Festival guru Geoff Ellis has dropped the strongest hint yet that T in the Park may never return.
The DF Concerts boss, who launched the iconic festival in 1994, said any replacement camping event would be “very different”.
In an interview with an events industry magazine, Mr Ellis suggested it may be at least two years before any decision is made on a new show, which would likely be aimed at an older audience.
On Friday, Mr Ellis’s Glasgow-based TRNSMT festival — held on the traditional T in the Park weekend in July — was named best new event at the UK Festival Awards in London.
Last month, it was announced that TRNSMT will return in 2018, spread across two weekends.
However, DF Concerts has so far kept tight-lipped about T in the Park’s future.
The long-running festival was shelved after two problematic years at its new home in Strathallan Castle.
Speaking to Events Base magazine, Mr Ellis said: “I think what we come back with will be something very different.
“If you take two years out of the market and you go back in, you probably want to refresh everything.
“That’s not to say we won’t be back with a camping festival — at some point we will be back with a camping festival — but we’re not jumping up and down to do it in 2018.”
He said: “Whatever we do in the future, I think we will probably aim it at an older market as well.
“With the last three or four years of T in the Park, we were seeing people not coming back year-on-year, whereas people did the surveys and said: ‘Yeah I had a great time, I can’t wait to be back next year.’
“It’s not because they didn’t have a good time, but because they’ve done it, they’ve ticked the box and they want to go somewhere else.”
Mr Ellis added: “As a festival organiser, that’s something you’ve got to learn quickly because it used to be about making sure people had a good time and wanted to come back next year. Now it’s about getting a whole new audience (each time).”
T in the Park was forced to move out of its traditional home at Balado, near Kinross, amid health and safety fears about a pipeline running underneath the site.
But the flit to Strathallan Castle was plagued by traffic and antisocial behaviour problems, as well as the cost of protecting nesting ospreys.
“It’s been the most trying time of my professional life,” said Mr Ellis. “I think that’s true of everybody in the company.
“The risk is infinitesimal that the pipeline could blow up. An independent report concluded that there was a likelihood of failure at one-in-four-and-a-half million years, so you are as likely to be eaten by a dinosaur.”
On Saturday, The Courier revealed that a new music event was being planned for Scone Palace in May 2018.
Organisers Festival Republic, which ran Glastonbury for 10 years, are keeping details of the show under wraps.