The Angus summer calendar has received a hammer blow after a decision to put the brakes on Brechin’s Harley-Davidson in the City event this July.
Organisers will not to go ahead with the gathering which draws hundreds of motorcycles and a five-figure crowd to the cathedral city.
The event was set up to mark Brechin’s place as the spiritual home of the legendary motorcycle marque, with the now restored Netherton Cottage, a few miles east of the burgh being, being home to Sandy and Margaret Davidson, whose grandsons founded Harley-Davidson after the family emigrated to the US in the mid-19th century.
The Davidson Legacy welcomes visitors from across the globe to the cottage each year, but the Harley-Davidson in the City event was run by local community group BRAVO Brechin, organisers of a full annual programme including Easter and Christmas events, as well as the Brechin cartie races.
It has now emerged that Harley-Davidson has not yet given permission for HDITC 2017 to go ahead, and against the backdrop of other pressures in putting the event together, BRAVO chairman Donald McIntyre said the group had reluctantly decided to pull the plug this year.
The decision also means that there will be no summer repeat of the 670-foot street water slide which has been a popular additional attraction at the event since 2014.
BRAVO chairman Donald Macintyre said: “We are desperately disappointed that we will not be holding the event this year, and are also disappointed in Harley-Davidson because we wrote to them in January and there has been nothing back from them.”
He said the lack of approval from the famous manufacturer was one of a string of reasons for the decision following issues in 2016 which had left the event on the back foot.
It is also understood that Harley-Davidson had tried to block last summer’s event from going ahead, but agreement was reached at the eleventh hour.
“Community groups all over seem to be struggling to put on events like these, which take a huge amount of organisation,” added Mr McIntyre.
“It is too late for this year, but we had a meeting this week and a decision had to be taken because we simply don’t have enough time left to put everything in place.
“Harley-Davidson in the City has been a great success in the past and we would like to do something in the future, but it will not happen this year.
“We are still hoping to run the cartie race in October and are looking at doing something in conjunction with the cathedral for the town.
“BRAVO Brechin is looking forward, but we need to also look at getting more bodies to help in the future to make these events a continuing success.”
The Brechin blow comes after organisers of the Montrose Music Festival issued a grim warning over the future prospects for their phenomenally successful event.
Deacon Blue and the Beach Boys are booked in as this year’s headliners, but MoFest officials have warned that spiralling costs may put the 2018 event under threat and launched a crowdfunding campaign to help offset the burden.
They have also put out a zero tolerance message over town centre open-air boozing at this year’s festival in a bid to put the emphasis back on it being a family-friendly fun event.