Clutha Bar legacy heads north to the Highlands

A lasting legacy of the Clutha Bar tragedy is to be the launching of a new music venue in the Highlands – with the aim to discover emerging Scottish talent.

The Clutha Bar tragedy killed 10 people.
The Clutha Bar tragedy killed 10 people.

The disaster saw 10 people killed when a police helicopter crashed into the popular Glasgow pub two years ago.

In the wake of the accident, a trust was set up by Clutha owner Alan Crossan with the view to build something positive out of the terrible tragedy.

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Venues across the Highland capital of Inverness are now being scouted as potential locations for a new venture by the charitable trust.

Floral tributes were left from members of the public.

Mr Crossan, 59, who created the trust in memory of the victims, said: “What happened in the Clutha was a weird thing to happen in a pub – it’s very hard to comprehend a helicopter crashing into a pub.

“Following the tragedy everyone wanted to raise money and help those affected by the accident, and the Clutha Trust, has evolved out of that.

“We don’t want it centred on Glasgow – we want to spread it out and Inverness is a great place.”

The trust is not only seeking a new music venue, but want to arrange major concerts at the Caley Thistle Stadium, with The Who a possible future act.

The wreckage of the police helicopter is removed from The Clutha pub.

They are also in talks with Eden Court Theatre in a bid to attract major acts to the north.

But the main focus is a new pub, to mimic the newly opened Clutha Bar.

Mr Crossan said: “We have got our eyes on a few buildings at the moment which could work as a Clutha bar and I hope things will take off pretty quickly.

“The purpose of the bar would be as a community hub, to keep people employed and to get youngsters up there on the stage.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon attends the opening of the Clutha Bar earlier this year.

“This isn’t about me personally giving a kid a guitar and saying there you go. Clutha looks at the bigger picture.

“There are so many brilliant youth community groups out there and for whatever reason they can’t achieve their goals.

“Maybe they don’t have the space or the money or they simply didn’t know that this sort of help could be available to them

“We can bring people in and say this is how we do it and coming to Inverness will hopefully help us harness everything.

“There are areas of deprivations everywhere and this is a real opportunity to make Clutha a success elsewhere.”

He added: “It would be a good live music venue and we could try and get bands up from Glasgow and get Inverness on the circuit.

“We’d like to do something like a concert with The Who at Caley Thistle Stadium. We have close contacts in the music industry in Glasgow.

“It’s something to look at and if we can get something on at Caley Thistle Stadium it would be great. Obviously we need to look into the logistics of it and there would be a lot to sort out. We are in talks with both Caley Thistle Stadium and Eden Court.”

A spokesman for the Clutha Trust added: “This is 100% going ahead. We are just looking for the right venue.

“We are thinking of launching a scheme called Fiddles for Life, which is in line with our current project Guitars for Life. Basically we ask people to donate their instruments, and anyone wanting to learn to play can come along to lessons with a professional tutor who we will pay for.

“The whole idea is to give youngsters opportunities that they wouldn’t usually have.

“The project is a not-for-profit scheme which could discover new Scottish talen.”

The original Clutha Bar was renowned for giving musicians a chance to perform. It reopened at the end of July after a major redevelopment following the disaster.

Seven customers and three people aboard the helicopter lost their lives in the crash on 29 November, 2013.