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Row over council proposal for park events surcharge

12 April 2019

DF CONCERTS has threatened to scrap its Glasgow festivals and start new ones in other locations if city authorities insists on imposing a proposed per capita tax on outdoor events.

Last month Glasgow City Council approved a budget for the current tax year which included raising £650,000 from an environmental levy for the upkeep of parks, from tickets for events that take place in them.

Councillors proposed to charge event organisers £2.50 per ticket sold, plus up to 10 per cent in administration costs.

If enacted, the levy would hit DF’s 50,000-capacity TRNSMT, set to featured George Ezra, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Bastille and Stormzy, as well as its Summer Sessions (cap. 35,000) concerts, to be headlined by The Cure, Foo Fighters and The 1975.

Charity events and even marathons could also be affected.

“The fans can’t afford this and if they could, we would already be charging them,” DF CEO Geoff Ellis tells LIVE UK. “And we can’t afford to swallow as it would make Glasgow parks more expensive per head than an indoor arena with full facilities.

“For the initial onsale of TRNSMT this year, we actually reduced the price of a weekend ticket to significantly below the 2017 and 2018 prices, because the economy is in such a bad place.”

Ellis says the levy will lead to fewer Glasgow events and the loss of “tens of millions of pounds” to the local economy and council coffers.

“They haven’t thought it all through properly, especially regarding VAT and PRS and whether either or both are applicable on top,” he says.

“We are hoping to have some discussions with them soon, as are other event organisers presumably including the council’s own sports and culture ALEO [Arms Length External Organisation] Glasgow Life, that bids for sporting events to come to the city such as marathons and bike races.

“We hope that we can make them see sense for the good of the city and it’s economy. But if they don’t, then events won’t be sustainable unless they are very small capacities on high ticket prices.”

Tickets to TRNSMT cost £155, while Summer Sessions passes start from £45.

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