Belfast Telegraph

T in the Park to 'take a break' in 2017 as organisers bid to resolve site issues

T in the Park is to "take a break" in 2017 as organisers bid to resolve issues around its recent move to a new site.

Scotland's biggest music festival has been staged at the Strathallan Castle estate in Perthshire for the last two years after it was forced to move from its previous long-term base at nearby Balado.

The move was hit by a battle for planning permission and major transport congestion, leading to restrictions which organiser DF Concerts described as "simply not workable".

The first version of the festival was held at Strathclyde Park in the outskirts of Glasgow in 1994 and there has been suggestions that a new music event is being planned by T in the Park bosses for Glasgow Green in July 2017, but no details have been confirmed.

A statement by DF Concerts and partner Tennent's Lager said: " For over 23 years, T in the Park has been at the heart of Scotland's music scene - with you by our side. But for now, sadly, we need to take a break."

It added : "The last couple of years have had their challenges. Against our will, and despite a prolonged fight, we were forced to move from Balado, Kinross, in 2015.

"This move was a mammoth task for the event and one that was compounded by a series of onerous site restrictions placed upon us as preparations for the event in 2015 took place."

Planning permission was secured for the festival just months before it was first held at Strathallan, with some local residents and environmental groups objecting due to its proximity to a protected osprey nest.

Transport in and out of the new site also became an issue with long delays.

The statement continued: " As the build-up to the festival was well under way, we were informed by Scottish Government ministers that we would have to apply for full planning permission due to the presence of an unregistered, but protected in law, osprey's nest.

"The constraints - logistically and financially - that the resulting planning conditions put upon us are simply not workable.

"We tried our best to work with the pressures placed upon the site by bringing in an additional team and fixing the first year traffic issues, but ultimately we're not in control of the overall site layout and the continued restrictions means that the negative impact on our fans and the limitations placed on their experience is too great.

"We now need to take stock and take a year out to try to resolve the issues so that we can once again deliver the kind of camping festival you are used to and deserve."

RSPB Scotland, who fought to protect osprey nests near the Strathallan site, said it is disappointed the festival will not be staged in 2017 and hopes it will return.

Head of planning Aedan Smith said: "RSPB Scotland worked hard to help ensure that the event could go ahead in 2015 and 2016, while minimising the impacts the festival would have on the wildlife that the site had been home to for many years.

"The fact that the osprey nest that had been on the site for a number of years was able to continue to be successful, and fledge chicks, illustrates how nature and development can often successfully coexist where there is a willingness on all sides to carry out activities responsibly."

Two people died at the event this summer before any acts took to the stage.

Peter McCallum and Megan Bell, both 17, died in the campsite in what were reportedly drug-related incidents.

Police also launched a rape investigation at the festival this year following an attack on an 18-year-old, while a cash machine containing a ''significant'' amount of cash was stolen from the main arena.

The Red Hot Chilli Peppers were the last act to perform at the 2016 festival with other headliners including the Stone Roses and Calvin Harris.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: "T in the Park has been an important festival in Scotland's annual portfolio of events for over two decades and we are disappointed that the event organisers have taken the decision not to stage it next year.

"The Scottish Government has worked with the event's organisers in relation to the relocation of the event to Strathallan, including providing grant funding for related transitional costs.

"We hope the organisers can address some of the challenges they have encountered recently to allow the festival to return in the near future."


From Belfast Telegraph