The boss of TRNSMT denounces the “fear of the project” by calling for an end to social distancing
Music promoter Geoff Ellis blasted what he called the Scottish government’s ‘fear of the project’ approach to dealing with the pandemic while calling for a firm date on which Scotland can abandon social distancing measures which crippled the industry.
The Managing Director of DF Concerts also said he was “extremely confident” that the TRNSMT Glasgow festival would take place in September. He further revealed he is working to organize at least three new events which will take place in 2022 which he says will be “one of the busiest on record” for Scotland.
Speaking at a virtual event hosted by the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, Mr Ellis warned Scotland lost to England, where June 21 was given as the most likely date for the social distancing will end. No such date has been given in Scotland.
“The Scottish government thinks the UK government is going to fall on its face, it’s obvious and we all know it,” he said. “However, they have confidence in England so even though there has been a delay of a few weeks, even if other caveats come into play, the confidence is there.
“So what we are seeing is we are seeing artists, we are seeing suppliers taking work in England and not in Scotland because they can get the engagements in England after June 21 that don’t exist in Scotland. The conferences are moving to England because they can get assurances that they will be able to take place in October, November and December – assurances that no one can give in Scotland.
Although the gigantic Glastonbury Festival was canceled for a second year, tickets for events such as Manchester’s Parklife, Creamfields, and the Reading and Leeds festivals sold out in record time with ‘record sales north of the border ”. By contrast, ticket sales in Scotland remain sluggish due to what Mr Ellis described as the ‘fear of the project’ led by national clinical director Jason Leitch.
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“In England nightclubs are hopeful of reopening,” he said. “In Scotland, not only do they have no hope of a reopening date, but they are constantly referred to by Jason Leitch as dark and grimy basements.
“It’s not sure, it’s not acceptable. A public official shouldn’t say that, shouldn’t paint such a bleak picture of aspects of our event industry. ”
He added: “We are not allowed to hope, we are not allowed to dream, we cannot plan any event without social distancing. Scotland needs that confidence, we need a four nation approach. – it is essential because companies suffer needlessly. ”
The TRNSMT boss said he expects that once the UK government confirms the date for the end of social distancing in England, Scotland will follow with its own date for two weeks thereafter. To do otherwise would not be rational, he explained, especially when there are no restrictions for people traveling between England and Scotland.
“I think that would be completely unacceptable, but I also think it is very untenable that the Reading Festival can be held with 90,000 people, most of them camping, without social distancing, and we are not allowed to do an event. at the Hydro, or an event at the Royal Concert Hall for 2,000 people, ”Mr. Ellis said. “I don’t think the Scottish public would accept this.”
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He said he was “extremely confident” that TRNSMT – starring The Courteeners, Liam Gallagher and The Chemical Brothers – will take place this year in Glasgow Green. However, some type of Covid status certification will likely be required for those who wish to attend.
He said he was even more reassured about the situation next year, when the crucial issue of purchasing insurance for major events should hopefully be resolved.
Mr Ellis had hoped to launch another ‘not to TRNSMT’s scale’ festival this year, but those plans have been pushed back to 2022: “This is going to be a bit of a refresh from a previous festival I did in the past, so I’m very excited about it.
He’s also working on a few new, smaller events for next year, one hosting about 7,000 people and the other about 10,000 people. Meanwhile, “a lot of shows” were originally slated to take place in 2020 – such as Green Day, Guns N Roses, and The Killers – have also moved to 2022.
“I know that trying to get dates at Murrayfield and Hampden as well it’s going to be very, very busy next year,” Mr. Ellis said. “There’s a lot to herald, in terms of big events, big festivals, big outdoor concerts, so this will likely be one of the busiest years on record for Scotland in 2022, and 2023 s’ announcement also very strong.