Chairman’s delight at Montrose Music Festival’s success

The MoFest team
The MoFest team

I think it is safe to say this year’s MoFest was bigger and better than ever and we sat down with a happily exhausted chairman David Paton to get the low down on the weekend’s festivities.

Montrose Review: How many people turned out for the weekend?

David Paton: We can safely say it was even more than last year, so conservatively we guess 12,000 to 15,000 people over the weekend, which is just unbelievable.

MR: What was your highlight of the weekend?

DP: Although we don’t get to catch many bands ourselves at the weekend, the High Street stage and market area were an unparalleled success this year with the weather helping on that front. So I would say this was our main highlight for the weekend, but Friday night’s headliner gig was also amazing.

The town hall has an electric atmosphere when it’s at capacity. Ash were a fantastic opener for the weekend and enjoyed the gig immensely, and then headed over to Sharky’s for a few drinks and to chat with the locals, which is great to see for a band of their standing.

MR: How did the new elements of the weekend, the MoFest Dome and Market Street, go down? Will you bring them back next year?

DP: The new market area, dome and mixing up the youth bands with the main festival worked incredibly well from the feedback we have been getting. Both areas were packed both days and the general atmosphere was very chilled out and everyone had a smile on their face, which makes us volunteers very happy. I think its safe to say we will definitely be bringing back the market area for next year.

MR: Why do you think MoFest has become so popular?

DP: MoFest only works because of the layout of our unique little town. Our huge High Street allows us to put on our outdoor stage for all ages to enjoy for free and with the added features of the market this year the people came in their droves.

We also have a large amount of bars and hotels for a town of 12,000 and all but two are within five to 10 minutes walking distance, which gives the festival a really close community feel.

We would like to thank all of the festival venues for their work over and leading to the festival as they work incredibly hard to help us bring the festival to life each year.

MR: Why do you think the bands/acts enjoy coming?

DP: Feedback from them is always that it’s a really friendly, relaxed festival and well run. We like to keep good contact with the bands - each of the 100 or so bands are met at their first gig to welcome them to MoFest and make sure they are all set up and ready for the gigs. They all seem to really appreciate this.

MR: Are you pleased with the contribution of local bands?

DP: Without the local bands the festival would lose its community based feel. It’s great having national and international acts appear but MoFest started with local bands and they not only pull in great crowds but actively promote the festival also. Local bands are why MoFest exists.

MR: Have you heard anything about an economic boost/businesses benefiting?

DP: We have once again with the help of the council’s economic department arrange an online survey at / which we ask everyone to try and take a couple of minutes to answer to help gauge the benefits of the festival.

There is a chance to win an iPod and speaker for a randomly selected winner. However, the benefits are clear - hotels and campsites are full, bars are packed, tourists by the thousands. It’s a no-brainer that MoFest gives a much needed boost in these harsh economic times.

MR: Do you have a dream act you’d like to bring to MoFest one day?

DP: I do indeed but I am working on that at present, so I can’t say too much.

MR: Is there scope for expansion? Are there any other venues that could be used that haven’t been?

DP: There are a small number of venues that we could ask to join in and become a venue as we are running out of space and as always we are coming up with ideas to expand, such as this year’s dome. That was such a success that we will try and bring that back again if we can get the funding again and make it an all day venue perhaps.

MR: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

DP: I would like to thank my team - Claire Carle, Andy Adie, Anne Jenkins, Graeme Thomson, Robert Guthrie, Ailsa Lopes, Grant Thornton, John McDonald, Colin Redpath, Ross Couttie and Chris Simpson, who work incredibly hard each year to make this happen. It’s hard work and they deserve a huge pat on the back for putting on a festival like this, which is enjoyed by thousands.