Bonfest 2024 – By the Angus Youth Media Team

“For Those About to Rock, We Salute You” – an in-depth look at Bonfest 2024 Written by Ashley Pannell

Bonfest 2024 kicked off amazingly on Friday 3rd May, with some amazing line-ups in the main festival tent in Kirriemuir, Angus, Scotland. The Young Scot Team had been invited along by DD8 Music (proud sponsor and organiser of the festival) to report on the event that has become so important to their group and to their town.

As some of you may know, Bonfest is a music festival held annually in Kirriemuir to celebrate the music of Bon Scott, frontman of the globally adored band AC/DC. Scott was born in Kirriemuir on the 9th of July 1946. He and his family moved to Australia when he was six years old, yet he still remained connected to and proud of his Scottish heritage. Eventually, he joined AC/DC and the success of the group skyrocketed to astronomical heights, with fans all over the world enjoying and loving the music of the rock band.

Unfortunately, Bon Scott died from alcohol poisoning on the 9th of February 1980. Fans mourned the loss of such an iconic and well-loved figure but despite Scott’s death, AC/DC’s music lived on and is still adored to this day. Kirriemuir in particular is only too aware of Bon Scott’s legacy and has chosen to celebrate his life in many ways, from the bronze statue of him which can be found in the town to the annual festival run and organised by DD8.

DD8 is a charity based in Kirriemuir whose mission is to encourage young people to play and produce music. They have many youth groups running throughout the week for 10-25 year olds and offer many opportunities to learn things surrounding the music industry, such as song writing, instruments, and music technology. And, as previously stated, another thing that DD8 does is organise Bonfest year in and year out since 2006.

Bonfest 2024 covered the weekend from the 3rd to the 5th May and the town embraced the yearly festival with abandon. There were plenty of signs and decorations that announced the celebrations as we walked about in town and many pubs and shops decorating themselves in honour of the event. Friday night saw us, the Young Scot team, in the main tent of the festival, which had been held in a field juuust on the outskirts of the town. The field was jam-packed with cars, tents, campervans and, of course, the main tent, which music could be heard blaring from the moment we stepped out onto the grass.

The line-up was nothing short of phenomenal, with bands such as Screaming Eagles and Powerage UK performing. A brief interlude also allowed the young people of DD8 a chance on the stage, as the audience was told about the vital role the group played in making Bonfest happen and how the young people contributed to that, to their great appreciation. The festivities were lively and fun, with the band Powerage UK finishing the night with a round of AC/DC classics such as ‘Problem Child.’ The end of the night served as the perfect start to a great weekend.

The Saturday included the famous and long awaited ‘Long Way to the Top’ demonstration that ran through the town. This is where one of the bands in the festival’s line up performs on a moving lorry through the streets of Kirriemuir, much to the delight of the festival goers. The bands playing in the Town Hall on Saturday included The Wolves, Joker in the Hole, and Elle Diablo. Back at the main festival tent, the much-anticipated Bon UK played to the immense joy of the gathered crowd, preceded by Trident and Tyketto.

Sunday saw us back at the main festival tent, where we got the opportunity to talk to some of the volunteers who were vital in setting up and running the campsite for the event. Two of the volunteers agreed to speak with us about Bonfest. The first was Angus Scott from Dundee, who first came to Bonfest in 2019 as a customer and joined on the volunteering team for 2024. “We’re not security, but we do help out folks, giving good bits of advice and stuff,” is one of the things he said when talking of his role in Bonfest. He talked of helping run the campsite – a massive undertaking which was made a bit easier with the number of volunteers they had.

Other duties included manning the gates, directing the traffic, helping with the parking – from campervans staying all weekend to cars only staying the evening – and booking people in. The volunteers also get the evening to themselves so they can properly experience Bonfest and hear some of the bands play. One band Angus spoke highly of was Bon UK. “The amount of people in the town to watch that was amazing.”

He went on to say the atmosphere of Bonfest was very different to other festivals in the UK, where people tended to leave their rubbish behind a lot. “You see a big difference [at Bonfest] because folks are tidy. They do use the bin. That also is why I like being here and helping run it because you’re helping folks who are good people.”

Leilah, another volunteer from Forfar who’s been helping with the running of the festival’s campsite for a few years, said that she leads a team of around fifteen volunteers whose job it is to look after the campsite, the campers, the carpark, and the allocations of campers and camper vans into spaces. “We just try to be nice to everybody and help everybody have a good time,” she told us as we stood in the field of the campsite. “We’re here from the first thing on Friday morning until the last camper leaves at midday on Monday.”

After being asked, Leilah told us she felt that campers certainly appreciated how much the volunteers do for them, as they are the people they turn to when they need help. She also explained how they make sure the newer volunteers get a chance to see some of the bands and the famous “Long Way to the Top” demonstration, and how good it feels to know that people enjoy themselves. “[T]he satisifaction of them [the volunteers] having a good time, as well as the punters having a good time, that’s the best bit for me… and to have the punters saying, ‘We haven’t come before, but we’re coming back.’ For me, that is the joy of it.” The volunteers were an incredibly welcoming and accommodating bunch and it was a genuine joy to be able to talk to them. (Also, shout out to liquor licensee John, who helped us find the volunteers in the first place!).

When we decided to move on and snag some photos and interviews in town, Leilah directed us to the shuttle bus, a free bus service the organisers of Bonfest were running that took people from the campsite and the site of the main festival tent and into the middle of Kirriemuir. Here, it was a short walk to the Bon Scott Statue and to the Bellies Brae Car Park, where a number of stalls had been set up and a stage for bands to play on from 12pm to 4pm. We were able to interview some of the stall owners, including Angus Alchemy and Miss V Cook’s Scottish Tablet.

Angus Alchemy, a drinks company with a distillery just outside of Carnoustie, explained that they make moonshine, rum, and gin. 2024 was their second year coming to Bonfest to sell their product but they’d been to the festival a number of years already as customers. They arrived on Friday and set up their stall, getting a chance to head to the main arena to “soak in the atmosphere.” The bands had all been great and Bon UK on Saturday in particular were fantastic. Saturday was their best day for sales, being “well up from last year,” with Sundays being a bit slower due to “people recovering from Saturday night,” they joked.

“It’s a great atmosphere here in Kirriemuir,” they told us, thoroughly praising the event, “The locals all seem to support it.”

Graham Cook, one of the stall owners for Miss V Cook’s Scottish Tablet, told us that Vikki (stood next to him) makes their tablet by hand. They’re a local company who get their ingredients from other local companies so they can make their product. The recipe came from their grandfather, who sadly passed away. The tablet comes in a range of flavours, from the traditional Scottish variety, to coffee, raspberry, pistachio, honey, and even chilli! They also offer dairy free alternatives such as coconut treats. At their stall at Bonfest, they offer samples of each of these flavours so people can try the tablet and just have “a wee taste of everything.”  

It was the company’s first year at Bonfest. “It’s been absolutely amazing,” Graham told us when we asked about their experience. “[Everyone has been] absolutely fantastic. So friendly… and so entertaining to watch them today!” He said he and Vikki had a wonderful time at the festival.

There were a number of bands playing in Bellies Brae Car Park, including Volcano X, who kindly agreed to an interview. Volcano X, a heavy metal band from Dundee, told us they’d been together as a band for a long time. “It’s been about 60, 70 years,” joked drummer Gavin. The group had performed at Bonfest last year, being the last band on when the weather was, in their words, “baltic.”

The band was started by singer Johnny and guitarist Mikey a number of years ago and things “fell together in time.” All the members had been in other bands in the past and had known each other for a long time. There’d been a few different iterations of the band Volcano X, but this one – with members Johnny Steel, Mike Bell, JP (guitarist), Robi Islam (bass), and Gavin Robertson – was the most recent and solid.

They said they’d enjoyed the weekend and were glad for the opportunity to play outdoors in Bellies Brae Car Park. “We normally do venues and stuff,” said Gavin, “So when you get a chance to play outdoors, it’s always great fun. It’s just a different kind of vibe.”

“Being in Scotland, you’re not exactly sure what you’re gonna get,” joked Robi. They all spoke very positively about the event and it was clear from the looks on their faces that they’d had a magnificent time performing at Bonfest. Having been lucky enough to catch some of their performance, we can safely say they were one of (if not the) most popular bands to play in the car park, garnering a large crowd that headbanged their way through Volcano X’s set.

When we asked people if they were interested in coming back for next year, they all answered with a resounding yes. “100%” said Angus Alchemy. Graham told us he was in a band due to perform at Bonfest next year – Fat Bob’s Foreign Legion (what a name!) – who play music from the late 90’s to early 2000’s. “Hell yeah,” was what Volcano X responded with, saying they were keen to perform in the big tent or one of the pubs, which would surely be a lot of fun for everyone involved.

The main festival tent saw bands such as Empyre and the AC/DC Experience to finish the amazing weekend off. Here’s hoping the Angus Youth Media Team will get the opportunity to see it all again next year!

Sources Used

Bonfest Website –

DD8 Music

Rachel Guy, ‘Bonfest: Festival celebrating life of AC/DC legend Bon Scott returns,’ (STV),

Other content you might be interested in

HIDE PAGELeave this site quickly
Back to top of the page