Ten years ago, not-for-profit Kirriemuir Community Group DD8 Music struck on the idea of erecting a plaque to commemorate one of the town’s most famous sons.
The inaugural Bon Scott Festival was held in 2006 to celebrate the plaque unveiling and, such was its success, it has been held every year since - attracting AC/DC fans from around the world.
Indeed, the festival has grown so much that DD8 Music, which runs a rehearsal and recording studio in the town and several festivals throughout the year, has taken on its first employee, Graham Galloway, of Glamis Road, Kirriemuir.
Graham (41), who until this year was the group’s volunteer chairman, is now DD8’s dedicated development worker. It was Graham who oversaw the tenth anniversary celebrations of the event in the town.
He said: “The group has grown as the Bon Scott Festival has grown so we needed someone to work full time, as opposed to doing it full time as a volunteer.
“I’ve promoted clubs and bands in the pubs in Glasgow and also worked in the film and TV industry, as well as being volunteer chairman of DD8, so I guess I was the obvious choice!
“As DD8 is a music-based group, we deal with a lot of phenomenally talented young musicians. So the highlight of the festival for me is giving them the chance to perform in a packed out Town Hall.”
Getting that chance this year were Sonnet 65 from Kirriemuir, who supported headline act Rocker on Friday night alongside Dundee band Snapping Turtles, and Kirrie’s Emerald Sunday who supported AC/DC UK and Edinburgh girl band The Amorettes on Saturday night.
A host of other up and coming young musicians also performed in the town’s pubs throughout the weekend.
Graham said: “It was great to see the local talent coming through and I’d like to thank all the DD8 volunteers and young group members for all their help and support.”
AC/DC fans from across the globe come back to the town, year on year, for the festival - largely thanks to the music but also, according to Graham, because of the “fantastic atmosphere” in the town.
This year, Rocker returned as the Friday night headline act after proving such a big hit last year. The group, from Orkney, have a unique take on rock.
Graham explained: “The group are mad on AC/DC but have also all been members of folk bands in Orkney.
“So they do some straight tribute covers but they inject a Scottish twist - fiddles - into the songs. They’re a lot of fun and everyone loved them so much last year, they were invited back as headliners this year.”
As for Saturday night headliners AC/DC UK, Graham said: “They went down a storm with the fans - they are one of the best AC/DC tribute bands in the country.”
Local businesses and pubs gave their backing to the festival, with window displays and free music gigs, and a street market was also organised for the first time by local woman Jayne Grewar. Karen Laird School of Dancing members also performed in the town centre and micro-brewery Kirrie Ales sold out of its Bon Scott Festival brew.
Graham added: “It’s the busiest weekend of the year in Kirriemuir and people in the town have grown to really embrace the festival. We couldn’t make it such a success without their help so I’d like to say a huge thanks to them all, once again, for their support.”
Bon Scott was born in the town on July 9, 1946 to Isabelle and Charles Scott and the famiy lived there until 1952 when they moved to Melbourne, Australia.
Charles, known to friends as Chick, ran Scott’s Bakery in the town but he also played drums in the Kirriemuir Pipe Band and performed with the local light-opera company.
Little did he know then that his oldest son would go on to world-wide fame as the front man of one of the best rock groups in the world. Sadly, Bon Scott died in London in 1980 – he was found dead in a car after a night out – but his legacy lives on in Kirriemuir.
* DD8 is raising funds for a statue to Bon Scott, possibly to be erected at the Dellies Brae car park entrance in Kirrimuir. In just two years, £27,000 has been raised.
Ayrshire sculptor John McKenna has completed the clay mold. Another £18,000 is needed to allow him to complete the statue in bronze. A special website has now been set up by DD8 - www.Bon.Scot to push the fundraising initiative and raise the remaining cash.
The pictures featured in our slideshow were taken by freelance photographer Andy Thompson.