Scotland’s leading music promoter has said Dundee could host bigger and better outdoor concerts if council bosses in Glasgow press ahead with plans for a new events tax.
Geoff Ellis, head of T in the Park and TRNSMT promoters DF Concerts, said Dundee “is very keen” on bringing large scale outdoor events to the city and could benefit if Glasgow City Council does bring in an outdoor entertainment tax which would add “hundreds of thousands” of pounds to the cost of staging a gig.
Mr Ellis, whose company helped organise last year’s 3D Festival to mark the opening of V&A Dundee, said the new tax would add £2.50 to the price of a ticket for any outdoor event in Glasgow.
Last year Mr Ellis said his company was keen to stage some kind of outdoor music event in Dundee and had been looking at potential venues.
Around 10,000 people attended a free concert in Slessor Gardens headlined by Scottish legends Primal Scream to mark the opening of V&A Dundee.
Slessor Gardens has also hosted a number of open air concerts over the past two and a half years while Camperdown Park hosted Radio 1’s Big Weekend in 2006, as well as Carnival 56 two years ago.
Mr Ellis said: “It is of concern to me, and should be to everyone involved in tourism and culture in Glasgow, 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.
“My objection to this tax is that of a fully-fledged business member of Glasgow’s culture and tourism community.
“I have some difficult decisions to make about the outdoor events that I run in Glasgow, which last year saw over a quarter of a million people attend, many of whom came from outside of the city, generating an economic impact in excess of £10 million.
“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.
“If you’re an event organiser you’re going to go to these places ahead of Glasgow. As long as they put this tax in place, Glasgow’s going to suffer and it will be to the benefit of other cities.
“It’s well-meaning, but ill-conceived and short sighted of the council to introduce a tax of £2.50 on anyone attending an event with a commercial aspect in the city’s parks, including free events across the city.”
Mr Ellis said promoters already pay substantial sums to meet the costs of staging large scale events.
This year’s TRNSMT festival in Glasgow will take place from July 12 to 14 and will be headlined by Stormzy, Catfish and the Bottlemen, George Ezra and Snow Patrol.
DF Concerts also staged the T in the Park festival until it was put on indefinite hiatus in 2016 after its switch from Balado to Strathallan Castle Estate.