The people make Montrose Music Festival - this is what organisers have said.
Montrose Music Festival (MoFest) has gone from strength to strength - in the last two years they have brought three-chord rockers Status Quo and ska sensation Madness to the town and now they’re gearing up to bring rock legend Bryan Adams and piano maestro Jools Holland to the area next year. Could it be the next Glastonbury?
Organisers have said they wouldn’t be anywhere without the support of the community.
Since 2013, when they secured Toploader as the headline act, MoFest has joined forces with concert promoter LCC Live, and we sat down with David Paton, MoFest chairman, and Les Kidger, director of LCC Live, to find out what makes Montrose so special for music.
Les said: “There’s a lot of places like Montrose across the UK where artists wouldn’t even think about. We’ve managed to build in a short period of time this expectation to deliver magical musical events.
“We need people to buy the tickets. That’s what makes the music. That’s what now makes big international stars come to Montrose.”
He added everyone working together is what makes MoFest special.
David added: “Together MoFest and LCC are making music of this calibre more accessible in Angus and the North East. Not everyone can get to Glasgow or Edinburgh to see these types of bands.
“Because Montrose is such a small knit town everyone knows everyone, if you announce something like this it just rockets, not just to friends and family within this area, all their friends and family. They help spread the word.
“People are getting behind us, not just the people of Montrose, but people from 100 miles around are getting behind us.”
After Toploader sold out the town hall in 2013, Les explained the next logical step was to take the headliner out of the town hall and into a bigger venue, and Status Quo were “keen” to play outdoors on the East Links.
But David said having Quo headline last year changed the festival: “It does give people an expectation and that’s the tricky bit. LCC set the bar high every year now because of the artists they are managing to get hold of. There is interest now in some managers who are hearing about MoFest and artists are thinking it’s not such a small festival anymore because we’ve had names like Quo and Madness and now Bryan Adams and Jools Holland.”
He added the Quo concert helped spread the word about the festival and opened a few doors for Les in discussions with musicians.
Madness nearly didn’t play in Montrose but thanks to LCC Live’s faith in the Angus people they played to a crowd of 8000 on the East Links in July.
“We have a long-standing relationship with Falkirk Football Club and we were looking at putting Madness there. I just felt that Madness fitted the bill better in Montrose. It was a tough sell. They were a bit edgy about coming to a town with a population of about 12,000 when we were talking about a concert of 8000. We twisted their arms a bit and it became a fantastic event,” said Les.
Their belief in revellers has led MoFest and LCC to be able to bring two acts to the town next year - Jools headlining in May and Bryan Adams in the summer.
Les concluded: “The biggest challenge we will always have when we go to an artist is they ask for population figures and no matter which way we do it Montrose is a small town in Angus. When we turn to artists like Bryan Adams we have to convince them that there is support. None of these events would work without the support of the people that attend the concerts. For Bryan Adams we have bookings in from the islands, Orkney and even some foreign visitors.
“As long as the fans continue to support the events then we can convince the artists to come to Montrose.”