Mumford & Sons reveal plans for Highland festival

Mumford and Sons on stage at T in the Park. Pic: Lisa Ferguson

Mumford and Sons on stage at T in the Park. Pic: Lisa Ferguson

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A HIGHLAND estate is to play host to a huge new musical festival this summer after being handpicked by one of Britain’s biggest bands to stage their own event.

Multi-million selling folk-rock icons Mumford & Sons have confirmed they will be staging the two-day event at the Rothiemurchus Estate, near Aviemore, in what will be a major boost for Scotland’s events calendar.

The 25,000-capacity festival, which will effectively replace the cancelled RockNess event as the biggest outdoor music event in the Highlands, is expected to provide a huge economic boost to the Aviemore area, with showcases of local culture and businesses promised at the event.

However it is also set to go virtually head-to-head with T in the Park, Scotland’s biggest musical festival due to be held at its new location at the Strathallan Estate, in Perthshire, less than a month beforehand. The event at Rothiemurchus will be one of five “Stopover Festivals” Mumford & Sons will be staging this summer, with the other four being held across the United States.

Launched in 2012, they involve the band staging their own headline gig, as well as curating their own one-off programme of entertainment.

Among the other acts confirmed so far are Primal Scream, Ben Howard, The Maccabees, Honeyblood, Lianne La Havas, Simian Mobile Disco and King Charles, with a number of slots in the line-up still to be filled.

It will be a great opportunity for the people of Badenoch and Strathspey to make new friends from around the world

Johnnie Grant, owner of the Rothiemurchus Estate

The Mumford & Sons show is one of just three in the UK confirmed for a forthcoming world tour to showcase new album, Wilder Mind, which was announced yesterday by the group.

They will be also appearing at the annual Leeds and Reading festivals in August, after their event at Rothiemurchus, which is being held on 31 July and 1 August.

Other acts appearing with Mumford & Sons at the US festivals include The Flaming Lips, The Vaccines, The Foo Fighters, James Vincent McMorrow and the Alabama Shakes.

The “Aviemore Stopover” is being jointly organised with promoters behind the hugely-successful Loopallu festival, which attracts sell-out crowds to Ullapool each year. Mumford & Sons, are no strangers to the Highlands, having played Loopallu in 2009, shortly before releasing their breakthrough debut album, after an earlier tour of the Highlands as complete unknowns.

The group also played a sell-out intimate tour taking in shows in Mull, Fort William, Forres, Stornoway, Inverness and Shetland shortly after winning the coveted best British album prize at the Brit Awards in 2011.

Mumford & Sons were also one of the headliners of the ill-fated RockNess festival in 2012. It was held at Dores, on the banks of Loch Ness, for the last time the following year, but shelved in 2014 amid claims it was struggling to compete with rival events.

The Rothiemurchus Estate was previously chosen for a brand new festival, The Outsider, in 2007, as part of a year-long celebration of Highland culture, but the event was never repeated, despite significant public funding going into its launch.

A smaller, boutique-style festival, The Insider, was launched in the wake of the cancellation of The Outsider due to poor ticket sales in 2009, but was shelved after the 2013 event, despite attracting a cult following around Scotland.

Ullapool-based Robert Hicks, founder of Beyond Events, who stage Loopallu, said: “We’re overwhelmed that Mumford & Sons have chosen the Highlands, and in particular Aviemore as the only UK and indeed, European leg of their touring Stopover Festival.

“The Aviemore Stopover is an unique opportunity for the Badenoch and Strathspey area, and the Highlands, as a whole to shout about what an incredible place we live in. This is a real highlight for me and the Beyond team, having worked with Mumford & Sons since they toured the Highlands back in 2009 and numerous times since.”

Johnnie Grant, owner of the Rothiemurchus Estate: “We’re very flattered that Mumford and Sons have chosen Rothiemurchus and Aviemore for the UK leg of their Stopover tour.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming them and their fans to this special part of the world. It’s a pleasure to be able to provide the Dell of Rothiemurchus for this Concert. It will be a great opportunity for the people of Badenoch and Strathspey to make new friends from around the world.”

Tickets for the Aviemore Stopover go on sale on Friday.

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