The Bay City Rollers, the Scottish pop-rock band known as the “tartan teen sensations from Edinburgh,” were a 1970s musical phenomenon. The band has sold more than 120 million records worldwide, making them one of the best-selling artists of all time. Continuing the tradition of frenzied fandom is the Bay City Rollers Fan Events club, returning to the NYC Tartan Day Parade this year on April 15.
Founded in the 1990s after various Bay City Rollers fans discovered each other on a new thing called the Internet, the group is thrilled to be marching in the parade for its second consecutive year. Of its 1,000-plus members worldwide, more than 100 will take part from the U.S., Canada, the U.K., several parts of Europe, and Australia. “We’re so excited to be participating in the 25th anniversary of Tartan Day. What a milestone!” says Laura Brady, team lead for the Bay City Rollers Fan Events Tartan Day Parade committee. “We’re sure to be the most colorful unit in the parade,” she says. That’s a bold claim, especially if you’ve had the chance to marvel at the impressive display of radiant tartans throughout the parade. Will the prediction come true? You’ll have to come and see.
Below, we talk tartans, Roller gear, favorite songs, and more.
NYC Tartan Week: Tell us what it’s like to go to Scotland as a literal card-carrying fan of the Bay City Rollers.
Bay City Rollers Fan Events: Whenever we’re in Scotland, just mentioning the band’s name to any local, you are guaranteed a story or connection, from postmen to teachers to taxi drivers to pub owners. Everyone in Scotland knows the Bay City Rollers.
Tartans are obviously of significance to the band and to your group. What’s your plan for this year’s Tartan Day parade?
This year our unit will be wearing their Roller gear — tartans that represent their favorite band member. Each member of the band’s lineup had a tartan typically associated with him. So depending on who your favorite Roller was, you’d wear the one associated with him. Last year we all wore the Proud Son of Edinburgh tartan. This was a tartan created in memory Alan Longmuir, one of the band’s founding members. Our logo depicts the tartan associated with the “classic five” lineup:
Royal Stewart – guitarist Eric Faulkner
MacBeth – bassist Alan Longmuir
Dress Campbell – drummer Derek Longmuir
Dress Stewart – singer Les McKeown
Dress MacLeod – guitarist Stuart Wood
What are some of the members’ favorite Bay City Rollers songs?
Naturally, the big hits, “Saturday Night,” “Shang-a-Lang,” “Remember,” and “Bye, Bye, Baby” are favorites. That said, there are so many lovely songs to choose from. They had 13+ studio releases! [Laura’s personal favorite is “The Bump,” and club member Suz loves “Money Honey” and “Rock and Roll Love Letter.”]
Your group meets in Scotland for events; what are some of the big ones?
Several events surrounding our love for the Bay City Rollers have taken place in Edinburgh, Stirling, and Hawick. We like to get together as often as possible. Our next big event is happening in Edinburgh in October 2024, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Bay City Rollers first album, Rollin’. Information about past and future events can be found on our website, BayCityRollersFanEvents.com.
What activities does your group plan to enjoy when visiting New York for Tartan Week?
All the usual sightseeing destinations are high on the lists for first-timers coming to New York. Some of us are planning on seeing a show on Broadway, a trip to the Today show, and, of course, enjoying the NYC Tartan Week events, too!
You can hear the Bay City Rollers Fan Events group on air every Friday night, when they host a four-hour show dedicated to their favorite band on TD1 Radio in Scotland, from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Eastern Time. Listen here.
_ _ _ _ _
“Through friends met in the Bay City Roller Fan Events group, we will be travelling to NY from all over the world to join in. I’m travelling from Ireland.” Mary McNally, Letterkenny, Ireland
“I’m incredibly excited to be marching in the Tartan Week parade with Bay City Rollers Fan Events. First, to celebrate the lifelong friendships formed as a result of the Bay City Rollers. Second, to represent a band that doesn’t get the respect it deserves in the music industry; the Bay City Rollers introduced so many people to wonderful music and to Scotland. Finally, I’m also very proud to be able to walk in the parade in honor of my Scottish ancestors.” Julie Wallace, Mount Pleasant, Michigan
“I’m really looking forward to participating in the Tartan Week Parade again this year. Last year was so much fun! The crowds were so welcoming, and our group had a blast. What a great event!” Debbie Eves, Wallingford, Connecticut