which an increasing number of people in the western world are interested. The variety of artists attending the event will mean that there is something for everyone to enjoy”.