Almanac Music: Bonfest

On the contrary, the place always burst to life when the throb of the guitar came on and we realised AC/DC were on the DJ’s list of records for the night.


He didn’t have much choice, of course, given the all-encompassing fashion in which the group performed at a million decibels. Yet the Australian band were different. They made you feel like the world, any world, was a better place as soon as their songs started. “Whole Lotta Rosie” We punched the air, we flung ourselves into the whole experience and it usually ended with the dance floor packed.


And even now, 40 years later, the links between these fantastic nights and the rock band are in great shape. In many ways, they’re in better shape than those of us who foolishly pretended we could dance in the first place. And yet, the links between AC/DC and Scotland have never been clearer.


Yes, they are separated by thousands of miles, but a rock and roll connection lies behind plans to twin Kirriemuir in Angus with Fremantle in Western Australia.


The towns are affiliated by their bond with the late AC/DC star, Bon Scott, who was born in Kirriemuir, and whose grave is in Fremantle, and they both have bronze statues commemorating the singer, who died in 1980.


To celebrate this, members of the local councils from both towns have formed a handshake at their respective statues. Councillor, Hannah Fitzhardinge, from Fremantle and chair of Kirriemuir Community Council, Jenni Brown, chatted over a live stream connection.


Accompanying Hannah in Fremantle was the driving force behind their statue, Doug Thorncroft and its sculptor Greg James. Meanwhile, back in Scotland, Jayne Grewar and Graham Galloway, who represent DD8 Music, the community organisation behind the statue and the little town’s increasingly popular Bonfest extravaganza are ebullient about their success story.


Mr Galloway talked about the potential for permanent connection between the two statues. He said: “Myself and Doug have been speaking for some time about the possibility of having some kind of constant live link up and our livestream today has shown the potential for that.”


Ms Brown added: “We have been in correspondence with the Mayor of Fremantle with a view to twining Kirriemuir and Fremantle and as we have the strong link with Bon Scott, the approach was greeted very positively.


“It would be fantastic for tourism and businesses in Kirriemuir if we could strengthen the bond. Today’s live link up was hopefully just the start of many joint ventures between us”.


Mayor of Fremantle, Brad Pettit, added: “Both Bon Scott’s statue and grave are major tourist attractions in our city and I would love to see this further celebrated across national borders.”


Bonfest has become a phenomenon and audiences keep rising. Personally, I loved AC/DC when I was young, but the appeal has slightly palled. And yet, whenever these chords are played and your feet start tapping, it is as infectious as the flu and a lot more fun.


Mr Galloway declared: “We are delighted that once again Bonfest is being supported by EventScotland. Their help has been crucial in allowing the festival to grow over the past two years.”


The festival will see three full days of free live gigs in local venues. Bonfest, which sees AC/DC fans from all over the world descending on the sleepy rural Scottish town, celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2016 with the unveiling of the £55,000 life-sized bronze statue of Mr Scott.


This was 100% funded by the worldwide AC/DC fanbase, and has become a year round attraction to the town. It’s a long time since these anxious waits outside the Dreadnought, but it’s clear the AC/DC allure lives on!


For more information, head to the festival website




  1. Goodness, 37 years already. I recall hearing the news. It was my first month of doing year 12. You’d have long surmised that Bon was on the ‘Highway to Hell’ but this was a case of taking ‘ If you want Blood you’ve got it’ too far.

    AC/DC were never the same band. No criticism of Brian Johnson,a great frontman and the band have made squillions. But Bon was unique. ‘Rock in Peace’.


  2. Gday Neil – I wish the Freo council would have been a bit prouder and strategic when planning the Bon Scott statue in Freo. It is embarrassing to be honest – an odd oompa loompa rendition of someone who could rip a theatre apart and spark terror in the eye of the establishment. If only they had the balls to do it right the first time.


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