Tiree Music Festival #5
TMF has become one of Scotland’s most anticipated music festivals and tickets sell like hot cakes. I wondered what it was like to be responsible for making this event happen and so I caught up with Stewart MacLennan and Daniel Gillespie to ask what drives them and here’s what they had to say.
How did the idea of TMF come about?
Daniel spoke of all the great music festivals he attended with Skerryvore and said how special one would be on Tiree. Stewart had studied Event Management at Uni and worked at various events and after a few chats decided to give it a shot. 2010 was our first and for 500 people, at the time we felt this might be too big for Tiree but little did we know what we were letting ourselves in for.
Were there any stumbling blocks you had to overcome?
Every year we have changed the festival and added new ideas. Some work, some don’t. Logistics is our biggest challenge due to location so we have to make sure that everything not only can get to Tiree but also that Tiree is ready for the event!! Accommodation is a premium that weekend and as the event grows, more demand is placed on the island for beds. This is a very young festival which grows each year and with it brings more challenges from introducing our first campsite in 2010 to relocating the entire festival into a field which will happen this year.
You have volunteers- tell me a little about them?
We have a dedicated team of volunteers, some who have been part of the festival since it started, putting in endless amounts of their own time and hold the festival close to their hearts and without them there would be no festival for sure. We also have about 100 volunteers who are on board during the festival period, from site build to take down. We have also received so much help from the Tiree public over the years ensuring the stability and reputation of the festival from local businesses to general volunteers on the island. This year we are having our first volunteer party on the Monday night to say thank you to everyone who helped throughout the festival. Yes there will be a few shandies!!
Why do you love doing it so much?
We love bringing people from all corners of Scotland to experience this wonderful island and share it with their friends and maybe come back again. We go through an enormous amount of work to put this event on and it can be extremely stressful at times but once everything is on site and people of all ages and geographical areas are having an amazing time then that’s when we can take it all in and take pride in what is happening.
TMF achieves accolades from all over, what has been your favourite?
Obviously our first award in 2012 was amazing when we achieved “Best Small Festival in Scotland” which was for our second event. Last year was just incredible winning 4 out of 4 awards but our favourite was the Visit Scotland Thistle Awards which was held in Stirling Castle.
We were representing the Highlands & Islands after winning the Best Culture award in Inverness and were up against an incredibly strong group of nominees. We were amongst all the top people within Scottish Tourism and Hospitality and when our name was called out in that surrounding (by Lorraine Kelly) it was just a fantastic feeling.
What are you hoping people will remember from this year’s festival?
We’re hoping that people will remember the fantastic weather that we’re going to have – fingers and toes crossed!!
This year sees a massive change for TMF when the event will be held in a field but we will also see a Big Top making its debut where some fantastic music will take place and we might even see some circus performers!! We just want everyone to have an amazing time and experience the beauty of Tiree if they’ve not been here before. We may have our best line up to date, with probably two of Scotland’s best female singers in Julie Fowlis and Eddie Reader who we cannot wait to see.
If you can, sum up in 3 words what the festival means to you.
Stewart – Exhausting, overwhelming & proud.
Daniel – Euphoria, exhausting & proud