BBC Alba release new Barrowlands documentary - featuring Johnny Marr, The Fratellis, Amy Macdonald, Dylan John Thomas, and more

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The documentary explores the nearly 100 year-old long history of the Barras - with cameos from some of Scotland’s biggest names in music

A Scottish musician has explored the history of one of Glasgow’s most iconic venues in a brand-new 90-minute long documentary called ‘The Barrowland Roar’.

Released on New Years Day, the BBC Alba documentary follows Iain ‘Spanish’ Mackay as he learns about the century-long history of Scotland’s most well-known and beloved venue. Iain, a musician from the Isle of Lewis of some acclaim himself, speaks with contemporary musicians who have played the stage to find out what makes the Barrowland Ballroom so special.

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Mackay speaks with some of the biggest names in the UK and Scottish music scene, including: Johnny Marr, Franz Ferdinand, The Fratellis, Del Amitri, Elephant Sessions, Gun, Stiff Little Fingers, Dylan John Thomas, Simple Minds, Amy MacDonald, Christy Moore, The Vatersay Boys, Travis, Mogwai, Spyres, Johnny Marr, and Ceitlin Lilidh.

In addition to all the music stars - Iain also chats with the venue staff who have kept the Barrowlands up and running for nearly 100 years. The outer hebrides artist also chatted with fans to hear what they love most about the venue.

The documentary goes right back to the venues beginnings in 1934 until modern day - with a focus on the poor reputation the Barrowland held in the 60s. Over the year’s some of the world’s biggest artists have played the venue, including: U2, Amy Winehouse, David Bowie, Katy Perry, and Bob Dylan.

The 90 minute documentary follows Iain ‘Spanish’ Mackay as he explores the history of the Barrowlands with contemporary Scottish artistsThe 90 minute documentary follows Iain ‘Spanish’ Mackay as he explores the history of the Barrowlands with contemporary Scottish artists
The 90 minute documentary follows Iain ‘Spanish’ Mackay as he explores the history of the Barrowlands with contemporary Scottish artists | BBC

The Barrowland Roar also looks at the history of the Barras and how it influenced the venue - speaking to current manager and owner of the markets, Tom Joyes and Anne Dick respectively. Showing just how committed he is to the documentary and the culture the Barrowlands created, doorman Willie Thomson got tattooed with the famous Barrowland sign.

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Ian concludes the documentary by fulfilling a long-standing dream, as he joins Trail West as support to sing his own songs to a packed Barrowland audience. You can watch the documentary on BBC iPlayer here.

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