UP TO 8,000 people will make their way to Helensburgh this summer for the town’s first-ever major music festival.

The inaugural Argyll Gathering will showcase the best in traditional and contemporary Scottish music, culture and the arts, local food and drink and interactive workshops.

The two-day festival will he held at Ardencaple sports ground on August 19 and 20, and will feature performers including The Red Hot Chilli Pipers, Treacherous Orchestra and former Runrig frontman Donnie Munro.

James Windebank, one of The Argyll Gathering’s organisers, who was born and raised in Helensburgh, says the festival will be the realisation of a life-long dream. He said: “Argyll Gathering will bring something completely different to the town, exposing the best of Scottish music to the area and provide an economic boost to local business.”

Mr Windebank had the idea around 15 years ago and, following a career in events management and production, he believed now was the time to deliver the event along with co-organiser Nick Lawrie.

He has worked on many events across the UK including The Glasgow Commonwealth Games, The Glasgow 10k, T in the Park and The Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

The pair are hopeful of a hugely positive reaction.

They told the Advertiser: “Argyll Gathering will bring something completely different to the town, exposing the best of Scottish music to the area and provide an economic boost to local business.

“Argyll Gathering is very family friendly with a range of activities and workshops for all ages, we aim to have something for everyone to enjoy.

“One of Argyll Gatherings primary aims is to provide a platform for local groups and artists to showcase their talents.

“Through our community workshop stage and music stages, local bands, solo artists and groups will have the opportunity perform throughout the weekend.”

The festival will take place in the location of the Argyll Gathering on Rhu Road Higher on the grounds of Helensburgh Rugby and Cricket Club on the weekend of Saturday, August 19 and Sunday, August 20.

The Helensburgh and Lomond Chamber of Commerce have welcomed another addition to the town’s growing calendar of events - which includes the summer and winter festivals and the new food festival.

A spokeswoman said: “This is very good news for Helensburgh. A major music festival organised and run by someone who has a stake in the town is a win, win.

“As long as traffic issues and parking are dealt with, which we are sure they will be, this can only be good - a real plus for local accommodation and food providers as well as for the general sense of buzz around the area.

“This festival comes the weekend after Summer Festival and the new Helensburgh Food Festival so Helensburgh’s growing reputation as a place to stay, shop and eat is going to get a real boost.”

Organisers are encouraging people to use public transport as the site is located near to train stations and bus stops but they have taken traffic into consideration.

They are currently in talks with local landowners to put a car park on near the site but are still in the process of working it out. A dedicated blue badge holder car park has been confirmed.

Helensburgh Community Council also welcome the idea of another festival in principal but would be interested in finding out more information from the organiser.

Norman Muir, convener, said: “The bottom line for us is any innovative event that brings the outside world’s attention to Helensburgh is a great thing for the town but it must be done well and have a positive public relations impact.

“Holding what appears to be a major event in the area brings with it the baggage of administration and organisation and that requires detailed planning and liaison with local authorities and the community.”

Councillor Aileen Morton, policy lead for sustainable economic growth, has met with the organisers of the event and looks forward to another event on the Helensburgh calendar.

She said: “I think their plans for the weekend festival sound very exciting.

“Helensburgh is a lovely place to visit and this event is an opportunity to bring a different audience into the town – who may then become repeat visitors.

“Hopefully local music lovers will take the opportunity to attend a festival on their doorstep.”