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Belladrum introduces parking charge to cut traffic

Organisers of Scotland’s Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival are introducing a car parking charge for next year’s 20th anniversary in a bid to ease traffic congestion after the 2023 event was marred by lengthy delays.

The Inverness-based event, owned by DEAG’s Kilimanjaro Live, is the Highlands’ biggest music festival and starred acts including Travis, Bastille, Sam Ryder, Sigrid, KT Tunstall, The Zutons, Pale Waves and Kiefer Sutherland from 27-29 July.

More than 25,000 tickets were sold for this year’s festival, but wet weather and large numbers of motorists arriving early was blamed for long queues, with reported traffic delays of up to five hours to get into the site.

However, with tickets for next year’s edition going on sale this Friday (18 August), promoters have announced they are taking action in a bid to avoid a repeat.

“We are re-introducing car park passes, which must be booked in advance”

“Those caught up in the traffic on the Thursday this year will hopefully be pleased to hear that we are re-introducing car park passes, which must be booked in advance,” says a website post. “This will encourage more car sharing, manage the car park capacities and speed up entry to the festival. You will have the opportunity to select the car park most convenient for where you want to camp. A window sticker will be sent to your home address in advance to ensure you are directed to the correct car park.

“Vehicle passes will cost £12 per vehicle. The profit from the sale of these passes will be used to benefit the local communities. Full details will be announced in coming months following consultations with community groups.”

Belladrum’s return is set for 25-27 July 2024.

 


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Five-hour traffic delays at Belladrum Tartan Heart

Scotland’s Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival has apologised for traffic delays of up to five hours to get into the site.

Organisers said wet weather and large numbers of people arriving early had resulted in the long queues.

The Inverness-based event, owned by DEAG’s Kilimanjaro Live, is the Highlands’ biggest music festival.

More than 25,000 tickets were sold for this year’s event, which took place between 27–29 July, marking an increase in last year’s sales.

The festival site on the Belladrum Estate is around a 30-minute drive from Inverness but on social media, festivalgoers said they had waited for up to five hours and even longer to reach car parks or drop-off.

“We had a very large number of people arrive early and we believe that this, along with the wet weather, was the cause of the long queues”

Some drivers turned around while others set off to walk to the site – something Belladrum’s organisers urged people not to do for safety reasons.

“We are incredibly disappointed by the traffic issues that so many festival-goers and local people experienced today,” said organisers.

“We have used the same routes, the same traffic management and parking companies and the same number of police officers in the same locations.

“We had a very large number of people arrive early and we believe that this, along with the wet weather this morning, was the cause of the long queues which then continued throughout the day.”

The organisers said they would seek to avoid a similar situation next year, Belladrum’s 20th birthday year.

 


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No date for return of live entertainment in Scotland

Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon declined to set a date for the return of non-socially distanced live entertainment in her rival ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown, presented today (16 March).

Unlike south of the border, where British prime minister Boris Johnson (the de facto leader of England, the UK’s biggest nation not having its own devolved administration) has set 21 June as the provisional date for a return to normality, Sturgeon said that while it is possible Scotland could be at ‘level zero’ (little or no restrictions) by the end of June, “it is not possible to provide specific dates or details” that far ahead.

Under the first minister’s timetable, stay-at-home (lockdown) orders will be lifted on 2 April, with other services, including hairdressers and garden centres, able to open from 5 April. Further easing expected on 26 April includes allowing people to socialise outside and hospitality businesses to reopen outdoors for alcohol service, and “potentially” indoors for non-alcoholic drinks and food.

From 17 May, it is hoped “small-scale”, capacity-limited events, both indoor and outdoor, will be able to resume, pending the successful continuation of the UK’s vaccine roll-out.

“I do believe that over the coming weeks as more and more adults are vaccinated it will be possible to set a firmer date”

“It is not possible to provide specific dates or details for coming out of lockdown beyond 17 May – that will depend on what impact there is from the changes already made,” said Sturgeon. “However, my hope and ambition is that from early June, all of Scotland will effectively be in level one of the levels system, allowing for a further easing of restrictions – and possibly moving to level zero in late June.”

Level zero, said Sturgeon (pictured), would include “many of the things that we took for granted before the pandemic: normal family gatherings where we can hug our loved ones, sporting events, gigs and nightclubs. I cannot set a date for that point yet, but I do believe that over the coming weeks as more and more adults are vaccinated it will be possible to set a firmer date by which many of these normal things will be possible, and I am very optimistic that this date will be over the summer.

“Thanks to the sacrifices we all made three months ago, and the success of the vaccination programme, we are now in a much better and brighter position, with well-earned optimism as we look ahead to the summer. We are getting the virus under control, but it is still dangerous, and to reach these dates it’s more important than ever now to stay within the rules.”

At press time, Scottish music festivals such as Eden Festival (10–13 June), Trnsmt (9–11 July), Belladrum (29–31 July) are still planning for a return this summer.

 


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Scotland’s Trnsmt 2020 cancelled

Scotland’s biggest music festival, Glasgow’s Trnsmt, has called off its 2020 edition following comments made yesterday (23 April) by the country’s first minister which suggested public gatherings were likely to be banned for the foreseeable future.

Large events such as sporting matches, concerts and festivals may not be permitted for “some months to come”, said Nicola Sturgeon, who explained: “I cannot conceive that in the near future we will be going back to having large numbers of people gathering together at large events, given the need to keep some kind of social distancing.”

Trnsmt, launched in 2017 as an unofficial replacement for DF Concerts’ T in the Park, was this year scheduled for 10–12 July, with headlines Courteeners, Liam Gallagher and Lewis Capaldi.

In a statement, DF says: “We are absolutely gutted to announce that, due to the comments made by the first minister of Scotland during the daily briefing on 23 April, Trnsmt will be unable to go ahead as planned in July 2020. We did not want to take this step but it is unavoidable.

“We are working hard to try to get the 2021 line-up as close to this year’s as we can”

“The health and safety of our fans, artists, staff and community will always be our top priority. We are now working hard with all the artist teams to try to get the 2021 line-up as close to this year’s as we can, and will be able to update on this fully over the next two weeks. We’d like to thank the artist teams for their hard work in helping us to try and achieve this.”

Fans are urged to hold onto their tickets for next year’s event (9–11 July 2021), though refunds are also available.

At press time, DF Concerts’ other major summer event, 8–20 August’s Summer Sessions in Edinburgh, is still on – as is as is Kilimanjaro Live’s Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival (30 July–1 August), though organisers concede cancellation is “looking more likely as time progresses”.

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the world’s largest arts festival, was called off on 1 April.

 


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DEAG to issue bond after strong H1 2018

Deutsche Entertainment AG (DEAG) has announced plans to issue a new corporate bond to finance further growth after a strong start to 2018.

According to provisional financial results, the Berlin-based promoter recorded a 34.2% increase in turnover in the first half (H1) of 2018, to €118 million – up from €87.9m the previous year –while earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) grew to €8.1m, from €2.2m in H1 2017.

The figures are adjusted to account for the recent acquisition of 49% of DEAG Classics and the sale of Raymond Gubbay Ltd, with a profit on deconsolidation of €5.3m.

According to the company, “a number of event highlights contributed to its positive development [in H1 2018]. For instance, DEAG had a successful first half year with open-air events, rock/pop tours, classical events, theatre productions and events for the entire family, as well as the ticketing business, in its core markets.

“With a well-filled pipeline of events and over 2m tickets already sold, DEAG has a solid basis for further development”

“DEAG’s operations are thus well on target for 2018 as a whole. Besides its positive development, measures were also taken to increase the earnings per share attributable to shareholders by reducing minority interests. For example, DEAG acquired 49% of DEAG Classics AG and now holds 100% of the shares. Furthermore, DEAG bought back 24.9% of the shares in MyTicket AG and now holds 75.1% of the company.

“DEAG also underscored the growth focus of its business in the UK by acquiring 100% of the shares of the Belladrum Festival in Scotland, which sold out for the ninth consecutive year in 2018.

“With a well-filled pipeline of events and over two million tickets already sold, DEAG has a solid basis for further development in the financial year. The executive board confirms the sales and earnings forecast for the full year 2018.”

DEAG has appointed IKB Deutsche Industriebank of Dusseldorf to handle the issuing of the bond, expected later in the year.

DEAG’s final H1 2018 results will be published in full tomorrow (31 August).

 


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Kili buys Scotland’s Belladrum Festival

Deutsche Entertainment AG (DEAG) has, through its UK subsidiary Kilimanjaro Live, acquired Belladrum Festival in Scotland.

Belladrum, in full the Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival, has taken place at the Belladrum Estate near Inverness since 2004. It has since grown into a major camping event, with its 15th edition – headlined by Paloma Faith, Primal Scream and Amy MacDonald, and running from 2 to 4 August 2018 – expected to its tenth sell-out since 2009.

Kilimanjaro has exclusively booked Bella for the past eight years, during which time the festival has featured several Kili-promoted touring acts, including Ed Sheeran, Bastille and Catfish and the Bottlemen. Some 17,000 people attended Belladrum 2017.

Kilimanjaro has been without a camping festival since the last edition of Sonisphere, at Knebworth, in 2014.

“Our shareholding in Scotland’s well-established Belladrum Festival further improves our basis for profitable growth”

DEAG CEO Peter Schwenkow, who has consistently spoken of the company’s goal of growing its UK operation, says the 100% buy-out is “in line” with those plans. “Our strategy is to focus particularly on the growing UK market in addition to Germany,” he comments.

“Our shareholding in Scotland’s well-established Belladrum Festival, through our subsidiary Kilimanjaro Live Limited, further improves our basis for profitable growth in this market. Belladrum has generated consistently positive operating results in recent years – a critical criterion for us. We also expect this acquisition to offer a positive boost for our ticket platform myticket.co.uk.”

It follows last August’s acquisition of Flying Music Group, also through Kili.

 


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