New V&A in Dundee to give city ‘Hydro effect’

How the V&A will look in Dundee. Picture: Contributed
How the V&A will look in Dundee. Picture: Contributed
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Events supremo Pete Irvine believes Dundee’s V&A museum will have a similar impact on the city as Glasgow’s Hydro arena.

He says the “remaking” of Dundee is already well under way ahead of the opening of the £80 million attraction in 2018.

Irvine, who was behind the Dundee’s bid to become the 2017 UK City of Culture, in which it lost out to Hull, called on the city to capitalise on the V&A by instigating a programme of events to take place in the new £1 billion waterfront area.

Irvine’s new Scotland the Best guide charts the transformation of the Finnieston area of Glasgow since the Hydro opened in 2013.

He said: “I think there will be a very noticeable and probably remarkable V&A effect after it opens. For a long time Dundee didn’t really seem focused, but now it most definitely is.

“Dundee has got all the new developments happening on the waterfront, which are anchored around the V&A, it has two really good hotels now, it has a lot of decent restaurants and coffee shops. It’s all part of the remaking of Dundee.

“I’ve been involved in tourism and events for a long time. I completely understand that it is about the whole offering - the culture, the food and drink, and the atmosphere in a city centre.

“It is understood around the world now - in the Middle East they try to make that and buy it in on a grand scale.

“It is different in Scotland with our cities. I think we’re seeing that now in Dundee.

“What councils and others can try to engender is an event programme and reasons to bring people who then eat in the restaurants and they then feed off each other.

“I would think the V&A could have a similar effect to the Hydro.

“The Hydro is obviously a lot bigger, it can take 13,000 and is in use a great deal, not just for concerts, but sport as well.

“The V&A will obviously be mainly a daytime place. It is an attraction, rather than an event, but it will be a very strong one.”

Irvine he hoped many elements of the “unquestionably strong bid” his company Unique Events put together for Dundee’s city of culture post could be taken forward in future.

Dramatic sound and light shows around the city’s landmarks, outdoor concerts, street theatre spectaculars, blockbuster exhibitions and large-scale theatre shows were all envisaged for next year.

The proposed £25 million programme - which featured more than 80 events - was predicted to attract 1.7 million, generate some £80 million for the city’s economy and create more than 1000 jobs.

Irvine added: “I’ve already done a report for Dundee on the events space that is being built between the Caird Hall and the V&A.

“I’ve proposed a whole range of events, from markets to open-air concerts and exhibitions under tented structures, working with the V&A. I would hope some of those would actually take place.

“When all the elements of the waterfront regeneration come into place and interact with one another then you’ve got a real destination and lot of reasons to go to Dundee.”