Festival boosts economy

MONTROSE Music Festival generated approximately half a million pounds for the local economy as thousands of people poured into the town for the extravaganza of live music.

Organisers say that they were overwhelmed by the response of the public, who came out in their droves to support the first of what is to become an annual event.

Estimates by the music festival committee revealed that up to 5,000 people took in gigs during the weekend of May 30-June 1, generating some 500,000 for local businesses.

Tourists from as far afield as France, Canada, America and even Japan flocked into the town, as it played host to over 80 gigs in the Town Hall, in the local pubs and hotels, and on the 40ft stage outside the Town House.

Such was the response to the event that the not-for-profit festival committee say they're set to pull out all the stops to make next year's event even better when they start planning after next month's annual general meeting.

Chair of the committee, Lynda Paton, said: "It was a phenomenal weekend. I can't remember ever having seen the town as busy as it was and there was an amazingly positive atmosphere. I've never seen so many smiles!

"At the centre of it all was some fantastic live music from some terrific artists. All the acts we had playing at the festival did us proud, from the Average White Band and Browneye Superfly, to the Lathallan Pipe Band and Tayside Young Fiddlers – they all put on fantastic and extremely professional shows.

"We couldn't have asked for it to go as smoothly as it did, and it's certainly paid off as we estimate that the weekend generated approximately half-a-million pounds for the town.

"Now, we've got to better that for next year. We'll digest this year's festival and then take forward some new ideas for year two, and hopefully we'll be able to throw up a few surprises."

The feedback the committee have received since the festival concluded has also been encouraging, said Lynda, who also thanked everyone who helped make the event a success.

"We've had countless emails and letters of support from not just Montrose, but all across Scotland and even the UK. Bands have also got in touch to say how much they enjoyed the town, its people and the festival. It's all been so positive.

"A lot of bands have even asked to come back again in the future, but we won't be making any decision on what next year's line-up will look like for a few weeks yet.

"One thing we do have to do is say a big thank you everyone who helped with the organisation, who took part in the gigs themselves, and of course to the people who turned up to make the first ever Montrose Music Festival an absolutely fantastic and successful weekend."

The grammy-nominated Average White Band opened the festival at Montrose Town Hall, and front-man Alan Gorrie said he thoroughly enjoyed the occasion.

In a letter to the committee, Mr Gorrie said: "A fantastic night indeed, well done to you for such a great festival."

You can find the Montrose Music Festival website at www.montrosemusicfestival.co.uk.