Festival Interview and Gallery: Prestwick, Ayrshire Set For Prestfest 2018

Prestfest Music Festival 2018 

Prestwick, Scotland 

August 3rd-5th 

Think of the Scottish town of Prestwick. You may think of the beautiful sandy beach, the international airport or world famous golf. You may also think of its community led, grass-roots music event- Prestfest. Established in 2012, Prestfest is an exciting small music festival showcasing talent from Ayrshire and beyond. Prestfest is rapidly growing in strength and each year every nook and cranny of the town centre is crammed with music lovers, all with a thirst for quality live performances. 

Over 60 acts will perform across 13 venues including Elliots Bar, The Buf, Bar Central and The RAFA Club. Headlining Elliots and closing the festival on Sunday will be The View frontman Mercury Prize nominee Kyle Falconer. Kyle is promoting his debut album ‘No Thank You’ and is also due to perform a free gig at 5pm on the same day in neighbouring town Ayr’s independent record store Big Sparra VinylTickets for the Kyle Falconer Presfest gig are available from Elliots and via skiddle

Kyle Falconer No Thank You Tour Elliots, Prestwick 5th August 2018 

GALLERY: Sample of Prestfest 2018 line-up


My Tips! 

  • Looking for some amazing acoustics? Look no further than Friday night at Caprice where you can enjoy the talents of Little Fire, Scott Nicol, Craig Scott, Eleanor Hill and Annabel. 

  • The Rafa Club is playing host to some great bands; for some noise check out alt-rock three piece The Belafonte on Friday night (their debut single Human Hands was filmed in the old Victorian prison cells deep below Ayr’s Town Hall- the song/video rocks!) and good time ska punk band The Hostiles are playing on Saturday. 

  • The Buf will be a busy venue; with bands lined up all weekend it will be hard to keep up. Get in early Friday to catch the face-meltastic Dross at 7pm, heavy rockers Wasted Years are on at 10pm and stick around for Ayrshire’s supergroup Box of Trash’s debut performance at 11.30pm. Indie rock is the dominant genre of The Buf’s Saturday line-up and if you like the 90s indie scene check out headliners Oasis tribute act ‘What’s the Story…?‘ For me, the highlight of Sunday’s line-up will be prog-rock riff showmen Zang.


  • For some uplifting pop harmonies check out Lido on Friday- Scots-American duo Welbeck Wood, soulful singer- songwriter Chloe Marie and incredible vocalists Mandulu & Hephzibah will be performing. 

  • Elliots bar will be another bustling host. The main act Kyle Falconer will put on an impressive show on Sunday but check out other brilliant live acts including the popular four piece indie act Ranzas and blues-rockers Rigid Soul

  • If it’s a hip hop/ rap/ beatboxing extraordinaire you’re looking for get yourself into Lido Saturday from 9.30pm for Presfest favourite Big Tajj.

  • For lovers of EDM, The DJ Collective TEN take over the The Red Lion on Saturday 4th and DJ Stevie Green & Friends are back to back from 3pm Saturday at 7Saints. 

The good news is that most of the Presfest performances are free of charge

For full listings check out the Prestfest Facebook events…


I managed to catch up with Prestfest organisers Conor Kelly and Scott Russell…. 

Prestfest 2018 runs from the 3rd to the 5th of August in Ayrshire’s seaside town of Prestwick. What’s a typical day right now? 

Scott: Thursday will be getting The Buf set up, Friday afternoon the stage goes up and then by 7pm it’s off we go. We make sure we get round the venues and get a feel for the atmosphere. I think this year will run smooth, we have people working the bars and giving the acts the support they need. Sound engineers are in place so this allows me to enjoy the music, by 7pm Friday my work will be done at The Buf. 

What can the good people of Ayrshire expect from Prestfest 2018?

Scott: This year we have given the bars the option to do their own thing. I have once again taken the reigns at The Buf and my plan was to get as many acts as possible in the venue with the majority from Ayrshire. We also have our biggest ever “NAME” at the festival this year with Kyle Falconer playing a show at Elliots. This year will be a big event and Prestwick will be busy once again. Businesses will get a good hit of traffic- maybe someone will take notice in the council and give us some serious funding for next year. We can make it even bigger!!

Conor: Although being run on the smallest budget to date this is one of the most exciting Prestfests so far. 13 venues this year with The Buf, Red Lion, RAFA, Bar Central and Elliots running a full weekend of events. Prestfesters can look forward to genuine rock star headliner in Kyle Falconer while the fest retains its roots in supporting local and up and coming musos. 

Prestfest first hit Prestwick town centre in 2012, and it’s still a highlight of the annual Ayrshire music calendar. At what point did you get onboard with the planning of this event? 

Conor: I got involved in 2013 and have been involved in some way ever since.

Scott: I got on board 2 years ago to help Drew McCormack, I took one venue which was The Wick (now The Buf). Then last year I headed the organising along with Drew, Conor Kelly, Rikki McKay and Andy Strachan. With no funding we pulled off the biggest festival yet. We also brought The RAFA Club on board. 

What’s the biggest challenge to organising a three day music event?

Scott: Running times!!!!!… making sure bands are on time and changeovers are quick. Some bands are great at faffing about!! Also making sure everyone is having fun. 

Conor: I think because the fest has been running for so long and has previously attracted the likes of Gerry Cinnamon, Esperanza, Hector Bizerk and now Kyle Falconer; acts around the country think that the fest is rolling in cash and request some pretty ridiculous fees in proportion to their pulling power. There is no funding or council support; the fest is funded entirely by venues.

How many acts are to perform over the weekend and what can we expect from the bands on the line-up?

Scott: There will be over 60 acts performing. We have an eclectic mix from rock, indie, prog, folk and solo acoustic acts. I have checked out all the bands and apart from Kyle Falconer, ones who have impressed me recently are Kamillas, Zang, The Ronains and Pelikan Rogue…lol 

Conor: Jaysus sure BUF has a million bands on alone! There really is something for everyone this year… rock, hip hop, indie, trad, cover bands & tribute acts…it’s all there. Something to look for this year is the introduction of some meaty DJ nights at Red Lion (TEN) and 7Saints (Steve Green & Friends) on the Saturday night. That definitely adds a new dimension to the festival.

Tell us about the host venues? 

Conor: They’re all bangin’ lads and great craic. 

From past Prestfest events, what’s been your highlight? 

Conor: The Cadence Party at the Golf Inn back in 2013 was special from a personal point of view. There’s maybe too many highlights to recall… Gerry Cinnamon played in a hairdressers once, The Old Eagle stage hosted some special gigs & the Bigg Taj vs Carl Bridgeman Bass v Beatbox jam last year was different level. I reckon Zang are going to turn a few heads this year!

Scott: Biggest highlight for me was the 1st Friday I did 2 years ago. I got local bands to play and it was mobbed. Friday was usually the acoustic night and to get The Wick filled on a Friday with local musicians and their pals was really cool. The bar made a few bob too!!!! That Friday thing was excellent last year and it will be again this year.  Due to council restrictions we can’t have any outdoor live music. This is a shame as The Buf beer garden when sunny and with some acoustic music is a sight to be seen.

What’s the future for Prestfest?

Conor: Perpetual, organised chaos! We are working on some big stuff for next year; that is if we survive 2018 & the venues are happy. 

Scott: I keep saying every year is my last but I got on board with only one venue this year and it’s been ok up till now. I’d like to see one main venue, and if I’m being pushed and this is on writing, my vision would be a big Main Stage behind Kids Play with a mini type festival feel- out the way of locals to moan about the music. Get a marquee up too for acoustic acts, burger vans, fun park, music Fri-Sat-Sun all day untill 11pm. Fill it with local acts and get 6 headliners, 2 for each night…But it will probably be the same as this year which is cool. We just need funding and a council with a bit of balls to give funding to an event that doesn’t have ‘Burns’ in the name.

GALLERY: Throwback to Prestfest 2017


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