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Pool party: Were you there when Wet Wet Wet performed at Tarlair?

Thousands of fans gathered to watch Runrig and Wet Wet Wet perform at Tarlair in 1994.
Thousands of fans gathered to watch Runrig and Wet Wet Wet perform at Tarlair in 1994.

Dancing replaced diving when Scots chart-toppers Wet Wet Wet performed in the sunshine at Tarlair outdoor swimming pool in 1994.

And it was anything but wet as 7,000 people packed into the unusual coastal concert venue to watch Marti Pellow and his band as part of Tarlair Music Festival.

But the same couldn’t be said for fans of Runrig who shivered and squelched their way through the headline act the previous day.

Rain or shine – the concert which saw Pellow and his fellow pop heart-throbs descend into Macduff by helicopter – has become part of local legend.

It was a soggy Saturday in June 1994 for Celtic rock band Runrig’s performance against the backdrop of Tarlair’s craggy cliffs.

The driving rain and crashing waves only added to the atmosphere and did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of fans.

Although the outdoor pool hosted bands in previous years, Tarlair Music Festival was truly established as a major rock event in 1994.

Led by Donnie Munro, crowd-pleasers Runrig brightened up a wet evening as 5,000 people packed into the emptied pool – and lined nearby grassy banks – to dance the night away.

Runrig were supported by The Blazing Apostles, Velvetead, Jerry Jablonski and John Martyn in what was an ambitious gamble by organisers.

The less-than-favourable forecast leading up to the event had been a concern.

But Scots are made of stern stuff, and accommodation was sold out in Macduff and surrounding communities on the Moray Firth as fans thronged to the coast.

And the fans swayed and sang in unison as Runrig concluded their storming performance with an anthemic version of Loch Lomond.

A gig review described Tarlair as “one of the most stunning concert venues in Britain”.

But added, dryly: “In good weather you would not want to be anywhere else than the natural amphitheatre with its curving walls of towering cliffs … in bad weather you would want to be anywhere else.”

Come Sunday, a surprise heatwave transformed the event’s fortunes, ironically just in time for Wet Wet Wet to take their star turn at Tarlair.

The pop sensations arrived by helicopter and were rushed towards a waiting minibus, but stopped to meet and greet a mob of waiting fans.

A crowd of more than 7,000 turned out to see band fresh from their 15-week marathon chart success with their cover of The Troggs’ Love is All Around.

Many more ticketless punters packed onto the surrounding cliffs to watch the long-haired, swaggering Marti Pellow and his men in action.

Spotting the clifftop crowd, Pellow pointed and teased: “What’s the story with this mob at the back there?

“Have yous bought tickets, all of you standing at the back?”

Photo by Richard Young/Shutterstock

The crowd went wild as Pellow “was at his grinning, suggestive best, thumb jammed into the belt of his tight black trousers, his fine voice soaring as he strutted”.

Backed by a brass band, Wet Wet Wet belted out hits including Temptation and Wishing Well, and the Scots lads also played a bit of The Beatles and Bob Marley’s Jammin’.

As the sun set on the Moray Firth and Tarlair’s musical extravaganza, Wet Wet Wet performed two encores.

The reviewer applauded the “flawless set” and added that Pellow “could do no wrong for his admirers – just shaking his long hair out of its ponytail brought another roar from the crowd”.

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This article originally appeared on the Evening Express website. For more information, read about our new combined website.

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