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Organiser of Inverness weekend indoor rock festival Monsterfest Mark Allison says venue the Ironworks will be 'lynchpin' of next year's plans

By Margaret Chrystall

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THE independent Inverness indoor rock festival Monsterfest chalked up its second annual rock weekend – with hopes that it will be back next year.

Organiser Mark Allison said this week he had been happy with the reception to his choice of 14 bands that played between Thursday and the chillout session on Sunday – with a Friday night bill and an all-day line-up from 2pm on Saturday in between.

"I think a lot of people went away with a lot of good memories," Mark said on Tuesday. "It would be great if we could build on that, but we are at a crossroads at the moment."

He explained that a lot hinges on the future of the Ironworks, the city venue which may have to relocate which hosted the event again this year.

The feedback last year and this year from the punters, the bands and the guys at the Ironworks was that it was well-run, everyone was happy, there were no issues or anything and nothing cropped up.

"And people were saying that everybody was just so nice, the bands and the fans."

Mark also believes the event will have brought a significant amount of money into the area.

"When you think about the hotel rooms, the tickets, bars and restaurants and some people were up for two or three days. The majority who attended came into the area, so – I couldn’t put a figure on it – but it probably brought in at least £100,000 to the economy.

"From last year to this year, we have built it quite significantly. It was a lot more successful this year and there is a lot more awareness of it this year. People were talking about it in London, apparently, so the name has got about."

If there was one thing Mark would like to change, it's to get more locals along to enjoy the wide range of rock that Monsterfest presents.

"We have people coming from all over – this year Switzerland, many from Wales plus the South of England, Yorkshire and the Central Belt.

The Monsterfest team (Mark Allison right, second back) with Friday night headliners Massive Wagons. Picture: Al Donnelly
The Monsterfest team (Mark Allison right, second back) with Friday night headliners Massive Wagons. Picture: Al Donnelly

"But if we do it again, we would love to see more local faces joining them.

"At the moment it is something like a 70/30 split with more people coming to Monsterfest from elsewhere."

He would like to see that becoming more like 50/50 – around 400 attended by Saturday night – and he wonders if people have got the message that the festival is not purely metal, but takes in a wide range of rock acts.

"We try to be as eclectic as possible with the range of music we have," he said.

"My own music collection goes from Abba to Metallica!"

Though Mark is already looking at possible names for next year, nothing will go ahead for the moment.

He said: "There are things happening behind the scenes, but the crucial lynchpin for us is the Ironworks.

"It's an integral part of Monsterfest – not just the venue but the staff as well. We can't talk highly enough about them. They leave us to get on with what we need to do, but the moment we need any help, there they are."

n Read the music review of Monsterfest with pictures on this website under 'music'.

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