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Local council lays into T In The Park 2015, demands changes if 2016 edition is to go ahead

By | Published on Friday 22 January 2016

T In The Park

The recent announcement that T In The Park promoter DF Concerts had hired two former police officers to help overhaul the operational side of its big festival was clearly, in part, pre-empting a report by Perth & Kinross Council on the event’s first year at its new site, which concludes that “the event will not be allowed to proceed” in 2016 unless significant changes are made.

As previously reported, T In The Park’s move to the Strathallan Estate in Perthshire was controversial from the start, though the event was ultimately given the green light by the local authority Perth & Kinross Council. After the event, DF initially said that it’d had a “great first year at Strathallan”, but subsequently admitted that there had been some operational issues.

Then, when announcing its new recruits last week, DF said that it was now busy working on a “full improvement plan” ahead of the 2016 edition of T In The Park. Event Manager Colin Rodger added: “We have listened to every single comment and we thank everyone for their valuable input. We’re now focused on delivering the 2016 festival and we know where we need to improve. By restructuring the management of key areas, such as the site and security, we will solve issues from last year’s event”.

A new report on last year’s T festival from Perth & Kinross Council outlines in more detail what those “issues” were. According to The Scotsman, the report cites “traffic congestion, concerns over crowd safety inside the arena and campsite security, and disruption to residents”, and criticises “last-minute changes to the event’s layout, infrastructure, transport plans and security arrangements, as well as repeated breaches of the event’s planning permission”.

The paper adds that the Council’s Environment Director Barbara Renton has said that, while the local authority always tries to take a “can do approach” to major events in the region, T In The Park would now be treated differently “until DF can demonstrate their capability to effectively manage this event in future”. Getting a licence for its 2016 edition will be dependent on demonstrating those capabilities.

Renton concluded: “Council staff will need substantial reassurances and evidence from DF that detailed plans will be prepared on time, and the event will be delivered more effectively, before officers could have confidence in recommending it takes place at Strathallan again. Officers had a high degree of confidence in DF Concerts and expected that organisers could manage fundamental event requirements such as stewarding and signage. This confidence has been undermined following management of TITP 2015. There requires to be a recalibration of the relationship with DF Concerts”.

Although the report may provide new ammunition for those that opposed the move of T In The Park to the Strathallan Estate in the first place, none of it will come as a surprise to DF, which is already very busy trying to rise to the local council’s challenge, not least with the appointment of former Police Scotland officers Colin Brown and Ian Martin to handle security and traffic management respectively. Experienced festival production firm APL Events has also been hired to look after site management. Whether these, and other appointments and changes, will satisfy Renton and her colleagues, remains to be seen.