THE organisers of T in the Park have vowed to revive a controversial series of gigs in one of Glasgow’s main public parks - despite dozens of arrests and complaints over crime and disorder when the event was launched last year.
American rock band The Killers have been confirmed as the first headliners for this year’s Glasgow Summer Sessions at Bellahouston Park, which will once again have a capacity of 35,000.
It is thought up to five events will be held at the park this August, despite a litany of problems being reported at the three events that were held last year, including drug-dealing, violence, sexual assaults and anti-social behaviour.
Organisers pointed out only a “small minority” were to blame for problems at last year’s shows, which attracted around 100,000 people, but insisted they would be taking on board feedback from the “robust” post-event discussions and debrief meetings that had taken place.
According to Police Scotland, some 74 arrests were made in and around the event arena on the days of the three shows headlined by Swedish DJ Avicii, rapper Eminem and rock outfit Kings of Leon.
Some residents near the beauty spot in the city’s south side complained about drunken fans stumbling in and out of their gardens, vomiting and urinating. There were also dozens of complaints about noise disruption from the concerts, including around 30 from Eminem’s show alone.
Police and council chiefs, who were urged to ban any future events at the park following last year’s mayhem, have given their backing to promoters DF Concerts to return to Bellahouston this year. But they have pledged to consult fully with the local community to allow residents to have their say on the planning of the event and minimise any disruption.
Emergency talks had to be held after the second event, headlined by Avicii, to try to calm angry residents, only for more trouble to flare at the Eminem gig, including two alleged sexual assaults and an alleged attack on a fan walking home from the show.
Huge demand is expected for tickets to see The Killers in action on 19 August, with DF Concerts booking the band again after they closed T in the Park to huge acclaim last year. They will be supported at Bellahouston by English indie rock outfit The Courteeners and Miles Kane of Arctic Monkeys side project The Last Shadow Puppets.
DF’s chief executive Geoff Ellis said: “We have some more big acts and dates to announce over the next few months, so once again Glasgow Summer Sessions will be one of the hottest tickets of the summer.”
A spokeswoman for the promoters added: “The majority of the 100,000 people attending Glasgow Summer Sessions last year were extremely well behaved and enjoyed the concerts.
“However, as with any major outdoor music or sporting event, a small minority of people did cause some problems.
“We have worked closely with Glasgow City Council, Police Scotland and local community representatives since the event’s inception and local liaison included several meetings with councillors and community councillors, and distributing letters detailing plans for the event.
“We also had a dedicated phone line in place in the run-up to, during and after the events. This is not a requirement but an approach we adopt as the organisers of some of the country’s biggest and best events, as we deem it best practice. This allows us to handle any issues immediately and on the ground. Each call was dealt with immediately and on a case by case basis.
“After any inaugural event you seek to make improvements, taking on board stakeholder feedback. We had an appropriate and robust debrief with the police and local community representatives. Points raised will be taken on board and used to improve the event experience for concert-goers and the local community.
“This is a huge year for the city and Glasgow Summer Sessions will be one of the key events of the year. We are committed to making sure the festival continues to benefit Glasgow and showcases one of our most beautiful public parks to the world.”
A spokesman for Glasgow City Council said: “The Glasgow Summer Sessions were a successful and well-attended series of events last year.
“The council hosted a community debrief event after last year’s concerts to gain feedback from the local community. This year, we are holding early and extensive consultations with local community representatives to allow input to the planning stages of the event.”
A spokeswoman for Police Scotland added: “There have been meetings in relation to the forthcoming concerts and we will be working closely with the city council and organisers to ensure that they are managed appropriately, with minimum disruption to the local community.”
Tickets for The Killers show at Bellahouston Park go on sale on Friday.