by Fi Loveday
A SELL–OUT crowd of over 3,000 revellers made sure that the final Glassel Gig went out with a bang last Saturday, August 28.
Organisers hailed the 13-hour live music marathon a huge success and expressed their sadness at the end of an era.
Amongst the 30 bands playing two stages throughout the day were The Simon Gall Band, Girl Said No, King Voodoo, Union Avenue, Amy Sawers, Tom Hingley, Le Reno Amps, Gerry Jablonski and The Needles.
Bryony Smith, who is part of the organising committee, said she was sad this year's gig will be the last.
“We have enjoyed seven fantastic years, but it is better to finish well than to leave it open ended or in uncertainty.
The decision to make Saturday's gig the last one came as the organisers, the Glassel Community Company Ltd., were unsure of the possibility that the site would be available next year.”
The property developer who owns the land had expressed fears that he would not be able to guarantee the site. The uncertainty meant that vital forward planning and booking of bands had to be put off.
Bryony added “It will be a loss to the community, all five of us who make up the organising committee are local to this area and have lived here all our lives. Some senior citizens have expressed their upset that this will be the last time we hold the gig. You don't realise that the Glassel Gig touches so many people. It touched the whole community because the funds raised always went to local causes.”
“Overall we are all really pleased with the turn out at this year's event. The bands have been fantastic and both stages have been full throughout the day.
“When we told the bands that this was going to be the last we were quite overwhelmed by their reaction. They are all disappointed and shocked.”
She added: “It's lovely for the community to see everyone pulling together and having fun. It's great to see a mixture of ages here today. In some cases there are three different generations engaging in various types of music.
Organiser Ian Wilson confirmed that the numbers were up on last year's attendance. “Ticket sales are up by 400 compared to last year and we have noticed a bigger crowd this afternoon than in the past.”
Fine weather, a friendly atmosphere and the expectation of a spectacular finish to the gig's run, ensured a great turn out for the entire day.
Many people decided the night had ended too soon in the past so they pitched their tents brought along a barbecue to prolong the event into the early hours.
The merchandise stall was doing a roaring trade as it was the final gig with many people buying a t-shirt or hat in hopes that it will become a collectors item.
The climax to the day was a spectacular fireworks display.
The exact amount raised at last weekend's gig will not be known until all the bills are paid and the final figures are totalled but expectations are that Saturday's gig will have increased the total raised for charity to over the 100,000 mark since the inaugural event in 1998.
Bryony added: “The whole team of organisers should be quite proud of our achievement over the last seven years.”
Banchory man David Surma, 19, a student at Reading University, said" “I chose to come back to Glassel this year instead of staying in Reading for the festival. It's great fun camping and it adds to the festival atmosphere.”
His friend Mike Perry who is also from Banchory added “I've been coming for the last three years. I'm very upset that it's the last night. I hope it goes to another venue and that it continues.”
Stuart Reid, 36, from Aberdeen said:“This is the the fifth time that I have been coming to the gig. This is the first time that I have camped out. Last year we took the bus home but you are never ready to leave at 1am. This year we can let the night go on.”
Rod Vegas and Scotty Lee of King Voodoo said they enjoyed playing at the gig. “It's a shame that the gig has ended, there is not much like it in the North-east. The gig has been very well organised and we have been very well looked after. We need to start a petition and try to find another venue, we have to keep the Glassel Gig going.”
Al from Le Reno Amps said: “We have had a great time. The crowd are brilliant we got a great response. Everyone is friendly and actually seem to care about live music!”