The UK’s biggest collector of AC/DC memorabilia will be returning to mark 10 years of BonFest in Kirriemuir. Neil McDonald has been exhibiting at the Gateway to the Glens Museum since 2005. Mr McDonald’s collection helped break the museum’s daily attendance record during this year’s BonFest which has been held annually since 2006. He regularly loans the museum a host of objects for its exhibitions, many of which have never been viewed by the general public. Fans of the rock band travel from around the world to Kirriemuir each year to celebrate the life of their late lead singer Bon Scott, who was brought up in the town. Mr McDonald said: “The BonFest weekend was fabulous and, as you know, the museum broke its daily attendance figure which was fantastic. “It was great meeting and chatting to all the fans and visitors about the memorabilia on display. “One of the items which created a lot of interest this year was the AC/DC promotional ‘Swag Bag’ from the USA for the single Money Talks as well as the many early Australian and European singles on display. “I will be coming up to Kirriemuir imminently and will be having early discussions with the staff at the museum regarding next year. “Interestingly, although BonFest will be celebrating its 10th anniversary next year, I first exhibited at the Gateway to the Glens Museum a year earlier in 2005.” The first time Neil met Bon Scott was when he was standing outside the Glasgow Apollo in 1978 before a concert. He was carrying the last tour programme and Bon Scott drew up in a car and Neil asked him to sign it. Bon Scott took him inside to meet the band and they all signed his programme.
Extremely rare AC/DC memorabilia has gone on on display in Angus ahead of this weekend’s festival to celebrate the band’s legendary frontman. The Kirriemuir Gateway to the Glens Museum’s annual free exhibition for Bonfest features items belonging to Neil McDonald, who has the biggest AC/DC collection in the UK. Bon Scott 40 Years of High Voltage & TNT commemorates the fact that 40 years have passed since the release, in Australia, of the AC/DC albums High Voltage and TNT. Neil told The Courier: “As well as the original Australian LPs and singles, there are also three original flyers from 1975 and 1976 for Dingwalls in London, where AC/DC played when they first came to the UK. “They list the names of the various bands and the dates they appeared at the club at the time. “Also, there is an extremely rare Atlantic Records promotional poster advertising the release of the UK LP High Voltage in 1976, which was a compilation of songs from their first two Australia-only-released albums, High Voltage and TNT, the year before.” Bon Fest has been organised by local group DD8 Music every year since 2006 and pays homage to the former lead singer of the iconic rock band. Bon Scott was born Ronald Belford Scott in Forfar in 1946 and lived in Kirriemuir until the age of six, when his family moved to Western Australia. Neil added: “In another case we are displaying a mixture of AC/DC items spanning their long career, which include an official Australian gold record award for the album Flick Of The Switch that was presented to Malcom Young for sales of the album. Malcolm also signed the back of this award. “Another item I have loaned for the first time is a promotional AC/DC swag bag, which was issued to radio stations and record executives to promote the single Money Talks in the USA. “These are only some of the many items that visitors to the Gateway To The Glens will be able to view this year and I look forward to chatting to fans at the museum on Saturday.” Neil will be in the museum on Saturday from 1 to 4pm to discuss his collection. The exhibition is free to view during the museum’s opening hours, 10am to 5pm, Tuesday to Saturday.
Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space...
Bon has toppled Barrie as the favourite thing to do in Kirriemuir. Visiting the bronze statue of the AC/DC singer in his home town has surged ahead of the Angus Glens and Peter Pan author JM Barrie’s birthplace on reviews website TripAdvisor. The statue was only revealed two weeks ago during a staggeringly successful Bonfest weekend which thrust Kirriemuir to the centre of the international music map. The larger-than-life sized bronze of Bon – who died in 1980 after a night of heavy drinking aged just 33 – was the centrepiece of fan attention and is already the subject of countless photographs. Kirrie’s memorial will now undoubtedly become a must-visit attraction for diehard AC/DC fans and joins a similar memorial in Freemantle, Australia where Ronald Belford Scott emigrated with his family in 1956, later meeting the Glasgow-born Young brothers before embarking on the history-making journey with AC/DC. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1Wio1U0llM Meanwhile, AC/DC disciples from as far afield as Australia, Austria and Spain have helped Kirrie’s Gateway to the Glens Museum smash its visitor record. The Gateway to the Glens Museum received a record breaking 1,001 visitors during the three days of opening during the 10th annual Bonfest weekend. Rachel Jackson, Museum Officer, said: “The huge total surpassed the record breaking number during last year’s Bonfest and is officially the largest total of visitors in one day (Saturday’s visitor figures were 609) for the museum which celebrates its 15th birthday this month. “The visitors came from far and wide; Austraila, Austria, Madrid, but also many local visitors who came to experience the buzz of the festival. “Former band member Mark Evans viewed the exhibition, along with Bon’s soulmate, Mary Renshaw, who donated a selection of letters which were written to her by Bon during the 70s.” Bonfest has been organised by local group DD8 Music every year since 2006 and the exhibition featured rare Bon Scott memorabilia which is owned by Neil McDonald who has the biggest collection in the UK. Mr McDonald has a life-long collection of albums, posters, rare cassettes and even a Christmas card from former lead singer Bon Scott. This year he has decided to mark the milestone anniversary by delivering many items of memorabilia which have never been displayed before in Kirriemuir.
The work of well-known Arbroath photographer Jim Ratcliffe will be the subject of a special display next week. Mr Ratcliffe, who died aged 78 in January, donated more than 75,000 negatives to the Signal Tower Museum’s archives in 2015. On Tuesday at 2pm, Fiona Scharlau, Angus Archives manager, is hosting a Jim Ratcliffe Collection drop-in at the visitor attraction. Visitors will have an opportunity to view a slideshow of photographs taken by Mr Ratcliffe in Arbroath during the 1970s. People are asked to come along and help identify people and places which were captured by Mr Ratcliffe’s lens. The freelance photographer operated in Arbroath since the 1960s and catalogued every picture taken in that time.
Hell’s Bells are chiming after the launch of a new exhibition marked the start of the countdown to a milestone event honouring Kirriemuir’s heavy rock son Bon Scott. This year marks the 10th anniversary Bon Fest, a celebration of the baker’s son who emigrated with his Angus family to Australia before becoming the lead singer of rock giants AC/DC, and the Angus town will witness the unveiling of a sculpture commemorating the frontman following a £50,000 campaign which enjoyed global support. Fans from across the world have also contributed to an extended exhibition at Kirriemuir’s Gateway to the Glens Museum in the town square, which at the end of the month is hoping to repeat its record-breaking success of 2015 when more than 400 visitors flocked through the doors on Bon Fest Saturday. The award-winning museum features a permanent Bon Scott display, much of it loaned by Scots AC/DC super fan Neil McDonald. Among the items added to the case for the 10th anniversary celebration is his prized Gibson SG electric guitar, once owned by the band’s Angus Young and signed by all of the group. In the upstairs gallery of the museum visitors will be greeted by a gold bust of Bon Scott, created by Ayrshire sculptor and AC/DC fan John McKenna, who has crafted the bronze statue which will be unveiled at nearby Bellies Brae on the afternoon of Saturday April 30. Rachel Jackson of the Gateway to the Glens museum said the fans who make a pilgrimage to Bon’s home town were always generous. “Every year we get an increasing amount of things donated and one of the T-shirts on display came from a chap called Miguel Angel Suarez who came from Coruna in Spain and actually gave us the shirt off his back,” she said. Fan club material from Australia, Germany and Austria has also been gifted to Kirrie, and the number of streets across the world named in Bon’s honour are featured in the exhibition. Kirriemuir has its own Bon Scott Place, there is an AC/DC Lane in Melbourne and another T-shirt in the new exhibition commemorated the unveiling of Calle de AC/DC in Barcelona.
Rockers from across the globe descended on Kirriemuir at the weekend to celebrate a local legend. Fans came in their hundreds to the annual BonFest, marking the life of former AC/DC frontman Bon Scott. A sell-out Saturday night saw continental outfit Bon The AC/DC Show play to a packed Town Hall, supported by The Ruckus and Saz. The festival kicked off on Friday night and the travelling groupies were not disappointed with an array of musical talent filling the weekend. Saturday daytime performances came at pubs, with Just Katie, Phillip and Jack, Sam and Sammy, That Girl Gail, Bobby Stickah and The Rag and Bone Man playing the Ogilvy, while Tonight Matthew, Saz, Around 7, We Are The Support Act, The Blind Faiths and Emerald Sunday lined up at the Cairnie Inn. Organised by Graham Galloway, the event also boasted a Bon Scott exhibition at the Gateway to the Glens Museum.
A 15th century gold ring unearthed in an Angus treasure trove has come back home. Relic hunters found a hoard near a small community outside Kirriemuir in 2016, including finger furniture with an “unusual” agate stone. The item has gone through the arduous “treasure trove” process with the authorities and has been returned to the town. It is now on display at the Gateway to the Glens museum and staff have given it pride of place in a new exhibition. Museum officer Rachel Jackson said they were “delighted” to receive the finger ring after funding from the National Fund for Acquisitions and The Art Fund. The exhibition, entitled Treasure Trove, features archaeological finds from Kirriemuir and the glens to celebrate the year of History, Heritage and Archaeology. The ring was found at Kirkton of Kingoldrum and reported to the Treasure Trove Unit in Edinburgh. In Scotland, any ownerless objects found by chance, metal detecting or excavation become the property of the Crown and may be claimed as trove. The ring is engraved with a shield and simple cross design, and the rough chiselled finish to the metal indicates these shields were intended to be enamelled. Other objects added to the display were a harness piece and lead button from Glamis, dated 1706. The 1st century horse harness part, rare to Scotland and a probably Roman import, was also found at Kirkton of Kingoldrum. An early enamelled mount from near Kinnordy also features. Ms Jackson said she would like to meet those who made the discovery. “It is incredible to think this precious ring has lain undiscovered for more than 500 years," she added. “And it’s wonderful in this year of History, Heritage and Archaeology that as the culture, sport and leisure trust for Angus, Angus Alive can protect it for visitors to the museum to view.” Kirkton of Kingoldrum lies at the foot of Kirkton Hill four miles west of Kirrie. The ruined Balfour Castle, former stronghold of the Ogilvies of Balfour, was said to have been built in the 16th Century by Cardinal Beaton for his mistress, Marion Ogilvy, and their children. The exhibition runs until December 30 and entry is free. The museum is open Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm.
Visitors are being given a rare chance to delve into the lives of forgotten Angus heroes who died in the First World War. Kirrie’s Fallen Men at the Gateway to the Glens Museum tells the stories of Private John Adams McLeod and Lance Corporal David Gray Kidd. The war service of the Wilkie brothers, sons of the Wilkie linen manufacturing business, is also covered in the display. The exhibition includes a display of medals, photographs and drawings, military items, death plaques and a Black Watch uniform, loaned by The Black Watch Museum. Rachel Jackson, senior museum assistant, said: “We also had a large loan of objects from Lady Airlie. This includes the Military Cross of Captain Patrick Julian Harry Stanley Ogilvy, killed in action in 1917. This would be the current Lord Airlie’s uncle. “We also received telegrams from Buckingham Palace to Lady Bridget Coke (the current Lord Airlie’s mother) stating war was imminent and a First World War jacket belonging to the 12th Earl of Airlie (the current Lord Airlie’s father). “Other objects on display are a First World War Black Watch uniform, 1914 Mons Star awarded to CQMS Ian Ross, a couple of death plaques and lots more.” Rachel said the museum previously made a plea for information about Kirrie soldiers and were contacted by local man James Wylie. Mr Wylie came into the museum with his relative’s First World War medals and kindly loaned the Allied Victory Medal and British War Medal, awarded to Private John Adams McLeod, together with a large picture. Rachel added: “A few days later, by chance, a local woman came in the museum to ask if we knew anything about a John Adams McLeod. “Her friend (Christina Rowan whose family own Wilkie’s factory) had found a death plaque for John Adams McLeod in 1978 in an attic while renovating a house near Kirriemuir called ‘Olimuir’ and had cared for it ever since. “With a bit of research we discovered that John Adams McLeod’s sister, Betsy, had married a local farmer called Charles Lawson Wylie in 1923 and they had lived in ‘Balbridie’ which is a property very close to ‘Olimuir’. “On checking with the Wylie family they confirmed that when Betsy and her husband retired and handed the farm on to the family, they moved in to ‘Olimuir’. “The Penny, his medals and a portrait have now all been reunited and will be on display here in the museum as part of the Kirrie’s Fallen Men exhibition.” A display by Kirriemuir Heritage Trust continues the First World War theme in the museum’s upper gallery. The group has sourced many local photographs, news articles and interesting artefacts. The Home Front exhibition is the first of four displays on the First World War planned by the trust. Both exhibitions run until January 10 and can be viewed during normal museum opening hours, Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm.
Rock fans have smashed attendance records at an Angus museum to see a collection of memorabilia from the career of legendary AC/DC singer Bon Scott. With just over a week left to run, the exhibition at Gateway to the Glens Museum in Kirriemuir has exceeded all expectations. Museum assistant Sheila Philp said, "We wondered if we were going to break the previous record of 275 visitors in a day. On what would have been Bon Scott's 65th birthday we got 402 visitors. We didn't break the record we smashed it." Bon Scott was born Ronald Belford Scott in Forfar in 1946 and lived in Kirriemuir until 1952, when his family moved to Australia. Fans have packed the museum to see the Bon Scott memorabilia owned by Neil McDonald, who has the biggest collection in the UK. Items include a Let There Be Rock 1977 UK LP and a rare Australian cassette album, 12 Of The Best, which was an AC/DC "best of" album scheduled for release in 1978 but scrapped at the last minute. Ms Philp said, "It's the first time so many rare items have been under the one roof. We took a chance doing something like this and it's good to know it has come off. "The exhibition will close on August 6 so we would urge anyone who wants to see it to come along."FestivalThe record was broken during the Bon Fest in Kirriemuir, which has been organised by local group DD8 Music every year since 2006 to pay homage to AC/DC's former lead singer, who spent his early childhood in the town. The festivities continued with pub gigs before a concert at the town hall, headlined by top AC/DC tribute band Bon's Balls. Neil McDonald has been a fan of the Kirriemuir-born rocker since the 1970s and was keen his collection go on show in Bon's home town. He said, "I have already had extremely positive feedback from those who visited the museum, many of whom plan to return at a future date. "I have also been contacted by many fans from overseas who have since heard about the exhibition, at least one of whom intends to visit it before it ends next month. "I am hopeful that, with the success of this year's event, I will be able to exhibit other rare items from my collection at the museum next year. "Attendance at the Bon Scott exhibition exceeded all expectations with a record number of visitors to the museum. It is great that Bon Scott has left Kirriemuir with a legacy that will live on."