CROWDS converged on Montrose from across the country at the weekend for the town’s fourth music festival which has again been a fantastic success.
Festival committee chairwoman Lynda Paton said the feedback from the public, venues and bands so far has been that it has been better than previous years.
She said: “It’s been really positive but the selection of music was particularly good this year, and the quality of the bands and acts has been very high.
“We event got lucky with the weather again, despite one or two showers on Saturday and it was a bit windy on Sunday but generally it was good.”
Mrs Paton said that although it was difficult to put an exact number on those attending, local accommodation providers appeared to have more bookings and inquiries than they could handle.
The local publicans will also have reaped the benefits of the weekend as many venues were packed out for gigs throughout both days.
She said: “I’ve spoken to a good number and the consensus is they were full and were inundated with calls for accommodation.
“One even said she had to send people to Brechin to find alternatives.”
With more than 100 free gigs across the town delivered by more than 60 acts over the weekend, there was something for most musical tastes and the open-air event on the High Street on Saturday was again extremely well attended as were gigs by festival regulars Joni Fuller and The Revolutionaires but Mrs Paton said part of the strengths of the festival was the number of new bands it showcased.
The headline gig by Skerryvore in the town hall on Friday was also an energy-packed performance and well received by an enthusiastic audience
Mrs Paton said: “Skerryvore were just fantastic. They’ve been in Montrose before but were maybe not as polished as they were this year. They enjoyed the gig so much they want to come back.
“I think we had more new bands appearing this year than in previous festivals and there’s also a lot of local talent too, and it’s great to be able to give them a chance. We again staged a gig in the town hall on Sunday for young bands and that was packed out with an audience of all ages. We had around 200 at that last year but this time we even had to open up the balcony.
“I should thank Ailsa Graham and Ross Thomson for their efforts. They’re not regular committee members but took over the staging of that and the High Street event.”
The festival was also supported by many local businesses which decorated shop windows on a musical theme, with two tickets for a gig by former headliners The Average White Band as the top prize for the best display. The world-famous act are making a return visit to Montrose in September, still under the festival’s banner.
The competition’s joint winners were Sanpado Florists and Goodfellow & Steven.
Mrs Paton said: “We’re really happy with the participation of local businesses who made a huge effort to support the festival’s window competition and it was way more than we anticipated.
“The final decision was a really difficult one to make because the quality was so high and I’d like to thank all involved.”
The committee now intends to take a well-earned break over the summer although the Average White Band concert, as well as an appearance by The Fortunate Sons in August, will mark the start of planning for next year’s festival.
Mrs Paton said: “They have both asked to come back and generally the bands have said that audiences up here are very appreciative. We’ve heard that a lot over the weekend and it’s to Montrose’s credit.”
* Turn to page 17 for pictures from the event.