Thunderstruck in bronze: Glasgow ‘needs a AC/DC statue like in Kirriemuir’
For one weekend in May every year, the ‘Wee Red Toon’ of Kirriemuir quadruples in size as AC/DC fans gather from all corners of the globe for three days of rock ‘n’ roll concerts in celebration of the life of the iconic rock ‘n’ roll band’s former frontman Bon Scott.
Fist in the air and clutching a set of bagpipes on Bellies Brae stands tall a life-size bronze statue of Scott, who emigrated from the Angus town to Australia aged six with his family on the so-called “ten-pound-pom-ticket” like AC/DC founders Angus and Malcolm Young.
The statue was unveiled in 2016 on the 10th anniversary of BonFest International Rock Festival, and has since then become the centrepiece for the event, while drawing in visitors to Kirriemuir from near and far.
Amid calls from the likes of Scottish radio presenter and DJ Jim Gellatly for AC/DC to be honoured in Glasgow, where the Young brothers who formed the band spent their early years, BonFest chairman John Crawford told The Herald of his surprise that Glasgow hasn’t yet followed in the footsteps of Kirriemuir.
READ MORE: AC/DC Glasgow: Radio presenter backs calls for city memorial to band
He said: “I think the whole AC/DC story is fascinating as is the Glasgow/Kirriemuir connection. The Young brothers and Bon Scott never knew each other and yet they ended up in Australia and it just so happened that they came together to form one of the best rock bands if not the best rock band in the world.
“I’m actually surprised that Glasgow hasn’t done something beforehand when you see lots of different famous figures have been honoured in the city, it’s just a shame that Glasgow hasn’t recognised Angus and Malcolm beforehand.
“I think it’s something that Glasgow absolutely needs. You look at Liverpool with The Beatles and all the rest of it and Black Sabbath in Birmingham. So why not? They should definitely have something.
“Kirriemuir itself has benefited greatly since the Bon Scott statue was put in through increased tourism which has resulted in increased finances for the town. I maintain the area around the statue quite often and I bump into a lot of people and get chatting to them.
“The most common factor is that people have only dropped in to Kirriemuir because the statue is there but while they are there they will go to a couple of restaurants or hotel and have lunch or whatever or make a weekend of it and explore round about and base themselves in Kirriemuir. If it wasn't for that AC/DC Bon Scott connection they would never have done that. It’s been such a great success for such a small town.”
For a memorial to AC/DC to become a reality in Glasgow, Mr Crawford believes that the city needs an individual or group to lead a campaign as he himself and those involved in or attending BonFest International Rock Festival did to make the idea of a Bon Scott statue become a reality.
He added: “BonFest kicked off in 2006, so we had 10 years prior to the statue, or eight years with two years of funding. We had quite a loyal fanbase and quite a loyal global following anyway which made us think we could do it. I don’t know who in Glasgow who would lead a crowdfunding campaign, it’s not as easy as it sounds.
Statue of AC/DC's Bon Scott in Bellies Brae, Kirriemuir. (2021) Pic: Reign of Error. pic.twitter.com/kLfC3cGPmm
— PictureThis Scotland (@74frankfurt) June 29, 2022
“I would absolutely get behind it and obviously promote them in anyway whoever ‘they’ may be if it ever comes to fruition but it’s difficult. I know a lot of people in Glasgow that are massive AC/DC fans but you are looking at raising over £50,000, which our Bon statue cost. Are you doing an Angus and Malcolm statue or something to symbolise AC/DC or what? Because you’d probably be looking at, especially in today’s climate, £100,000 for a double statue.
“We got no backing or help at all from the local council or local government or anything. The only thing they did for us was give us an area where we could place the statue. There was a bit of land we got from the council which we basically rent off them for £1 a year for 50 years or something like that.
“As I said, we would 110 per cent get behind them and work with them if we could achieve the goal.”
Meanwhile, Glasgow City Council has said it would be “open” to considering any proposal for a memorial in the city playing tribute to the founding members of AC/DC.
A spokesman for the council told The Herald: “We are open to considering any proposal to mark the achievements of a world-famous band with proud Glaswegian roots.”