Friday the 1st to 3rd of March 2013 sees the return of MV Festival to Aviemore and surrounding area. We spoke to the festival organiser, Stephen Barbour as the run-up to the second festival relentlessly gains pace.

How did the idea of the MV Festival come about?

The idea for the MV Festival was simple, take three things I love, music, comedy and winter sports, in a part of Scotland I love and then invite hundreds of people to come and enjoy it with me and help me raise lots of money for charity, while having a fantastic weekend.

Tthe fact that its the only festival in Europe to combine all they elements, also means that there could be a bit of interest generated based on that and help boost its success and visitor numbers to the area to help the local community. All of that made it a no brainier to me and something I just had to do, this festival is and will be such a good thing for so many people.

Stephen with all comics

How did the signing of Frankie Boyle last year come about?

Frankie is good friends with my friend Craig Campbell and was set to be heading up to Aviemore to enjoy some down time with the guys and to enjoy some snowboarding that weekend. He kindly offered to do a few short sets for us, one because he was there and two he would be able to try out some new stuff for his, at that time upcoming tour. Of course I was not going to say no, when somebody like Frankie Boyle offers his time to you.

What impact do you think his appearances had on the debut festival?

I do think it had a big impact on the festival as well, people love to hate Frankie in some ways, but they all still want to see him. To have him playing a small venue like the Hilton Coylumbridge was amazing and I think when word got out, it did help bring people in to see him, as well as the other three amazing comics.

Apart from the comedy, what were the highlights of last year’s festival?

It may sound a little silly to some people, but a highlight for me, was just to have people there, people who work hard and then came with there hard earned money and spent it on tickets to the MV Festival.That to me is a huge highlight and the fact that I got to see so many people leaving venues all around Aviemore with smiles on their faces, saying they have had a great time, that was a highlight as well.

Away from that side, some of my highlights have to include some of the amazing unsigned music acts we had, it was the first time I had seen Last Summer Effect and they blew me away, really nice guys as well, another highlight were Smiling Ivy, all the way from Sheffield, Be Like Pablo are one of my favourites anyways and of course Megan Blyth, were all my highlights of the 2012 MV Festival.

Katie Sutherland Prmo Shot

There is quite a mix of music, from Katie Sutherland to The Dangleberries, already announced what are the main things that influence you when you book an act?

This is easy, if an act makes me listen and I hear them, then am interested and I will look at them a little closer, check out their web sites, other songs, see who else follows them or likes them and see how they would fit into what the MV Festival means to me. I love music for being music and there is not one kind better than another to me, so its easy, if you make me listen as I said, then you have every chance of getting a place at the MV Festival, the problem this year is there have been more acts than there are spaces getting in touch, so sorry to any act who has tried, you will be put forward to next year if your not selected for 2013.

You have been keen to promote younger musicians, Can you tell us a bit about the reasons for this?

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Some of the best music in this country at the moment is coming from the unsigned young up and coming musicians and the UK as a whole has a depth of talent out there just waiting to be seen. The North of Scotland is a hot pot for that talent. Some of these amazing musicians and song writers work so hard at what they do, for years and a lot of success comes down to nothing more than luck at the end of the day. So if I can provide another platform for these great acts to get out there and be heard and seen, then am doing my bit to help them on their journey.

The music industry at the moment and for the past few years, has been running off quick fixes, people who come along have one hit, maybe two and then they are gone and I think we are almost ready to head back to a time where acts have some amazing long term success in the music industry. I for one hope that the new stars of the future come from right here in Scotland and can perhaps not only say, I remember when I played the MV Festival, but also, I can’t wait to go back and play the MV Festival, stars such as Emily Middlemas, Tammy Miller, Murdo Mitchell, Joanne Summer and of course Megan Blyth are just a few that deserve great success and are all still very young, but working hard.

Are there any acts that you are particularly looking forward to seeing?

Terry Alderton MV

Yes on the comedy front this year, I really can’t wait to see Terry Alderton and Phil Nichol in the headline show and Billy Kirkwood and Iszi Lawrence when they take to the stage hosting their respected venues. On the music front I’m super stoked to have Brown Bear & The Bandits playing and can’t wait to see them, along with Purple Divide, Sam Brett, Katie Sutherland, Dave ‘Bucket’ Colwell & friends, SauzaKings and Toby Michaels Rolling Damned along with some of my favourites from the last MV Festival, just hope I have time to see them all.

Your enthusiasm for the festival is almost tangible, how would you (do you) convince people to come along?

You know I don’t think I need to much convincing to anybody, that this is one fantastic weekend to be a part of for many reasons and its winter, why not come and enjoy the winter in the Highlands and the Cairngorms National Park?  And do your bit for charity at the same time ?  as enjoying some fantastic snow sports and some of the best comedy and music the UK has to offer for a great price, all folks need to do is check out www.mvfestival.com for more info and to purchase tickets and you will be set to brighten up the darkest winter weekend into the best yet.

A little birdie told us that there is a big announcement coming soon about the festival, keep an eye on the site to find out who…..

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A lifelong passion for music matched with a geeky fascination for social media and websites resulted in the creation of Inverness Gigs back in 2010. The aim of the site is to help promote, support and generally raise awareness of the local music scene.In fairness fifteen years of being a psychiatric nurse never prepared me for the experiences that we have had over the last few years and the evolution of Inverness Gigs has certainly been a steep learning curve.I currently write (less and less), edit and co-ordinate most of the Inverness Gigs activities.Occasionally seen on Twitter, and  LinkedIn, if you want get in touch you can contact me direct at chris@igi.gs