THE two big cities have long had their own thriving music scenes. A variety of venues, both big and small, have helped cultivate that community, as well as the odd festival on their respective doorsteps.

In recent years, there has been, perhaps, a slight shift in the culture with smaller towns or regions across Scotland developing an endless supply of talent.

Many, of course, go on to make their name in Glasgow and Edinburgh – or even down south – but their origin story helps to feed and breed follow-up acts who take inspiration from the 'small town band makes good' story.

Dunfermline and West Lothian have both been earned the title of thriving local scenes and it's no surprise that both areas have multiple venues and the odd festival.

But, then, who might be next? Where might be next?

One of the candidates may well be Forth Valley – a trivium of local authorities that are spaced apart by only a few miles. Individually, there is perhaps not quite a thriving scene, but as a unit there is no questioning its contender status.

The talent speaks for itself: Jamie Pollock, Tonto, Stevie McCrorie, Arc Arrival, Sam Gellaitry, Primes, The Nickajack Men, The Media Whores, Arab Strap, Petty Thieves, Aaron Smith, Artesan as well as others with roots in the area including CHVRCHES and Lucia & the Best Boys.

Live venues may be lacking in some parts of Forth Valley, but the same cannot be said for festival dates. In just a few weeks' time, music fans will once again descend on Falkirk for Vibration Festival – a new event to the calendar which only launched in 2019.

Should the green light be given, it will be the second time the Callendar Park event will go ahead. And if it is as successful as its inaugural year, it will become a massive focal point for the Forth Valley scene.

Doune the Rabbit Hole may well be cancelled for a second year running, but it will be back. Having two well-attended festivals in the area could inspire more bands to form and, as a result, more venues to emerge.

It is only a matter of time.

Vibration Festival was set up with the idea of providing a showcase for local talent in mind – giving them a platform to carve out a name for themselves, while showing the way for prospective musicians. Of course, welcoming stars from all over the UK can have a similar effect. The list of artists who took up music after seeing live shows in their hometown is endless.

Andy Ure, one of the organisers of the three-day event, knows full well the importance of having a festival to build a scene around.

He said: “I’ve been in bands for years and I know just how hard it can be to get the opportunity to play live for big audiences. Festivals should be they opportunity and they should always showcase local talent.

“When we first launched in 2019, we knew then that we wanted Forth Valley bands on the bill - as many as we could. That was always going to be major part of it.

“And it’s not like we were making concessions — the talent in this area is outstanding. Having most of these bands back again means the world to me.

“Hopefully, Vibration will be around for a long time and as long as we are here we will continue to support the thriving Forth Valley music scene an encourage all new musicians and acts no matter the genre to apply.”

Among the acts set to take the Vibration stage is Stevie McCrorie – a name well-known across Clacks, Stirling and Falkirk. He played the mainstage in 2019 and is among the names returning for 2021.

Stevie McCrorie performing at Vibration in 2019.

Stevie McCrorie performing at Vibration in 2019.

He tells The Weekender: "Fingers crossed it goes ahead as I know how much work the guys have out into it. It’s great to part of it, with it being local, and I know Andy, who is one of the two brothers putting it on.

"I played the headline stage the last time and it was awesome. Andy asked if I would headline the acoustic area this time around which I was more than pleased to do.

"I can’t wait; it’s been torture and heart-breaking not being able to perform live."

When asked if Forth Valley could be the next West Lothian, the singer replies: "I don’t see why not – there so much talent in this area; it’s a beautiful place we live in Forth Valley, and I really think it’s great to have Vibration here paving the way."

As with all artists, McCrorie is raring to make his return to the stage. His last full live set was the end of 2019, just a few months before the pandemic struck.

At that time, plans were in place for a few shows down the line, including a headliner at PJ Molloys in Dunfermline.

McCrorie adds: "The whole thing has really thrown everything off, if I’m honest. I’m not booking any solid shows until I know it’s going to happen as I had to cancel and rearrange a few at the start of it all.

"The last proper headline show was December 2019 at King Tut's. I miss normal life, that’s for sure."

The pandemic did give the singer some time to write, however, and it looks as though his voice could be making its debut on the silver screen in the near future.

He says: "I was kept slightly busy with music and writing a song specifically for a movie over in America. The woman that asked me wrote the script and her husband is a famous actor; they loved the song and I’m over the moon that they have chose to put it in the movie. It’s currently in editing stages and all filmed. I won’t say much other than it's a family movie and 'you can do it'.

"I am going to be recording with a producer in Glasgow to get it up to the standard it needs to be for a movie then I’m going to record an EP of songs mainly influenced from the times over these last 18 months.

"I’m hoping we see some light and I’ll be able to plan a release party for the EP."

A number of Falkirk acts are also on the bill for Vibration, including Primes who are returning as well for a second time out.

Last time, they played the second stage but will open the main stage this time around, armed with a handful of new tracks to play.

Sarah Monteith-Skelton, guitarist for the band, says: "We are buzzing to get back out there. We’ve just been quietly going about our business behind the scenes and getting prepared for what feels like our first show again.

"We were lucky enough to play on the second stage in 2019 and it will be an absolute honour to open the main stage in our hometown this September.

Primes will return again to Vibration this year as a main stage act

Primes will return again to Vibration this year as a main stage act

"Falkirk is our home; it’s where we met and where we were brought up," she continues. "There’s always been lots of great talent from our area and having a platform like Vibration brings a lot of attention to that.

"The line up is fantastic. The organisers deserve a lot of credit for not only bringing such amazing established acts to the festival but the line up is also filled with amazing local artists and gives them all a huge platform to showcase themselves.

"Having an opportunity like that on our doorstep is so important and one we will relish. I think you’ll start to see some amazing acts coming through from the Forth Valley area very soon."

Primes were busy through the pandemic as they released Moment and Shangri-La – both singles certainly making waves across the industry.

On playing the new tracks live, Monteith-Skelton says: "It’s been such a long time coming. It’s a strange feeling releasing a song and not being able to play it live.

"I am sure we will have plenty opportunities going forward and we will embrace them. We are really excited to have them both in our set and for people to hear them live at last."

She adds: "We were pondering about the idea of an EP this year, but, with the situation, it’s just not been possible.

"The wheels are in motion for a new single release, we don’t know the exact date yet, but it will be in the next couple of months. Another single release will follow.

"So, we are hoping to have at least two new tracks out by the end of the year. We are currently working on our live set, so if the new tracks are ready...who knows if they will debut at Vibration."

For tickets, priced at £25 (Friday), £35 (Saturday) or £49 (weekend), visit