T in the Park 'supremely confident', expects positive outcome
As T in the Park awaits its fate, the festival remains highly upbeat despite opposition and osprey controversy
T in the Park remain confident the festival will go ahead, despite rumours it will not continue if it cannot take place at Strathallan Castle this July.
If Perth and Kinross Council side with those opposed to the new site due to environmental issues, there are concerns that the festival may be finished, particularly following recent comments on BBC Radio by Geoff Ellis of DF Concerts. Public consultation about the plans ends Fri 24 Apr, but the council will still have to debate the issue at a meeting expected to take place next month.
The List caught up with a T in the Park spokesperson who allayed fears about the possible outcome of that meeting. ‘We know that the final decision on the planning application will be May but we don’t have confirmation of the exact date. We’re supremely confident that we’ve gone over and above to show that Strathallan is the right site for T in the Park and we expect the decision to be positive – albeit, not without some conditions.’
This year was to be the first at the festival's new site, after uprooting from Balado where it has been held since 1997. However, concerns about Strathallan's suitability have been mounting since a video was given to RSPB Scotland from Strathallan T Action Group, allegedly showing ospreys returning to their nests. As ospreys are a protected species they cannot, by law, be disturbed while nesting. However, T in the Park is regarded as one of the greenest festivals in the UK, being the only big UK fest to receive an A Greener Festival Award (seven years in a row) and last year Scottish Environment Protection Agency commended the festival for the work they did at their Balado site, which was next to Loch Leven, a site of scientific interest.
‘It’s important to us that we do everything we can to continue this,' explained the T in the Park spokesperson, 'and we’re confident that the information presented in our planning application and environmental statement shows that we have thoroughly assessed every possible scenario with regards to wildlife and the environment of the site. We’ve submitted Species Protection Plans – even for wildlife that are not currently there – with contingency that will work not just this year but for many years to come. Our aspiration is to ensure the protection of Strathallan’s environment in the long-term and to leave nothing but happy memories behind.’
Speaking to BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland, Ellis had addressed the possibility that the festival could go ahead in another location. As has been widely reported, he seemed to shoot down the idea, saying: 'I don't think there is a venue without going very far north in Scotland. I don't think it would carry on if we didn't host it at Strathallan this year.'
Clarifying these comments, our T in the Park spokesperson is adamant this is not the case: ‘The point that Geoff was making is that the logic of the Woodlands Trust says that a major outdoor event cannot exist side by side with wildlife and nature. If we are to agree with this, then we might as well say that no music festivals or events can take place in the Scottish countryside. But, we don’t agree with this. We chose Strathallan as our new site because we believe it is the right place for T in the Park and we believe that we’ve presented robust plans that show it can host the festival while protecting the environment.’
If T in the Park fans would like to show support for the festival’s future, they can submit a comment to Perth and Kinross Council.