Brian Ferguson: Live music comes to Glasgow’s rescue

One Direction will play a part in the event. Picture: Gareth Easton
One Direction will play a part in the event. Picture: Gareth Easton
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IT IS less than a month since the Red Road flats public relations disaster was brought to a halt by the organisers of Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games.

I would imagine there is a great deal of lingering anxiety about what information to release into the public domain, and when, ahead of the opening ceremony, in the wake of the backlash and subsequent climbdown over the demolition. Another PR meltdown over the Games is about the last thing the city and the Scottish Government needs.

Yet who would have predicted this time last month – when the campaign against the tower blocks stunt was getting up a head of steam – that the likes of One Direction, Lily Allen, Katy Perry and Tinie Tempah would be set to ride to the rescue of the city’s publicity dreams and aspirations for this summer of summers?

Of course, they have not been drafted into the opening ceremony at Celtic Park – at far as we know – but they are about to provide Glasgow with priceless exposure. They are among the acts visiting the city this month for what is billed as Europe’s biggest free live music event, unfolding across two days at Glasgow Green.

Radio 1’s Big Weekend, which the station says is coming to Glasgow to “celebrate” its hosting of the Commonwealth Games, will be the climax of two weeks of one-off BBC events in the city – ahead of another extended visit in July and August just before and during the Games.

The line-up of artists confirmed so far, and growing almost on a daily basis, is more than a match for other UK festivals this summer. As if the Glasgow Green event was not enough, the Riverside Museum and George Square will be hosting huge urban and dance music events respectively.

Before any of this gets under way, Biffy Clyro, Emeli Sandé, Rita Ora, Kevin Bridges, Nina Nesbitt and Sir Richard Branson will be among those taking part in a week of live shows, workshops and masterclasses.

And come the Commonwealth Games, the BBC will be setting up a pop-up arena, featuring major indoor and outdoor venues, where more than 70 special broadcasts and events will be staged.

Still Game’s stars, Simple Minds, Texas, Paloma Faith, Steve Earle and Amy Macdonald are confirmed already, along with author Janice Galloway and stunt cyclist Danny MacAskill.

The most remarkable thing of all is the people of Glasgow, and those from elsewhere lucky enough to land tickets, will not actually have to pay to attend, as all events are free, though they are, of course, bankrolled by licence-fee payers.

It remains to be seen if other events, like T in the Park, will benefit or not from the impact of this bonanza.