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Scotland to implement vaccine passports for large events

Vaccine passports may be legally required to enter certain events in Scotland from later this month, in a bid to ‘help stem the recent surge in the number of Covid cases’.

Pending approval from MPs, the new vaccine certification rules will mean people over the age of 18 will need to show they have had both doses of the vaccine before they are allowed entry to:

Medical exemptions will apply but proof of immunity or a negative test will not be accepted – something which DF Concerts boss Geoff Ellis disputes.

“It’s important that the [passport] includes lateral flow testing and immunity as well as double vaccination + 2 weeks for reasons of practicality and non-discrimination,” Ellis tells IQ.

“If [vaccine passports] are necessary then it should also be applied widely and not just for live music and nightclubs”

“If it’s necessary – which we are led to believe in Scotland that it is – then it should also be applied widely and not just for live music and nightclubs.

“That way it will be more effective in reaching [the government’s] goals by keeping the virus to manageable levels. If that’s the case then I think the live industry as a whole will support this as a temporary measure – DF Concerts certainly will,” Ellis concludes.

The government have not announced a specific date for the introduction of vaccine certification but they have stated this will only happen when all adults have been given the opportunity to receive both vaccines later this month.

Scottish MPs are due to debate and vote on the regulation in parliament next week. If the policy is passed, it will be reviewed every three weeks in line with other Covid regulations.

A similar debate is underway in England, where the government has said it will press ahead with plans to introduce vaccine passports for nightclubs and other crowded indoor venues from the end of next month.

Scottish MPs are due to debate and vote on the regulation in parliament next week

John Sharkey, executive VP, European operations, ASM Global, commented for IQ: “We believe that public health and the safety of our patrons should be at the forefront of everyone’s thinking as we begin to live with Covid in society. However, our industry, which has been largely closed for nearly 18 months, should also have equality and proportionality applied to it in line with other parts of the economy such as retail, transport and other areas of public life.

“If the government is looking to implement measures that are beyond this equity and proportionality test then they should be clearly stating why the measures are needed and also provide support to the industry in the implementation of such measures.”

A spokesperson from the O2 in London added: “The O2 has taken the decision to implement the NHS Covid Pass and we’ve found strong fan support and compliance with this measure since our events restarted and we will continue to apply it moving forward.

“There are however a number of unanswered questions about how those unable to obtain a vaccination are to be handled, so we urge the government to consult constructively with the industry to iron out these circumstances before any plans are finalised.”


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Scotland’s TRNSMT festival permitted to go ahead

Scotland’s biggest music festival, Glasgow’s Trnsmt, has been permitted to go ahead this September with up to 50,000 non-socially distanced fans per day.

The festival has been awarded the status of ‘gateway event’ by the Scottish government because of its place as ‘an internationally significant flagship event’.

This status exempts Trnsmt from the current 5,000-person capacity limit on outdoor events.

The three-day music festival will take place at Glasgow Green between 10–12 September with headliners Courteeners, Liam Gallagher and The Chemical Brothers.

The festival, which would usually take place with up to 150,000 people in July, has not been held since 2019. The 2020 event was cancelled in April last year, a month after the first Covid lockdown was announced.

“I’m delighted to confirm that Trnsmt has been given approval to take place this year due to its status as a gateway event”

This year, promoter DF concerts is working with the Scottish government and Glasgow City Council to deliver the event.

Geoff Ellis, chief executive at Trnsmt and CEO at DF Concerts, says: “I’m delighted to confirm that cinch presents Trnsmt has been given approval to take place this year due to its status as a gateway event, with permission to host up to 50,000 fans per day over the weekend of 10–12 September. We’re looking forward to working in partnership with the Scottish government and Glasgow City Council in delivering the festival.”

The news comes after the first minister announced on Tuesday (3 August) that most Covid restrictions would be lifted from Monday 9 August.

Capacity limits of 2,000 people indoors and 5,000 people outdoors will remain in place beyond Monday although some exceptions may be possible on a case by case basis.

“This will allow us and local authorities to be assured of the arrangements in place to reduce risk,” the Scottish government said in a statement.


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UK festival pilot builds hope for reopening

A successful outcome from yesterday’s 5,000-person Sefton Park Pilot in Liverpool will provide a lifeline to the entire UK live music business by proving that festivals can go ahead safely with no social distancing this summer, organiser Melvin Benn has said.

Featuring music from Zuzu, the Lathums and Blossoms, the one-day music festival took place on 2 May as part of the British government’s Events Research Programme (ERP), following two 3,000-person club nights, dubbed The First Dance, held at Liverpool’s Bramley-Moore Dock on 30 April and 1 May. Like all ERP events, there was no requirement to socially distance or wear a face covering at the three pilots, though all ticketholders required a negative Covid-19 test to gain entry.

Festival Republic MD Benn described the model as a “prototype” to reopen the industry after more than a year without any significant live music events. “Will we always need it? I hope not,” he told IQ, “but we’ve learnt a lot and we’re ready to pass it onto the industry.”

For the Sefton Park event, attendees and guests underwent a supervised lateral-flow test (LFT) at a local tennis centre up to 32 hours before the event. Each test was registered directly with the National Health Service (NHS), and results communicated via text and email within 30 minutes, with a negative test result activating each ticket. An additional testing site was positioned directly outside Sefton Park.

Alongside the lateral flow test, attendees were also encouraged to carry out a government PCR test, mailed by post, with a second test completed up to five days after the show. To motivate fans to complete the post-show test, Festival Republic offered a range of festival ticket prizes as an incentive.

Testing for staff, guests and press was overseen by Caroline Giddings and Solo Agency, one of a number of live music businesses to offer its support to the event, which was pulled together in the space of three weeks. (That’s not quite a record, said Benn – the One Love Manchester show with Ariana Grande was organised in even less time – but it was “pretty quick!”.)

“It’s important for the industry … that events like this happen”

In addition to Festival Republic, “there are people working on it from SJM, from DF, from Cream, from Isle of Wight Festival – it’s a bit of an industry effort,” explained DF Concerts’ Geoff Ellis. “It’s important for the industry and for fans that events like this happen to help us get there.”

For Ellis, who described Sefton Park Pilot as a “monumental occasion”, it was “really surreal being here because it feels dreamlike,” he said. “You’re seeing people from the industry and you bump into them and you’re wondering, ‘Wow, is this really happening?’”

Speaking to IQ, Benn related the event in similar terms, saying organisers, fans and artists alike were conscious of participating in a “historic moment” paving the way towards an overdue return to something approaching normality.

Benn is as confident as he was in summer 2020 that rapid testing (now coupled with vaccinations) is the key to unlocking the return of live events. “It’s something I’ve been saying since June last year, and it’s taken a long time for government to listen, but I think they do believe in it now,” he explained. “They did have faith in this [Sefton Park Pilot], and certainly [from conversations with] the scientific teams from government and outside of government that I’ve been working with, the modelling of this seems to suggest to me that it can work.”

“What we are learning is that a festival isn’t going to need to look different to how it did look, or behave different to how it behaved,” pre-coronavirus, he continued. “Putting on a festival, as any festival promoter will tell you, is a series of hurdles, and we’ve all learnt how to jump every single hurdle that’s ever put in front of us. Covid one is another one. We’ll find ways of overcoming.”

The other hurdle at present, of course, is the non-availability of event cancellation insurance, though Benn expects more news on that front in the coming weeks.

“What we are learning is that a festival needn’t look different to how it did”

“The government provided insurance for this event, to give us the backing we needed, and in doing so they demonstrated there’s a need for insurance,” he explained. “There’s a team working very hard to find a way […] out of this, and hopefully by the beginning of June there’ll be something in place.”

As in Barcelona, where a recent pilot arena show demonstrated a lower incidence of Covid-19 than in the city as a whole, Sefton Park Pilot needn’t record zero cases to be considered a success, Benn continued. “It’s not necessarily about no infections,” he said. “The ideal outcome is that there is no greater spread of the virus in Liverpool than there already was. We want to prove you can have these events and it doesn’t present a greater risk to the area than already exists.”

While interim findings from the ERP events will be reported to the prime minister in a matter of weeks, Benn revealed that a second FR-organised outdoor pilot show is in the pipeline. While details are yet to be announced, it will likely be similar in format to Sefton Park Pilot, and “greenfield, for certain”, according to Benn.

Like Sefton Park Pilot, that second pilot event will again mobilise an army of festival staff and music fans in numbers not seen since the summer of 2019. But Benn, like everyone involved with the pilots, is hopeful those events won’t be a one-off.

“There have been a huge amount of people who made the effort to give up their time for this, and they all put an enormous amount of work into it,” he said. “So what we’re learning, we want to tell everybody – because this is for the whole industry.”


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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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Wee will rock you: Scotland market report

Let’s talk about Scottish independence. We’re referring, obviously, to Gerry Cinnamon, the staunchly indie, Glaswegian guitar-basher who has packed a career’s worth of touring milestones into the past two or three years.

There was the pair of sold-out shows at Glasgow’s Barrowland Ballroom in 2017 – the first unsigned artist to manage such a feat. Then Cinnamon really went up in the world, with two Christmas 2019 gigs at Glasgow’s SSE Hydro and one at Aberdeen’s 15,000-capacity P&J Arena – the biggest indoor show ever in Scotland. And, surely capping it all off, next summer’s show at Hampden Park: 50,000 tickets… all long gone.

“He grew up literally a stone’s throw away from Hampden, in Castlemilk,” says Geoff Ellis, CEO of DF Concerts. “We sold it out in a day.”

The fact that Cinnamon has also quickly converted local-hero status into arena-filling UK and Ireland success underscores Scotland’s status as a rigorous proving ground for its own artists, of whom he and Lewis Capaldi, are just the latest to break in a big way.

“If you go down well here, you are not going to be too shabby when you go out in the rest of the world,” theorises Hold Fast Entertainment’s Donald MacLeod, who operates Glasgow venues the Cathouse and the Garage.

Scotland in 2020 isn’t necessarily an easy place to get ahead, but it is bursting with local talent, busy promoters and full venues. The nation’s live industry added £431 million to the broader economy last year and sustained 4,300 full-time jobs, as well as drawing 1.1m music tourists – a jump of 38% from 2017 [source: UK Music].

Scotland in 2020 isn’t necessarily an easy place to get ahead, but it is bursting with local talent, busy promoters and full venues

There are all sorts of storylines in the wider drama of Scotland’s live music business. Edinburgh is on the up, with the tantalising prospect of an arena on the horizon at last. Glasgow, traditionally a supercharged music city with a perpetual tendency to steal the thunder of the more genteel capital, a 45-minute journey away, still does the business, but it isn’t having its best moment after losing the pivotal O2 ABC to a devastating fire last year.

Meanwhile, the festival scene evolves – out with T in the Park, in with TRNSMT and others. The Highlands, islands and notable towns and cities work hard to make the case that there is life outside the Central Belt. And Scotland’s thriving trad scene makes the case that there is more to life than pop.

But still the talent keeps coming. “We are not short of talent and bands coming up. We punch well above our weight,” says MacLeod.

Biffy Clyro, Franz Ferdinand, Calvin Harris, Young Fathers, Chvrches, Paolo Nutini, Amy Macdonald and Tom Walker have all attested to that in recent years, and Scottish venue calendars are reliably stuffed with local favourites: Capaldi, Simple Minds, Texas and Deacon Blue at the SSE Hydro this year; Jesus & Mary Chain and The Twilight Sad at Barrowlands; Edwyn Collins and Susan Boyle at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall.

And new artists, too: “Walt Disco, Slow Readers Club, Tamzene, The Snuts, The Dunts – are all selling out venues above 1,000-cap,” says Ellis. “We have got a really good, healthy scene at club level and that gets people engaged a bit more in terms of live music.”

“We have got a really good, healthy scene at club level and that gets people engaged a bit more in terms of live music”

You might imagine Scottish promoters were a tough, rivalrous bunch, but a photo tweeted by Donald MacLeod in December was a picture of harmony: the key figures from DF Concerts, Regular Music, PCL Presents and Triple G, smiling on the fairway at Loch Lomond Golf Club at an away-day put on by SSE Hydro.

“Aye, that was a good laugh,” says MacLeod, who in addition to his Glasgow clubs is a director of promoter Triple G, chair of Nordoff-Robbins Scotland and a columnist for The Sunday Post. “It’s a lot of promoters for the size of the market. But we all get on well. We are not bitter rivals, we are frenemies. We will all, at times, work with each other.”

Glasgow-based DF, part of LN-Gaiety Investments since 2008, is Scotland’s largest promoter, proprietor of the three-year-old TRNSMT at Glasgow Green, and the Summer Sessions series in Edinburgh and Glasgow each August, as well as shows from club- to stadium-level, and the celebrated King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut on St Vincent Street in Glasgow.

“2019 was a great year for us as a business,” says Ellis. “I think it was great for the market generally in Scotland. But it’s not easy – you have to get the pricing right, and you have to really work it. Scotland is only five million people. If you are doing a show at the Hydro, you are selling to all of Scotland.”

There are numerous independents, including PCL, Triple G, Synergy, 432 Presents, EDM specialists Fly Events and Electronic Edinburgh, and Highlands and islands specialist Beyond Presents.

“Scotland is only five million people. If you are doing a show at the Hydro, you are selling to all of Scotland”

But the largest is Edinburgh’s Regular Music, which continues to do large-scale business. Its properties including the annual concerts at Edinburgh Castle’s Esplanade and Summer Nights at Kelvingrove Bandstand in Glasgow. Eleven of the latter’s twelve 8,500-cap nights sold out in 2019, with stars including Teenage Fanclub and Hue & Cry, plus Suede, Patti Smith, Burt Bacharach and The National.

“We only promote in Scotland, and that’s our identity,” says Regular’s John Stout. “We are always conscious that Live Nation and AEG can offer Europe-wide and kind of exclude us. But we have got good relationships with a lot of bands that come back to us year after year. Stereophonics come back to us every time; we are working with Bon Iver and Lana Del Rey, so it’s not all going to the big guys.”

Another Regular regular are local boys The Proclaimers, who are in a career purple patch. “In Scotland alone, between September 2018 and September 2019, we did just over 70,000 tickets,” says Stout. “That includes two sold-out Edinburgh Castle shows, a sold-out Hydro, and a theatre tour. They will tour any town that has a 500-capacity venue. They have built that audience through hard work and quality.”

Beyond Events, which operates from Ullapool on the north-west coast, 45 miles from Inverness, has operated for 20 years across the great open spaces outside the two largest cities, from festivals down to tiny rooms, and latterly sometimes in Glasgow and Edinburgh, too.

Continue reading this feature in the digital edition of IQ 88, or subscribe to the magazine here

Third outing cements Trnsmt as Glasgow staple

The third edition of DF Concerts’ Trnsmt took place at Glasgow Green over the weekend, with headliners Stormzy, Catfish and the Bottlemen and George Ezra playing to sold-out crowds.

Around 150,000 festivalgoers descended on the event from 12 to 14 July to see acts including Lewis Capaldi, Bastille, the Snuts, Gerry Cinnamon and Years and Years. Organisers confirmed the return of the event immediately after the close of the main stage on Sunday, projecting the 2020 dates onto buildings in the centre of Glasgow.

“After three hugely successful years, Trnsmt is now an established part of Glasgow’s annual cultural calendar,” says festival director and DF Concerts chief executive Geoff Ellis.

“This year’s sold-out festival was the best yet with so many highlights. We can’t wait to return to Glasgow Green next summer for another phenomenal weekend of music.”

“Trnsmt is now an established part of Glasgow’s annual cultural calendar”

The festival was smaller in scale than the 2018 event, which took place over two consecutive weekends. A new addition to the 2019 festival came in the form of the female-only Queen Tut’s stage, which aimed “to close the gender play gap”.

Trnsmt launched in 2017, after DF Concerts put major camping festival T in the Park on hold due to “onerous site restrictions”. Ellis recently confirmed that T in the Park would not be making a return.

“It’s all about Trnsmt for us now,” states Ellis, who last year told IQ that the appetite for large-scale camping festivals in Scotland had declined.

Trnsmt also garnered the support of the local council, with Glasgow city council leader Susan Aitken naming Trnsmt an “integral part” of the city’s offering and commending the “vibrancy and enjoyment” it provides.

Trnsmt 2020 will take place from 10 to 12 July on Glasgow Green.


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Outdoor entertainment tax threatens Glasgow festivals

Geoff Ellis, chief executive of Scottish promoter DF Concerts, has warned Glasgow City Council that he may move flagship Glasgow event Trnsmt festival (50,000-cap.) out of the city, if a new tax on outdoor entertainment comes into force.

Council leaders voted to introduce a new concert ticket tax to raise money for the council’s budget and balance the toll taken by big events on the city’s parks. The levy would result in an additional charge of £2.50 to each ticket.

The council says that the tax would raise £650,000 a year from events such as Trnsmt, which debuted in 2017 and takes place on the weekend formerly occupied by T in the Park, Glasgow Summer Sessions (35,000-cap.) and Kelvingrove Summer Nights (2,500-cap.), with £150,000 dedicated to the upkeep of the city’s green spaces.

Ellis of DF Concerts calls the levy “well-meaning, but ill-conceived and short-sighted”.

Ellis says he now has “some difficult decisions to make” concerning the outdoor events that he runs in the city. The DF Concerts boss states that his events generated an economic impact of more than £10 million last year.

“Quite simply we are now accelerating towards the cliff edge in terms of outdoor events in this city,” Ellis told the Evening Times.

“Quite simply we are now accelerating towards the cliff edge in terms of outdoor events in this city”

“It is of concern to me that promoters and other event organisers will now be encouraged to start events in other cities knowing that our ability to attract strong artistic talent to Glasgow is compromised by hundreds of thousands of pounds per event,” states Ellis. “I now have to decide whether to lead or follow in that respect.”

As long as they put this tax in place, Glasgow’s going to suffer and it will be to the benefit of other cities,” adds Ellis, mentioning that cities such as Stirling and Dundee “are very keen for us to make use of their assets and the rental prices they’re offering us are far less than Glasgow.”

A spokesperson from the Glasgow City Council comments: “The public has told us how much they value our green spaces and how they would like to see a more direct connection between the events we host and income being invested back into our parks.

“The environmental levy is about striking an appropriate balance between supporting our green spaces and using parks to host large events,” adds the spokesperson.

According to the Trnsmt promoter, event organisers already pay “substantial environmental maintenance sums” for the use of greenfield spaces.

Trnsmt returns to Glasgow Green this year from 12 to 14 July. The three-day festival will see performances from Stormzy, Catfish and the Bottlemen, George Ezra, Snow Patrol and Jess Glynne.


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Ellis on Trnsmt: ‘The market has evolved’

DF Concerts expects to welcome in excess of 230,000 festivalgoers to the second edition of its Glasgow Trnsmt festival, which this year has grown to two weekends after an “amazing” response to last summer’s debut, CEO Geoff Ellis has said.

The launch of Trnsmt was announced in January 2017, two months after Ellis revealed DF’s major camping event T in the Park, a mainstay of the Scottish festival scene since 1994, would be going on an indefinite hiatus. Trnsmt took place that June – on the weekend formerly occupied by T in the Park – and attracted crowds of around 120,000, proving “an exciting new addition to the festival calendar”, said Ellis at the time.

“It went really well – better than we could have imagined,” Ellis tells IQ. “There are enough headliners around this year, so we thought, ‘Let’s go to two weekends’. We’ll always do at least one going forward, and two if there’s enough talent.”

The headliners in question are Stereophonics, Liam Gallagher and Arctic Monkeys who will top the bill on Friday 29 June, Saturday 30 June and Sunday 1 July, respectively, and Queen + Adam Lambert and the Killers, who headline on Friday 6 July and Sunday 8 July, respectively. Ellis’s gamble on expanding the fledgling event appears to have paid off, with ticket sales “rocketing” over the past few weeks and the Liam Gallagher and Arctic Monkeys shows already sold out.

“Last year we had one sell-out show over three days,” he comments. “This year we have six shows [of which are two are sold out], so we’ve doubled the number of shows and [at least] the number of sell-outs.”

“Tastes evolve, and as a festival producer you have to be mindful of that”

The weather is also looking good, with forecasts of a heatwave after weeks of cloud, and Ellis is feeling rightly proud of securing the likes of Arctic Monkeys and Queen, neither of whom are playing any other UK festivals in 2018.

But while music fans have taken to the new festival, a cursory glance at social media and in Scottish newspapers shows many fans and even local MPs are strongly in favour of T in the Park (TITP) returning, despite well-publicised problems with the 70,000-capacity Strathallan Castle site and resulting financial impact on DF Concerts.

Ellis says he has fond memories of TITP, which he co-founded with Stuart Clumpas in 1994 after two years booking Glasgow’s King Tut’s (300-cap.), but that the demand is no longer there for a camping event of that size in Scotland.

“The market in Scotland has evolved considerably,” he explains. “T in the Park was all things to all people, but the demand isn’t there for a festival of that size. There’s been a diversification in terms of taste, with people wanting smaller events.

“What people are liking is the fact they can come to Trnsmt and spend a few days in Glasgow – [to dip in and out of] the festival and go to clubs, bars, late-night restaurants… And all the local traders are buzzing about it – last year they felt they did their best year to date.”

Buoyed by Trnsmt’s success, DF Concerts is also launching another city-centre event this summer, Edinburgh Summer Sessions, as a spin-off of its popular Glasgow Summer Sessions festival.

“There’s a great spirit in Glasgow”

“We don’t have any plans to do a big camper event in the near future,” Ellis continues. “That’s not to say we’ll never do a camping event, but we’ve had a big success in Trnsmt.

“Tastes evolve, and as a festival producer you have to be mindful of that.”

Trnsmt 2018 is set to have extra resonance for local fans, as well as many its performers, after fire destroyed much of Glasgow School of Art and famed venue O2 ABC last weekend.

“There’s lots of sadness and woe in the city,” says Ellis. “ABC was firmly established as an important venue on the touring circuit – it hosted early shows by the Arctic Monkeys, Adele, Kendrick Lamar, Paolo Nutini – and was seen as that next step up from King Tut’s.

“The fire was disastrous for the city. Most musicians in Glasgow were touched in some way or another, and [Trnsmt performers] Franz Ferdinand studied there. There’s a great spirit in Glasgow, and music is good at bringing people together, but there’s that poignancy that maybe we’ll see manifest itself as Trnsmt.”

Trnsmt 2018 takes place on Glasgow Green, in Glasgow city centre, on 29 June–1 July and Friday 6 and Sunday 8 July. Five-day tickets are sold out, but limited numbers of day and weekend one passes are available from trnsmtfest.com/tickets.


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Agent of change principle adopted in Scotland

The agent-of-change principle – which makes developers building near existing businesses, such as music venues, responsible for addressing noise issues – is to be written into Scottish planning policy, following a successful campaign by the British and Scottish live music industries.

The devolved Scottish government will follow Westminster’s lead in including agent of change in the next revision of its national planning framework and Scottish planning policy, setting out guidelines to which it expects planning authorities to adhere.

“The Scottish government recognises the significant cultural and economic contribution of our music industry,” says Scotland’s housing minister, Kevin Stewart MSP. “It is only right we do what we can to protect the established and emerging musical talent and that is why we are embedding the agent of change principle in our planning guidance. I have asked the chief planner to write to all planning authorities asking them to act now.

“Music venues should not have to make high cost changes or deal with expensive disputes because of new developments. Developers will be responsible for identifying and solving any potential issues with noise, giving residents of new homes a better quality of life and allowing our music venues to continue to operate.”

“The news that the agent-of-change principle will be adopted into Scottish planning policy is a huge step in protecting Scotland’s live music scene,” says Geoff Ellis, who was one of several venue owners calling for the agent-of-change principle to be adopted in Scotland. “It removes a crippling threat that loomed over our music venues for too long.”

“It is only right we do what we can to protect established and emerging musical talent”

“We want to thank Kevin Stewart MSP for championing agent of change and striving for it to be implemented immediately. We also want to give special thanks to Scottish music fans for their support in lobbying MSPs to push for this change. They’ve proved, once again, why they’re the best fans in the world.”

“This is a landmark victory for all those who fought so hard to safeguard the future of music venues in Scotland and across the UK, from grassroots community activists to global music stars who have spent years calling for agent of change,” adds Michael Dugher, chief executive of umbrella organisation UK Music. “We are delighted the Scottish government has thrown its support behind our agent of change plan and is toughening the rules to protect grassroots music venues. It’s a tremendous boost for the live music industry.

“Music tourism makes a huge contribution to Scotland, bringing enjoyment to millions and generating £334 million to the local economy. Supporting grassroots venues is key to maintaining the Scotland’s vibrant and diverse music scene, as well as making sure we have the talent pipeline to maintain the our position as a global force in music.

“It’s great that Scottish ministers have listened and responded so positively to UK Music, Music Venue Trust and other industry campaigners, all of whom have worked so hard to make sure grassroots venues get the help and protection they need. Lewis Macdonald MSP deserves particular recognition for the tireless dedication and leadership he has shown to deliver this landmark change in Scotland.”


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“Thank you”: Ellis hails success of debut Trnsmt

Some 120,000 people witnessed the first outing for DF Concerts’ new Glasgow festival, Trnsmt, over the weekend, with festival director Geoff Ellis thanking attendees for a successful debut year.

Trnsmt, which took place on Glasgow Green from Friday 7 to Sunday 9 June, was first announced in January. Although some speculated the festival would serve as a replacement for DF’s dormant T in the Park (TITP), Ellis has insisted that isn’t the case, with TITP “definitely” returning in 2018.

More than 100 acts performed across five stages, including The 1975, Stormzy, London Grammar, The LaFontaines and headliners Radiohead, Kasabian and Biffy Clyro.

“The first-ever Trnsmt event has been an immediate hit with fans, and it’s safe to say our team has delivered an exciting new addition to the festival calendar,” comments Ellis. “The site lay-out worked beautifully and we received positive feedback from music fans, staff and vendors on the overall smooth flow of the event.

“The first-ever Trnsmt event has been an immediate hit with fans”

“The multi-agency organisation of Trnsmt has worked exceptionally well, and we would like to thank Police Scotland, Glasgow City Council, Ambulance Scotland and Fire Scotland for their support in the lead-up to and during the festival weekend.”

He also thanked festivalgoers for “creating the positive energy that we hope will be part of Trnsmt for years to come”.

Police Scotland also praised the behaviour of the crowd, reporting ten arrests in total over the three days – far fewer than the 54 at TITP 2016, which had a capacity of 70,000.

Chief inspector Simon Jeacocke, event commander for Police Scotland, says: “We’d like to commend everyone who attended Trsmt festival for their good spirits this weekend. Our zero-tolerance approach to drugs, increased security presence and thorough bag searches were well received by attendees, and everyone’s cooperation meant that people got on site smoothly every day.”


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