With MoFest 2016 just around the corner, we sat down with the some of the festival committee members to find out what it takes put on the annual event and who does what.
As chairman I have the job of co-ordinating all the teams and volunteers on the MoFest committee and making sure it all comes together.
Our planning doesn’t really stop, when one festival ends we are straight back to planning for the upcoming year, sometimes even before that year’s festival!
Large acts like Jools Holland and Bryan Adams have tours scheduled well in advance so we need to make sure we get their attention before all the dates are booked.
My responsibilities also include liaising with concert promoters LCC Live to discuss headline gigs, making sure plans and permissions are in place for the big East Links events, and meeting with council teams and Police Scotland to ensure the events are run as safely and efficiently as possible.
With the rest of my time I also do most of the graphic design work, which includes the lanyards, programmes and all the posters.
At MoFest you will usually find me running around like a headless chicken ensuring everything is going to plan!
Aside from the year round planning to put on the actual weekend, the festival itself has become such a significant event both regionally and nationally, and that carries a responsibility with it; we have to make sure the local people and the businesses benefit from it.
I do a lot of work with Angus Council’s Economic Development team in terms of maximising the tourism and economic benefits the festival brings, not only to Montrose but also the wider Angus area, and making sure it is highlighted on the national stage. What does that mean? I do a lot of Tweeting, emailing and go to meetings to spread the name of MoFest across the land.
I manage a lot of our social media platforms, put together press releases, update online and print content, make sure we’re listed in event and gig guides and do the majority of our funding applications.
I’m also responsible for collecting data on the festival and I oversee the survey we run each year. Please help us out by taking two minutes to fill it in this year - it will be live the day after the festival and you could win an Ipod Shuffle.
As treasurer, I hold the key to the MoFest purse strings! From the day-to-day account work of paying suppliers and counting the cash we take in from merchandise sales, my job is to ensure that we have the funds needed to put the festival on and hopefully have some left over for future years.
As the festival has grown, so too have our ideas but these often come at a cost, which means I occasionally have the unenviable task of reigning in the chairman, who would see us having a MoFest bat sign if I let him!
During the festival weekend you will find me taking charge of the MoFest stall up the High Street or meeting and greeting bands in venues.
High Street co-ordinator
My role is co-ordinating the High Street event, mainly focusing on the vendors and stalls and supporting our other co-ordinator, Alisa Lopes, in putting together the schedule for the acts on the main stage throughout Saturday and Sunday.
I scour the country looking for interesting stalls and food vendors to bring to the festival - we aim to provide a wide selection so there is something for everyone to enjoy.
We have an application process for vendors and stalls, so I manage that and then liaise with them about what size of pitch they need - I find out if they’re bringing generators, make sure they have the right licenses and certificates and meet all environmental health checks, and then I have to plan it all out on the map to make sure it fits.
Over the weekend I am the point of contact for the vendors and I’m also responsible for the road closure and traffic management of the High Street.
Our work starts in October when we open the band applications and invite bands to apply to play the festival.
It’s a very democratic process where new bands that have never played the festival before go through a listening group process where a panel of 10-plus music fans listen and score their music. The highest scoring bands are then asked to play.
This year we had 594 bands apply to play, including bands from as far away as Canada and Ethiopia.
Each venue fills in a form which they submit to us, outlining time slots that we will fill with music, the type (and often the name) of bands they want to play, along with their budget.
We try to accommodate this as much as possible, but we also have to make sure we bring in new bands to keep the festival fresh.
We have a database set up that allows us to match bands to the slots and make sure we don’t go over budget for any venue. Once the proposed bands are agreed with the venue, then we invite the bands to play those slots and work around their availability, avoiding clashes and double bookings until eventually we have a schedule.
Other duties we perform include producing holding emails so we can secure bands early, we produce contracts that are sent to each band outlining their slot times, venue and fee and these often need to be adjusted to deal with changes.
On the weekend of the festival, we often have to deal with broken equipment, bands not showing up with equipment, bands not showing up at all or arriving late, so I’m usually found running around the streets of Montrose during the festival, hopping from one venue to the next.