Dundee council officials turned down a bid to host major gigs by Fatboy Slim and Biffy Clyro, The Courier can reveal.
DF Concerts wanted to hold its Summer Sessions festival over two weekends in June 2022, instead of one.
Emails seen by The Courier – obtained through Freedom of Information – show the events firm was keen to book Slessor Gardens for both June 11-12 and June 18-19 that year.
Fatboy Slim and Biffy Clyro were ‘seriously interested’ in Dundee gigs
With Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds already close to being confirmed for the opening night, DF Concerts told Dundee City Council that “the following weekend is looking good too with Fatboy Slim and Biffy Clyro both seriously interested”.
The firm also said Catfish and the Bottlemen were being lined up for the first weekend – though Stereophonics ended up in their place.
The unnamed worker from DF Concerts described the plans as “all very exciting” in the emails dating from September 2021.
‘Do you really need both weekends?’
But a response from the council’s principal events officer put the brakes on DF’s hopes of hosting two weekends of live music in 2022.
The council official said: “Woah, I thought there was only one of those weekends in planning!
“The space (Slessor Gardens) doesn’t really survive long use, and I’ll have to get clearance for an additional weekend of activity.
“We’re over our three-weekend quota which has sound nuisance implications.”
The council events official added: “Do you really need both (weekends)?
“I can see you do, and it’s great, but it never rains but it pours.”
DF explained that a second weekend was “looking more achievable” than it initially thought.
Two days later, Dundee City Council emailed DF Concerts to say: “Reluctantly I’m going to say it does cause a problem, I’m sorry.”
Dundee council official ‘sad to direct act towards Edinburgh’
The council official added that they were “so sad to direct” an act, whose name was redacted, “towards Edinburgh”.
That December, it was revealed that both Fatboy Slim and Biffy Clyro would be playing 2022 concerts at the Royal Highland Centre in Edinburgh.
The council worker’s email added: “I’m under pressure around city disruption in that space, and can’t over-programme it.”
The venue already had two weekends of events from other promoters booked in for 2022 – a May weekend for Sausage and Cider Festival and Ibiza Orchestra Live, and a July weekend for gigs by Simply Red and Paloma Faith.
DF Concerts eyed Summer Sessions dates for 2023 and 2024
Meanwhile, the emails also reveal how DF Concerts wanted to pencil in dates for Dundee Summer Sessions to be held in both 2023 and 2024.
However, the council appeared reluctant to commit to 2024 in particular due to concerns about building work taking place near the venue.
While discussing potential dates, the local authority’s events officer told DF Concerts: “I can’t do more than light pencil 2024, we have building work taking place and we may have a residential property to consider right adjacent to the event site.”
Later correspondence showed the council had identified a potential 2024 date for the concerts but that it “needs to be cautious about taking a booking”.
No further emails were exchanged between the council and DF Concerts regarding the 2023 and 2024 proposals, according to the chain of messages supplied to The Courier.
Discussions instead turned to arrangements for the 2022 event.
No Summer Sessions were held at any Scottish location in 2023 as the festival took a break.
Then it emerged that DF Concerts did not plan on running Dundee Summer Sessions concerts in 2024 – despite expanding the festival to new locations including Stirling, as well as returning to Glasgow and Edinburgh.
It has not been confirmed whether building work on Site 6 next to Slessor Gardens ultimately had implications, or if DF has chosen not to return to Dundee for other reasons.
The promoter has been contacted for comment.
Council ‘needs to minimise disruption’ around Slessor Gardens events
A Dundee City Council spokesperson said: “We continue to work with promoters to deliver a range of events at Slessor Gardens for people of the city to enjoy.
“The council and partners need to ensure public safety when concerts are staged at Slessor Gardens.
“There is also a need to minimise disruption to the city as road closures are needed for major events.
“Well-run events enliven the city and we are keen to work with promoters to achieve this.”
The revelations come after emails showed the chaos behind ill-fated plans to bring Winterfest back to Dundee for 2023.