The permanent loss of Scotland’s biggest music festival, T in the Park, will be “a victory for neds and nimbys”, according to one of the nation’s leading music promoters.
Donald MacLeod, organiser of the Scottish Music Awards, said the country will be reduced to a “cultural backwater” if it is left without a major live music event.
We have a massive social problem if we are the only country in western Europe with musical heritage that does not or cannot do an event like thisDonald MacLeod, music promoter
The founder of promoters CPL said its demise would be “a terrible blow” to Scotland’s live entertainment industry.
But he said he was not surprised its organisers had decided to rest the event due to a “tidal wave” of problems in recent years.
And he admitted the country needed to address wider social issues which T in the Park’s organisers could not tackle on their own.
T in the Park’s promoters DF Concerts and its long-time sponsors, Tennent’s Lager, admitted they “need to take a break” from the event last week due to “challenges” involved in staging at over the last couple of years at Strathallan, in Perthshire.
They have blamed the forced relocation of the festival from Balado, in Kinross-shire, in 2015, and restrictions over the use of the new site due to the presence of ospreys for the cancellation of the festival.
Glasgow City Council has confirmed it is in talks with DF Concerts about the staging of a new festival in the city next summer, but fans will not be able to camp at the site if the event gets the go-ahead.
Breaking his silence on the event’s future at the weekend, DF Concerts boss Geoff Ellis said he was “determined” to bring T in the Park back.
He admitted the event had been hit by “a really difficult few years” since it was targeted by the Health and Safety Executive over concerns about an oil pipeline running underneath the site at Balado.
The deaths of three festival-goers overshadowed this year’s festival, which was also hit by bad weather, dwindling ticket sales and reports of anti-social behaviour problems at its campsite.
Police Scotland later revealed that 429 crimes had been reported at the festival in 2016, compared with 414 the previous year, despite efforts to improve security.
Mr MacLeod said: “It wasn’t really a surprise to hear T won’t be happening next year.
“I know Geoff very well and we’ve been talking about it.
“There were issues and problems with it, they just kept coming, it was like a tidal wave. This year it felt a bit like King Canute trying to holding back the sea.
“It would be a terrible blow to the music scene in Scotland if it was not replaced. If something else doesn’t come along we will look like a cultural backwater. The neds and the nimbys will have won.
“There are lots of dangers out there for festivals, like the rising costs of policing and security, but you’ve got to go underneath that to realise it is about society. We have a massive social problem if we are the only country in western Europe with musical heritage that does not or cannot do an event like this on that scale.
“I don’t know if T in the Park will come back, but taking stock is a good idea.”