Tickets sell in 20 minutes

UNPRECEDENTED demand saw all 600 available tickets for Montrose Music Festival's headline act, Deacon Blue, sell out in just 20 minutes.

The committee had expected a great deal of interest in the gig after selling out last year's headliner, the Average White Band, in four months, but did not anticipate the massive demand this time round.

Chair of the not-for-profit festival committee, Lynda Paton, said the rate at which the tickets sold out has forced them to consider expanding much quicker than had previously been planned.

She said: "Unfortunately, the Town Hall is the largest viable venue in the town for us and for other groups in Montrose. Last year, we found it was just about the right size for us, but already - not even into our second year - we seem to have out-grown it.

"It's fantastic from our point of view that it has sold out this quickly, although we are obviously disappointed that we couldn't meet the demand.

"What it proves is that the interest is there and is as strong as ever. Over 95% of the tickets sold went to Montrosians and that is a particularly pleasing figure.

"We had expected the credit crunch to have an impact on ticket sales, but happily it doesn't appear to have done so.

"However, what has been underlined for us is that the Town Hall simply isn't big enough to cope with the demand and that is something we will raise with the council in the near future."

Despite the good news, the committee have been faced with adverse comments from those who weren't lucky enough to get their hands on tickets.

Lynda said: "It's amazing. Some of the accusations that have been levelled at us are flabbergasting. People seem to forget that we do this in our own time, without pay and for the good of Montrose.

"Each committee member took a massive gamble when we decided to put on a show costing tens of thousands of pounds. What people don't realise is that, if we couldn't sell the tickets, we ourselves would personally be liable for the cost because we are a not-for-profit group."

Festival vice-chair, Jamie Monro, said: "All of us put a lot of our spare time into the festival - and sometimes at our own expense – to make it work.

"Some of the comments we've received have been disappointing, however we recognise that those comments are coming from the minority and we will continue to work as hard as we have been to put the festival together.

"We've got a really exciting line-up to announce for the Saturday and Sunday free-entry gigs and we are close to announcing the details of our popular Auditions competition to find a local band to support Deacon Blue and the Fortunate Sons when they play at the Town Hall this May.

"We still have a lot to shout about and we're delighted that the people of Montrose will be able to see a band of the calibre of Deacon Blue playing live on their doorstep."