Politician In Hot Water Over TITP Funds

Scottish culture secretary Fiona Hyslop was grilled during an education and culture committee Sept. 29 regarding her approval of £150,000 in state aid to the popular T In The Park festival.

Photo: Courtesy DF Concerts
The Libertines  

She defended the decision. “I’m standing up for T in the Park,” she said at the Holyrood committee, according to The Guardian. “My interest is the economic interest of this country and the cultural offering we have got for generations of young people, and the development of the contemporary music scene in Scotland.”

In the lead-up to the event, the government said the funds were a one-off payment to help TITP relocate. After last year’s 85,000-capacity sellout on the old site at Balado, where it’d been for 18 years, it was revealed that oil and gas pipelines running beneath the site meant it was unsafe to host further TITPs.

Festival organiser DF Concerts eventually found a new site at Strathallan Castle.

During the committee, Hyslop suggested that DF Concerts warned that the festival could be forced to leave Scotland if “severely reduced revenues” associated with the relocation were not dealt with. Last year a survey by EKOS showed that TITP generates £2.7 million for the local economy and £15.4 for Scotland as a whole.

SNP MSP Chic Brodie was skeptical, saying, “I disavow the notion that T in the Park, which is conjoined with Scotland … would move.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP Liam McArthur said Hyslop’s evidence was “flimsy.”

“We are still no closer to understanding why a profitable company received state aid, or whether all other revenue streams were exhausted, including from the event’s key sponsor, before seeking £150,000 of public money from the Scottish government,” McArthur said, according to the Guardian.

Festival chief Geoff Ellis previously told Pollstar the government money was hardly secret and “a relatively small contribution to the huge costs of moving site.”

After getting the go-ahead despite a pair of ospreys, a protected species, appearing to set up nests near the site and therefore threatening the festival altogether, the newly moved TITP fell victim to bad weather and the usual 85,000-strong per-day crowd dropped to 75,000.

The lineup included Sam Smith, Avicii, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, and Kasabian.

Ellis told Pollstar, “Meanwhile the Ospreys are hounding me as to who we are booking for next year as they want to invite their pals.”