A POPULAR island festival is to return this summer after a two year gap because of the pandemic.

First held in 2015, ButeFest has grown from a local event attracting 600 people to a 2000-capacity festival, attracting people from all over the UK and generating hundreds of thousands of pounds for the local economy.

Around 70 acts are lined up to play across three stages over the weekend, alongside craft workshops and stalls selling local and Scottish produce.

Performers include bagpiping superstars the Red Hot Chilli Pipers, pop favourites Scouting for Girls, Gaelic folk group Mànran and indie folk band Elephant Sessions, along with upcoming talent such as feel-good Rothesay band, The Upbeat Beatdown, and Greenock indie talent Fallen Arches, who have performed the festival every year since its inception.

The festival also champions a strong volunteer programme with a team of around 100 volunteers helping to make ButeFest’s return a reality this year.

Volunteer Joanne Cowie, who lives on Bute, said she had gained a lot from the experience.

“It’s been amazing over the years to see so many of our community pull together to put on this event,” she said. “I had never been to a festival before volunteering for ButeFest. I liked the idea of becoming part of the welfare team and being there to help others so said I would help. I’ve been there ever since.”

Fraser Lindsay of The Upbeat Beatdown said the return of the festival had given the band a creative focus.

“Playing previously at ButeFest gave us, as a band, a completely new lease of life,” he said. “We found an open-minded and enthusiastic audience that, despite the majority never having heard of us before, were more than up for joining us on our genre-hopping musical journey. Returning to the festival this year has provided us with a real focus and creative spark and we can’t wait to share our new material with everyone.”

Butefest chair Hazel Mulholland said the festival was a community-driven, grassroots event.

“We are extremely lucky to have the support of the island since our inception,” she said. “After building on the festival’s success year on year, we can’t wait to bring the event back this year – locals and visitors alike can expect a fun-filled, family-friendly atmosphere.”