Glasgow-based Itison channelling £4m into reviving flagship events

Glaswegian deals and events company Itison is investing £4 million to bring back two flagship events to the city, saying the move will boost the local economy by nearly four times that amount and create hundreds of jobs.

The organisation is reviving Halloween light show GlasGLOW and ice rink Elfingrove, and expects that the investment will create 300 jobs over the winter and contribute an estimated £14m to the local area.

Itison said GlasGLOW, which takes place in the city’s Botanic Gardens, is now the largest Halloween event in the UK and the biggest sound and light show in Scotland.

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The group added that the event gives the area an estimated £6m economic boost, driving tens of thousands of visitors, nearly two thirds of whom are local, into the surrounding bars, restaurants, shops and hotels, with some said to see it as a second Christmas trading period.

GlasGLOW, Itison says, was first conceived in 2010, but took until 2018 to fund and bring to life, and it creates 150 positions across creative and production, as well as engaging with more than 100 predominantly Scottish suppliers including local makers, artists and designers.

Meanwhile Elfingrove, originally founded in 2019, returned in 2021 to Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum with what Itison says is Scotland’s biggest bespoke ice rink, and inspired by the one at the Rockefeller Center in New York.

The Elfingrove rink was commissioned by iSkate – the company behind Skate at Somerset House and Dancing on Ice – with a fully covered clear roof and open sides, attracting more than 100,000 skaters.

The firm is behind ice rink Elfingrove, which returned last year to Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum. Picture: contributed.

Itison chief executive and GlasGLOW founder Oli Norman said: “Over the past two years, the event sector has been decimated by Covid – now we’re facing soaring supply-chain costs, the cost-of-living crisis and the steepest energy hikes we’ve seen in our lifetime.

“We firmly believe, though, that people need things to look forward to – the darker nights, cold weather and uncertain economic and political climate have a heavy impact on our emotional and mental wellbeing. These events light up our city and bring people together, creating joyful experiences – making them all the more important.

Spectacular

“The theme for this year’s GlasGLOW is still under wraps – the idea came to me when I was on the Isle of Skye with family which might give a clue away – but I’m excited to bring both events back more spectacular than ever before.”

Meanwhile, Itison also said its Pumpkin Fund, created in 2019, will also return for 2022 – and will be donating 1,000 tickets to good causes around the city, and funding a local project.

The group added that its work to support the community also includes donating a 16 seater minibus to Highpark Primary LCR in Ruchill and £15,000 to create a new sensory room, called The Glow Room, at East Park in Maryhill that supports children with complex needs. Additionally, £10,000 has been pledged to help improve the Children’s Garden within the Botanics.

Itison was founded in 2010 focusing on the premium deals space, but says it has become one of Scotland’s biggest major event-producers, now with 80 staff, while it expanded into England in 2015.

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