SOMETIME last Saturday afternoon, the popular Celtic rock group Mànran tweeted to their seven-thousand-plus followers: “Our first ever stadium show. It might not be Wembley but Broadwood Stadium is a mighty fine start.” The accompanying photograph showed the six-piece band on the stage, their arms around each other.

It turns out that this was not only Mànran’s first stadium show, it was the stadium’s first show, as well. For one night only, the Cumbernauld venue, home to Clyde FC for the last 28 years, was turned into an outdoor music gig. Broadwood: Live by the Loch, it was called. There were three acts: Dougie MacLean was the opener, followed by Mànran and then, shortly after nine o’clock, after an hour or so of steady rain, the headliners, the Red Hot Chilli Pipers. Làn Chomais, a Gaelic rock/traditional band from the local Greenfaulds High School, also played a couple of sets.

By the end of the night - 11pm, or thereabouts - MacLean, Mànran and the Pipers had done a mass version of MacLean’s anthem, Caledonia, and the 2,000 fans went home happy. Those who had patiently stood in front of the stage, rather than sitting in the covered stands, had got the worst of the rain, but didn’t seem to mind too much. And within moments the organisers, North Lanarkshire Leisure, were tweeting that the event would return next year, “even bigger and better.”

Could this be the start of something for Cumbernauld? The aim is that Broadwood will now go on to host further high-profile concerts. It has been tried nearby: Falkirk FC’s stadium has seen concerts by Elton John, Status Quo and Tom Jones, amongst others, while Elton played Airdrie FC’s Excelsior Stadium a year ago this month. As an academic, Dr Stephen Bowman, wrote approvingly on Twitter: “It’s easy to do down #Cumbernauld but full credit to everyone associated with #LivebytheLoch ... Exactly the sort of the kind of thing the town needs and deserves.”

The stadium was effectively divided in two for the show, one half remaining cordoned off while the other half was given over to the staging, lighting and PA system, the standing fans and the food stalls. The leisure centre at one end of Broadwood had become a hospitality centre, with communal changing rooms being turned into dressing-rooms for the musicians.

“This all goes back to a Facebook message I got at the back end of January from Gerry McMahon at NL Leisure,” said Gary Innes, accordionist with Mànran, in a dressing-room strewn with clothes and musical instruments. “He said, look, we’ve got the Gaelic school out here, and we want to put on a music event but we don’t know who to speak to or what to do, could you come out here for a meeting?”

So Innes met them, and they told him that what they wanted to do was to stage a music festival. He drew on his contacts in the industry, assembled a bill, went back to NL Leisure and got it approved. “They’ve got a great team and they have worked their socks off to get the stadium,” he said. “But when you think about it, the show was signed off only in March, and the turnaround since then has been quite remarkable. A lot of hard work has gone into this.

“NL Leisure asked if we could give them acts that could sell tickets, bring in the numbers. We knew Dougie was celebrating 40 years of Caledonia and, national treasure that he is, he was an easy fit. The Pipers have a worldwide appeal. Two of them lived in Cumbernauld for many years, so they feel this is kind of a homecoming gig. It’s also part of their 15-year celebration of the band.

“The nice thing that NL Leisure is really keen on is building on that local connection with the community and giving them something that they can look forward to and be part of,” Innes adds. “They acknowledge that there’s not an awful lot here [in cultural terms]. In terms of a sports facility it’s brilliant but outwith that there’s not an awful lot for the community to do, so if they can add to that each year by putting on a musical event, then it’s great for the community and the stadium. “

“This is a really heavily populated bit of the country,” adds his colleague Ewen Henderson, “and a lot of it are families, and young families, who are quite often cut out of a lot of the cultural spectrum in terms of being able to go to events.” Innes added that NL Leisure was already looking forward to next year and trying to get a big headliner in, backed by a solid 10 months of pre-publicity.

Kevin MacDonald is one of the three bagpipers in the Red Hot Chilli Pipers, who fuse trad Scots music with such rock and pop hits as Queen’s We Will Rock You and Snow Patrol’s Chasing Cars (“bagrock”, they call it), and who play 200 shows every year. “We’ve known Gary for a number of years and he asked us if we could be on the second of June,” he says. “We were meant to be in Germany today but the event was cancelled, so it has worked out great for us.

“It’s also quite nice in that both [piper] Willie [Armstrong] and I, the two founding members, both lived in Cumbernauld. I went to Greenfaulds High School and that’s where I met Willie. He still stays here.

“The biggest thing on a personal side that I’ve noticed about Cumbernauld, because I came from a small community in Aberdeen before coming down here, is that, unfortunately, it suffers from a lack of different communities, because it’s seen as a commuter town between Edinburgh and Glasgow. Even when I was growing up here, if you wanted a night out you went to Glasgow or you went to Edinburgh. Unfortunately it has never built up a proper community-type spirit where people can come along. Clyde have been in the football stadium here some 24, 25 years ago and it’s great to see that NLL is now trying to bring events [like the concert] here.”

Rain had been threatening for a couple of hours before the show. The atmosphere is muggy, and the crowd is still in the process of arriving, when Làn Chomais open proceedings. Dougie MacLean, who has travelled with his wife Jenny from Perthshire to be here, plays songs old and new, and gets the audience going as he has been doing for years now. He teasingly alludes to, but doesn’t actually name, what is probably his best-known song. That, it seems, is for later.

Mànran play an engaging, boisterous set and win a lot of new fans in the process. Gary Innes, who has put the bill together, and who won the Instrumentalist of the Year title at last December’s Scots Trad Music Awards, suffers a mishap, however, for the first time in his professional career: he raises his arms, and his accordion strap breaks. He has to disappear for a few minutes to borrow an accordion from Làn Chomais.

The food and drink stalls have been doing solid business throughout the night, and finally it’s the turn of the Red Hot Chilli Pipers, complete with their energetic dancers, Rachel and Eilidh. Amazing Grace is one of their early songs but it’s the rock covers that really get the fans dancing, some of them managing to dance as they clutch umbrellas and pints of beer. And at some point during the set, Clare Adamson, the SNP MSP for Motherwell & Wishaw, who is present, spots a “very young lady” in the act of flossing. “Respect,” she tweets.

Back in the Mànran dressing-room, bottles of wine have been opened, and the general opinion is that the night has gone rather well. Kevin Rodgers, a Gaelic teacher at Greenfaulds had earlier spoken of his delight at how Làn Chomais’s sets have gone. The teenagers - Craig Yule, Ava MacKinnon, Jessica Muir and Emily Robertson (a fifth, Eilidh Millar, was unable to make it) - were, he said, “all as high as kites, absolutely. It’s been a brilliant experience, ever since they came here for a soundcheck at four o’clock.”

Outside again: darkness has fallen, and the kilted Pipers are bringing their set to a close. It’s been a good one: you can see why they’ve played sell-out tours across the world, and why their fans include Ewan McGregor, Sir Paul McCartney, the Scottish rugby team, the Queen and Samuel L Jackson, to quote from the band’s website. And then, as a final act, all the musicians crowd onto the stage to sing Caledonia, the audience lustily singing along.

Graeme Morrison, operations and business development manager at NL Leisure, and one of the event organisers, said the concert had been delivered over a relatively short timescale, compared to the time it would normally take to organise and promoting an event of this size. “While the day itself was very long, it was incredibly rewarding and exhilarating to see so many people enjoying the show. We’re already talking about next year. We feel we’re in a privileged position to be able to put something like this on for the community. Because everybody praised it so much, despite the bad weather, we owe the audience and the community this, to put it on again next year. We’re open to working in partnership with big promoters, but what we’ve absolutely demonstrated with Saturday is we’re capable of putting on our own events.

“This is a legacy event for us,” he added. “I want people to be talking about Broadwood: Live by the Loch in twenty years’ time.”