Bring earplugs – gigs going to get loud

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The annual celebration of one of rock and roll’s greatest front men returns for another jam-packed weekend of live music.

Now in its 12th year, Bonfest – which runs from April 28 to April 30 – will welcome AC/DC fans from around the world as they descend on Bon Scott’s home town of Kirriemuir to celebrate the life and music of the great man.

Cutting his teeth in early bands including The Specktors and Fraternity, Scott joined AC/DC in October 1974, replacing Dave Evans as the lead singer.

Isn’t it strange how Bon travelled all the way from Angus to Australia, only to form a band with a man from Australia called Angus?

This year’s festival, which is being supported by Angus Council’s community grant fund and Event Scotland and is officially part of Visit Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archeology, sees one of the strongest line ups yet, with genuine AC/DC royalty on the bill.

Phil Rudd, who anchored AC/DC for eight years as the band’s drummer, will take to the main stage on the Friday night.

After Angus and Malcolm Young, Phil has the longest history of any musician with the band. His drums are as much a part of the band’s sound as the Glaswegian brothers’ screaming guitars.

The veteran musician has appeared on all but three of AC/DC’s 18 studio albums, which have sold more than 200 million copies worldwide.

Organiser Graham Galloway explained how he managed to secure the rock and roll legend.

“It did take a bit of time to get him for Bonfest,” he said. “I contacted the restaurant that he owns, Phil’s Place, in Tauranga, New Zealand, where he now stays.

“After a bit of back and forth we eventually got him to say yes which we were all delghted about!

“I don’t think his European tour had been announced at the time but now Bonfest is part of his UK and European tour.

“He’s only visiting Glasgow and Kirrie!

“So we’re really thrilled to announce Phil as our main headline act.

“His drumming has been the backbone of the AC/DC sound for four decades, and he was a close personal friend of Bon’s too.

“He will be joining an incredible line up of bands this year – we can’t wait to see him on our main stage.”

Phil also can’t wait to make his way to Kirriemuir for Bon Fest.

He said: “We’re gonna nail that gig! It’s gonna be great; we are all really looking forward to it. I cannot wait to play music for all the fans. It’s going to rock.

“We’re all huge Bon Scott fans and we’re gonna go there and show the crowd how Bon Scott would have liked it.

“Well, at least I hope we will! Who knows, I might make a huge mistake and the whole thing could be a complete disaster!

“Hopefully we’ll be fine though. We’re hoping to do Bon proud with that show.”

Phil will be playing tracks from his solo album Head Job as well as breaking out some classic AC/DC.

“I’m chuffed to bits with it,” he said of the record. “People seem to be enjoying it and we’re proud as punch about it.”

But he warned: “We can’t wait to pump it up, make a mark and see how it goes. Bring your earplugs because the gig is gonna be loud.”

Joining the festival line up alongside Phil is a wealth of local talent who will take to the stage at numerous venues across the town, with free live performances during the day to keep music fans thouroughly entertained.

Graham said: “We have musicians from across Tayside, Scotland and further afield all coming to take part.

“It all adds up to a great weekend filled with music. We have a number of AC/DC tribute bands, of course, all adding their unique take on the group, including Live/Wire, AC/DC UK and Riff Raff to name but a few.

“We will also have a host of local food and drink on offer across the weekend from locally brewed beer to stonebaked pizzas and burgers.

“This year, The Food Life Street Market is hosting a Busk for Bon open mic competition which we’re sure will be a lot of fun.

“It’s going to be a great rock and roll-filled weekend celebrating Bon Scott’s legacy.”

Tickets are still available for the event. Day tickets are priced at £25 or a weekend ticket is £60.

To book tickets or for more information on the weekend of fun, visit www.bonfest.com.