Organisers of the biggest free annual event in Angus say they are determined to make sure it stays that way for its five-figure crowds.
The team behind Brechin’s Harley Davidson in the City festival are well advanced with plans for the two-day event at the beginning of July, with sights set on topping last year’s record turnout of 800 motorcyclists.
Spectator numbers peaked at around 18,000 two years ago for the celebration which marks the Davidson connection to the area through the family who emigrated from a cottage on the outskirts of Brechin to the US in the 1800s, before leading the founding of the famous marque.
A public meeting in Brechin City Hall will serve as a rallying call for volunteers to help make this summer’s spectacle a success and set out changes which will include a new starting point for the event’s famous Thunder Run.
Hundreds of bikers have traditionally been flagged off from Brechin Castle, but the Earl of Dalhousie’s home was placed on the market last year and the full focus of the festival will switch to Brechin’s River Street.
Bill Sturrock of the festival group said: “We moved the main festival to River Street in 2019 and the Saturday Thunder Run will set off from there for the first time this year.
“The camping area is down there and we are confident it will work well having everything in one place.
“The festival continues to grow and bring benefits to Brechin and Angus, run by the community for the community.
“We are fully aware the festival is an inconvenience to residents on River Street and the surrounding areas and we do our best to mitigate the disruption it causes.
“The feedback we got from residents in River Street was very positive and supportive, with many sitting outside their front doors and having a little party of their own while listening to the music which is again being relayed right along River Street from the main stage.
“Staging Harley Davidson in the City is a major undertaking and it costs a significant amount each year to make it work, but were are trying to make sure this stays a free event for thousands of people to enjoy in Angus.”
He added: “We are keen to make everyone aware of what it takes to organise an festival of this scale in terms of traffic and crown management, medical plans, security, major incident and contingency plans, etc.
“The open meeting in the City Hall on Sunday from 2 to 4pm will give everyone a chance to learn about the plans for 2020 and air any concerns they may have.
“We are also looking for volunteers including those with specific skills such as first aid and working at heights and hope they might come along to the meeting.”