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Glasgow or Liverpool to host Eurovision 2023

Glasgow or Liverpool will host the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest after the seven-strong UK shortlist was cut to two.

The competition will be held at either the former’s 14,300-cap OVO Hydro or the latter’s 11,000-cap M&S Bank Arena next May, with a final decision to be announced “within weeks”.

Birmingham, Leeds, Newcastle, Sheffield and Manchester were also in the running after 20 UK cities expressed an interest when organisers decided 2022 winners Ukraine could not stage the event due to the war. The UK’s Sam Ryder finished second in this year’s contest.

“The EBU (European Broadcasting Union) would like to warmly thank all the seven British cities that put so much effort and enthusiasm into their bids to host next year’s Eurovision Song Contest on behalf of Ukraine,” says Martin Österdahl, executive supervisor for the Eurovision Song Contest. “We very much appreciate their cooperation and the quality and creativity of all the bids received.

“The Eurovision Song Contest is the most complex TV production in the world with very specific logistical requirements to accommodate around 40 delegations and thousands of crew, volunteers, press and fans.

“We’re confident our final two cities are the best placed to meet this challenge and look forward to continuing our discussions to choose the one which will stage the world’s largest music event next May.”

“The Eurovision Song Contest is a very complex event and Liverpool and Glasgow have the strongest overall offer”

The final decision on the host city will be decided by the BBC in conjunction with the European Broadcasting Union.

“Thanks to all seven cities across the UK who have demonstrated the enthusiasm and passion for Eurovision that exists right across the UK,” adds Phil Harrold, the chair of the BBC’s host city selection committee. “We were incredibly impressed by the quality and creativity of all the city bids, in what was a highly competitive field. The Eurovision Song Contest is a very complex event and Liverpool and Glasgow have the strongest overall offer; we will continue our discussions with them to determine the eventual host city.

“We are determined to make the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest one that both reflects the winning position of Ukraine and is also an event that all of the UK can participate in.”

The Eurovision Song Contest is the world’s largest live music event, with over 180 million people tuning in across linear and digital channels in 2022. The contest has launched the global careers of artists including Måneskin, Celine Dion, ABBA and Julio Iglesias.

Organisers are also planning to launch the event in Canada and Latin America, as the global expansion of the brand continues.

 


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DF Concerts celebrates record-breaking summer

Scotland’s DF Concerts has heralded a record-breaking summer, having sold one million tickets between June and August.

The promoter says that, as a result, it has made an economic impact of around £72.4 million on tourism and hospitality businesses in its domestic market.

The Glasgow-headquartered company expects that, by the end of 2022, it will have welcomed over 50% of the population of Scotland to one of its concerts or events.

DF promotes some 1,000 concerts per year, as well as its festivals TRNSMT (Glasgow), Connect (Edinburgh) and Summer Sessions (Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee). In addition, the promoter owns and operates grassroots music venue, King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut (Glasgow).

This year’s sold-out edition of TRNSMT topped DF’s best-selling events of the summer, attracting 50,000 attendees on each of its three days.

Other highlights include two nights from The Killers at Falkirk Stadium (cap. 25,000), and Harry Styles performing to 50,000 people at Glasgow’s Ibrox football stadium.

“It’s looking like it will be more of the same next year”

This summer also saw DF revive Connect, a music festival that originally took place in Argyll, Scotland, in the mid-noughties.

The reboot took place at The Royal Highland Centre (RHC), an exhibition centre and showgrounds located near Edinburgh airport, between 26–28 August.

The Chemical Brothers, The National, Little Simz, Mogwai and Bombay Bicycle Club were among the artists that performed at the camping festival.

In total, DF Concerts had 33 days of outdoor shows from June to August, at venues including Slessor Gardens in Dundee, Edinburgh’s Royal Highland Centre Showgrounds and Princes Street Gardens, SWG3 Galvanizers Yard, Glasgow Green, and Bellahouston Park in Glasgow, plus Hampden Park, Ibrox and Falkirk Stadiums.

“This has been a really special summer season for all involved,” Geoff Ellis, CEO of DF Concerts, tells IQ. “It has seen a seven-figure investment in new events for music lovers across the country, diversifying the experiences available in Scotland.

“With two stadium shows, one greenfield and two festivals already announced for summer 2023 and more to come very soon, it’s looking like it will be more of the same next year.”

 


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DF Concerts praises ‘phenomenal’ Gerry Cinnamon

DF Concerts’ promoter Dave Corbet says that Gerry Cinnamon is “rewriting the rules” after the Scottish singer-songwriter made history by playing to 100,000 fans over two nights at Glasgow’s Hampden Park.

The 50,000-cap shows, which were originally slated for 2020 pre-pandemic, sold out within hours back in 2019 and were finally able to take place from 16-17 July.

“The energy of the crowd across both shows was electric and they were with him every step of the way,” Corbet tells IQ. “It was one of the best stadium productions that I have ever seen and the sound was fantastic – there really is nothing like the Hampden roar.”

Staged by DF, the concerts saw Cinnamon crowned as both the first independent act and the first Scottish artist to sell out multiple nights at the national stadium. Support came from The Charlatans, Jake Bugg, The Snuts, Travis and Vistas.

“Gerry is an absolute force of nature and his success knows no limits,” says Corbet. “DF Concerts has worked with him since the very early days of being in bands on the Glasgow music scene, and there are so many factors which have contributed to his huge success which includes how fiercely independent he is.

“To see Gerry go from playing small pub shows at the start of his career to becoming the Scottish artist with the most tickets ever sold at Scotland’s national stadium is phenomenal”

“To see Gerry go from playing small pub shows at the start of his career to becoming the Scottish artist with the most tickets ever sold at Scotland’s national stadium Hampden is phenomenal and I can’t wait to see what comes next.”

The UK’s biggest independent artist, 37-year-old Cinnamon has built up a huge, organic following since self-releasing his 2017 debut album Erratic Cinematic and topped the UK charts with 2020 follow-up The Bonny.

“Gerry has never been one to conform and what keeps his fans coming to support him is how relatable he is,” adds Corbet. “He is rewriting the rules on how to be a successful artist and is a man of the people which resonates not only with the people of Scotland but with his fans around the world.”

Represented by CAA’s Andy Cook, Cinnamon has headlined a handful of outdoor gigs across the UK and Ireland this summer.  He played a 25,000-cap gig at Swansea’s Singleton Park – the second biggest show ever held in the Welsh city – last month, along with sold-out Irish shows at the 25,000-cap Malahide Castle Dublin, and Musgrave Park Stadium, Cork.

He also played his third headline performance at Belsonic festival in Belfast’s 20,000-cap Ormeau Park, having already set the record in 2021 as the first artist to sell out two headline shows at the venue.

 


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Campaign to make Glasgow UK’s top music city

A new tourism campaign has launched to promote Glasgow’s music scene to potential visitors from across the UK.

Developed by Glasgow Life’s Destination Marketing team, the Glasgow: Music Nonstop initiative is designed to showcase the energy and vibrancy of the city’s live music offering, positioning it as a first-choice short break destination for music fans.

Created with £90,000 from VisitScotland’s Destination and Sector Marketing Fund, it is aimed at supporting the recovery and restart of Glasgow’s music and night-time industries in the wake of the pandemic, as well as spreading the wider message that the city’s tourism and hospitality sector is open for business.

Jim Clarkson, regional leadership director (West), VisitScotland, says the funding “will help to accelerate the sustainable recovery of the tourism sector in the Glasgow City Region in the medium to long-term, helping to reach new audiences within the domestic market”.

Running until the end of March, the scheme features a mix of targeted digital and social media advertising, PR activity and new music-themed content on the city’s official visitor website. A dedicated campaign landing page is available here.

“We’re on track to have the busiest summer on record for live music in Scotland”

Glasgow is Scotland’s only UNESCO City of Music and hosted an average of 130 gigs and music events every week, pre-Covid, contributing an estimated £75m each year to the city’s economy.

Glasgow Life has engaged with partners throughout the planning process, involving music industry figures in creative briefings; hosting a workshop to inspire businesses to come together and create new bookable music-themed visitor offers; and inviting businesses to have their say.

“Glasgow is a city world-renowned for its music scene, so it’s fantastic to see this investment from Glasgow Life to help support the recovery of the industry,” says Geoff Ellis, CEO of promoter DF Concerts. “We’re on track to have the busiest summer on record for live music in Scotland so it’s vitally important now that Glasgow’s music offering is put in the spotlight, which this campaign aims to do.”

Andrew Fleming-Brown, founder and MD of Glasgow venue SWG3, adds: “It’s been such a difficult couple of years for the sector so it’s really great to see music taking centre stage in the city’s marketing as we emerge from the pandemic. We’re very excited about our upcoming programme at SWG3 which we hope will not only attract the people of Glasgow, but also visitors from throughout Scotland, the UK and internationally.”

 


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Glasgow’s Hydro reveals sponsorship, green plan

Scotland’s Hydro arena (cap. 13,000) has secured a naming rights deal with OVO, the UK’s third-biggest energy supplier (not to be confused with Drake’s record label).

The newly renamed OVO Hydro in Glasgow re-opened its doors in September following an 18-month closure and is now gearing up for a record-breaking 2022.

Next year, the nation’s flagship venue will host 40% more events than in an average year, with concerts from world-renowned acts such as Billie Eilish, Shawn Mendes, The Weeknd, Dua Lipa and Anne-Marie.

The OVO Hydro’s biggest-ever year of live entertainment will also see the venue continue to develop its sustainability credentials as part of a journey to achieve A Greener Festival‘s (AGF) ‘Greener Arena Certification’.

The AGF certification will include external verification that carbon reduction and transition strategies are at the heart of all venue operations, from catering to materials used and circularity.

OVO will support the venue’s goal to achieve the ‘Greener Arena Certification’ through funding of specific carbon-reduction and environmental initiatives recommended as a result of the annual accreditation process.

The venue will host 40% more events than in an average year, with concerts from Billie Eilish, Shawn Mendes and The Weeknd

In turn, the OVO Hydro will support the commitments in OVO’s ‘Plan Zero‘ to become a net-zero business by 2030 and drive progress towards zero-carbon living.

Billy McFadyen, director of finance and development at the SEC (Scottish Event Campus, which includes OVO Hydro), says: “OVO Energy is the perfect partner for SEC to help achieve our sustainable goals and objectives. We’re working hard to build on our existing, multi-layered sustainability programme and look forward to working with A Greener Festival towards achieving ‘Greener Arena Certification’ for the OVO Hydro.

“We’re grateful to OVO for their support towards this incredibly important consultation and certification process and look forward to working together to further strengthen our sustainability credentials, build upon the work we have already done, and make Scotland’s flagship entertainment venue as low impact as possible.”

The work with OVO and AGF will build on sustainability initiatives already in place across the SEC campus, which includes a sustainable food strategy, a pivot to digital ticketing and a long-standing partnership with conservation charity Trees for Life.

The SEC campus comprises the OVO Hydro, SEC Armadillo (cap. 3,000) and SEC Centre (cap. 13,000).

 


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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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SEC goes local with new food strategy

The host of COP26, the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) in Glasgow, has announced its a new sustainable food strategy which will see it source at least 80% of produce from within Scotland and only use reusable or recyclable packaging by 2023.

The renewed approach has been developed over the past two years with its official catering and hospitality partner Levy UK + I, the sports, and hospitality division of Compass Group UK and Ireland. All produce will be sourced from high-welfare producers with sustainable agriculture processes.

As part of the new food strategy, SEC will champion high quality, environmentally friendly local suppliers in areas such as fruit and vegetables, meat and bread. The food and drink offering at the landmark Glasgow venue will offer a broader range of plant-based options alongside premium and low-impact, local animal protein sources.

“As our industry gears up to restart, there is no better time to drive forward positive change.”

The venue is also making strides in the fight against food waste and aims to have reduced kitchen wastage to under 1% of food purchases by 2025 or sooner. Food waste will continue to be diverted from landfill to anaerobic digestion processing.

SEC donates surplus non-perishable food to local charity Launch Foods. In 2020, SEC donated around 10,000 food items to the charity who distribute it through local community organisations and schools.

Debbie McWilliams, Director of Live Entertainment at SEC, said: “Our new food strategy is an integral part of our commitment to reducing the environmental impact of events that take place on our Campus.

“As our industry gears up to restart, there is no better time to drive forward positive change. We are proud to have a strong and ambitious strategy in place to help us champion the very best of sustainably sourced Scottish produce on the international stage.”

The new food strategy has been implemented ahead of SEC hosting the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), taking place from 1–12 November 2021.

 


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The LGBTIQ+ List 2021: Lauren Kirkpatrick, DF Concerts

The LGBTIQ+ List 2021 – IQ’s first annual celebration of queer professionals who make an immense impact in the international live music business – was published in the inaugural Pride edition (issue 101) this month.

The 20 individuals comprising the LGBTIQ+ List 2021, as nominated by our readers and verified by our esteemed steering committee, have gone above and beyond to wave the flag for an industry that we can all be proud of.

To get to know this year’s queer pioneers a little better, IQ asked each individual to share their challenges, triumphs, advice and more. Each day this month, we’ll publish a new interview with an individual on the LGBTIQ+ List 2021. Catch up on the previous interview with Sean Hill, director of tour marketing at UTA in the UK here.

 


Lauren Kirkpatrick
she/her
Promoter assistant, DF Concerts
Glasgow, Scotland
[email protected]

Tell us about a personal triumph in your career.
Having a helping hand in TRNSMT and achieving the Silver Award for accessibility with Attitude is Everything is a top highlight for me. A lot of hard work went into that project and seeing it from the start to completion was an extremely proud moment. When we first started TRNSMT Festival in 2017, our accessible platform allowed for 100 people, and then, in 2019, we had the capacity for 300 people. I couldn’t believe the size of the platform when I stood on it for the first time. It was almost as big as the main stage!

What advice could you give for young queer professionals?
Never let your sexuality be a barrier to your success. I’m a 24-year-old lesbian working in a department with five straight men, which was quite intimidating at first. It took me some time before realising that my situation wasn’t something to be apprehensive about but, instead, something to thrive from. Nobody else will go out and get opportunities for you so you need to do what is right for you every single time.

“It’s not only down to the LGBTQI+ community to try and evoke change”

Tell us about a professional challenge you often come across as a queer person.
I think for many queer people there is that fear of being likened to a pre-existing stereotype. That is ultimately why I kept my sexuality quiet for around a year until people got to know me without it being a factor. I always worried that I’d be judged for being a lesbian as opposed to my capability for the job. Thinking back on it now, it was quite a challenging time for me.

What one thing could the industry do to be more inclusive?
We need more straight allies to be vocal about diversity within the industry. It’s not only down to the LGBTQI+ community to try and evoke change. When a company supports its employees regardless of their sexuality and gender, it’ll empower people and set a standard across the industry, which will, hopefully, pave the way for mass change.

“I think for many queer people there is that fear of being likened to a pre-existing stereotype”

A cause you support.
Equality Network. They aim to achieve equality and improve the human rights of the LGBTQI+ community in Scotland. They work towards providing opportunities for people to become engaged in making Scotland a place for everyone, no matter their sexual orientation or gender. They want people to live free from hatred, prejudice and discrimination.

What does the near future of the industry look like?
Hopefully more gigs than ever before! We can’t wait to get back to doing what we do best – bringing live music into people’s lives. In Scotland, our last live music event was in March 2020, so we are all so excited to get back into a venue as soon as possible.

How could the industry build back better, post-pandemic?
In my opinion, music is the most powerful form of art and its way of communicating a message can be unparalleled. Having role models in the music business who promote positive messages about diversity and success will make people feel like having a career in music is absolutely achievable no matter what anyone may say.

 


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Scottish industry slams gov’s reopening roadmap

The Scottish live industry has dubbed the government’s roadmap out of lockdown ‘meaningless’ and ‘vague’ for the return of live entertainment.

According to the NME, the government has confirmed that from 17 May, socially distanced indoor performances will be allowed to take place with up to 100 attendees while outdoor events and festivals can welcome up to 500 people.

The next phase of reopening will commence in early June when those numbers will hopefully increase to 200 people for indoor venues and 1,000 for outdoor events.

“It’s currently meaningless for the viability of live entertainment in Scotland”

By the end of June, it is hoped that event organisers will be able to host events for up to 400 indoors and 2000 outdoors – although higher capacities will be open to negotiation.

Sturgeon has not yet disclosed a provisional date for the ending of social distancing restrictions – while British prime minister Boris Johnson is poised to lift all restrictions by 21 June.

Commenting on the roadmap, Geoff Ellis, CEO of DF Concerts – Scotland’s biggest concert promoter and owner of King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut (cap. 300) in Glasgow – told IQ: “It’s currently meaningless for the viability of live entertainment in Scotland. A maximum of 100 people indoors and all physically distanced is under 20 people in King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut – to put it into context.

“The Scottish music industry remains closed and in a more precarious position than in England and Wales”

“We need Scottish government to give us a proper roadmap that goes beyond ‘level 0 by end of June’ as that still means physical distancing will be in place. However, based on common sense and logic arising from the progress being made in Scotland with both the suppression of the virus and the roll-out of the vaccine programme, I am very optimistic for shows without restrictions by the late summer – at the very latest in good time for our TRNSMT festival at full capacity.

“Meanwhile though, the Scottish music industry remains closed and in a more precarious position than its counterparts in England and Wales due to a lack of further committed funding from Scottish government.”

Donald MacLeod – MD of Holdfast Entertainment Group, promoter at CPL, and owner of Glasgow-based clubs The Garage and the Cathouse Rock Club – told IQ: “The latest ‘draft’ guidance from the Scottish government on social distancing for the hospitality sector is as clear as mud, and a cut and paste socially distanced shambles.

“The latest ‘draft’ guidance on social distancing for the hospitality sector is as clear as mud”

“It is obvious that whoever drafted them has not one scintilla of business sense or an ounce of care for the sector, whose operators are desperate and struggling to make ends meet in these exacting times. For venue owners, promoters, managers, bands and of course Scotland’s battalions of live music fans, with the Scottish government still not committing or even discussing with the sector indictive re-opening dates, pilot test events, and contemptuously refusing to include them in the strategic opening Tier Levels, I fear the worst. This is not a roadmap to recovery but an industry car crash.

“Now that we have the vaccine, the peddling of fear and caution from the government and their army of health advisors must stop and replaced with a concerted and confident drive back to normality, otherwise Scotland’s hospitality and live music industries will become a cultural wasteland.”

The uncertainty surrounding the potential Covid restrictions that may be in place in summer has already caused a number of major Scottish festivals to cancel, including The Belladrum Tartan Heart (July) and Glasgow’s Summer Nights (July/August).

However, DF Concerts is set to go ahead with TRNSMT between 10–12 September on Glasgow Green with headliners Courteeners, Liam Gallagher and The Chemical Brothers, as well as Edinburgh’s Summer Sessions in early August with headliners DMAs, Tom Jones, Anne-Marie and Travis.

 


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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”

Promoters
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.


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