Damning T in the Park dossier threatens to cancel 2016 event

The main stage at T in the Park's new Strathallan site last year. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

The main stage at T in the Park's new Strathallan site last year. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

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COUNCIL chiefs are threatening to pull the plug on T in the Park in the wake of widespread chaos at last year’s event.

Senior officials at Perth & Kinross Council have warned they will not allow T in the Park to be staged again at the Strathallan Estate unless there is a total overhaul of the event.

The Libertines play T in the Park last year at Strathallan. Picture: Greg Macvean

The Libertines play T in the Park last year at Strathallan. Picture: Greg Macvean

A damning dossier has revealed the full scale of problems, including traffic congestion, concerns over crowd safety inside the arena and campsite security, and disruption to residents.

It has cast a major doubt over whether the authority will allow the event to go ahead again at Strathallan – even though thousands of tickets have been sold. The council report said confidence in promoters DF Concerts had been “undermined”.

Environment director Barbara Renton said although the council had taken a “can do approach” to major events, it was appropriate for T in the Park to be treated differently “until DF can demonstrate their capability to effectively manage this event in future.”

Festival director Geoff Ellis, initially declared the event had a “great first year at Strathallan,” but later apologised for “challenges that we know impacted upon the weekend.”

The council has now reported a string of organisational blunders, including last-minute changes to the event’s layout, infrastructure, transport plans and security arrangements, as well as repeated breaches of the event’s planning permission.

Plans were said to have been changed to cut costs, stewards lacked “basic knowledge” about the site, and transport arrangements “failed” each day, with hundreds left to walk along narrow country roads. Police Scotland reported a “significant increase” in violent incidents at the 2015 event, while the council said there were widespread reports of “a higher sense of uneasiness” from members of the public and council staff.

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The council report has been published days after DF Concerts revealed two former police officers had been hired as troubleshooters. Colin Brown and Ian Martin, who have both previously worked at T in the Park, will be in charge of security and traffic management if the event secures a new licence.

The dossier warns there is a risk “the event will not be allowed to proceed” unless comprehensive plans are provided on time and strict planning conditions are met by DF.

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Ms Renton said: “Council staff will need substantial reassurances and evidence from DF that detailed plans will be prepared on time, and the event will be delivered more effectively, before officers could have confidence in recommending it takes place at Strathallan again.

“Officers had a high degree of confidence in DF Concerts and expected that organisers could manage fundamental event requirements such as stewarding and signage. This confidence has been undermined following management of TITP 2015. There requires to be a recalibration of the relationship with DF Concerts”

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