TRNSMT organisers want green light within weeks and call for Scotland to have similar rules for festivals as England

The TRNSMT festival is due to be staged on Glasgow Green in July. Picture: Gaelle BeriThe TRNSMT festival is due to be staged on Glasgow Green in July. Picture: Gaelle Beri
The TRNSMT festival is due to be staged on Glasgow Green in July. Picture: Gaelle Beri
Organisers of Scotland’s biggest music festival want the green light within weeks for it to go ahead this summer as well as assurances it will not be affected by cross-border travel restrictions.

TRNSMT director Geoff Ellis suggested Scotland has to have similar rules for the staging of major events as England.

He said several sectors of the Scottish economy were “crying out” for a detailed road map for the easing of restrictions over the next few months after a detailed timetable was set up by the UK Government.

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Festivals south of the border have seen a huge surge in ticket sales since Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement on Monday that restrictions on large-scale events and “social contact” were hoped to be lifted by 21 June.

The chief executive of DF Concerts said he could not afford to wait any longer than the middle of March, when First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is due to provide details of when restrictions are hoped to be eased over the spring and summer.

The Leeds, Reading and Latitude festivals are among the events to have confirmed they are pressing ahead with full-scale events this summer.

Although Ms Sturgeon told the Scottish Parliament that the country’s strict lockdown measures were set to be "significantly” eased after the end of April, no further dates were given for the return of live events or mass gatherings, which have been completely banned in Scotland since last March.

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland, Mr Ellis said: “We are planning to go ahead as we have been once the conditions are safe to do so.

“We were told we wouldn’t hear anything until the end of February. We’ve been patiently waiting, as have all event organisers.

“The announcement from the Prime Minister caught everyone out by surprise. There is now huge positivity in England – festivals have literally sold tens of thousands of tickets in the last couple of days.

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"But we are not hearing anything at all about post-April in Scotland.

"It’s not just the events industry that needs to know. Tourism, travel, airports and city centres are all crying out for a road map.

“The First Minister has said we will have to wait three weeks for that, but we have to think it can’t be that different to what has been announced for England. It has to be fairly similar.

"We are biding our time at the moment. We’ve seen a spike in sales as confidence has come back. In three weeks time we’ll hopefully have that road map and we will all be able to plan to return to non socially-distanced events.”

Liam Gallagher, Lewis Capaldi, the Courteeners, Ian Brown, Twin Atlantic, Snow Patrol and Amy Macdonald have all been booked to appear at TRNSMT.

Mr Ellis added: “The news from England has been really encouraging. The vaccine roll-out has been going really well in Scotland. We have to have positivity.

"But we need some information. We can't wait any longer than three weeks because of the planning that’s involved in the festival.

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“We need to know there’s not going to be social distancing and that people can travel between England and Scotland, and between different parts of Scotland. We’re sure that will be the case but we need to know that will be the case.”

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