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T In The Park promoter’s profits slip in tricky site-shift year

By | Published on Friday 16 September 2016

T In The Park

Scottish live music business DF Concerts, best known as promoter of T In The Park, saw its pre-tax profits fall 42% last year, according to IQ, which has been delving into the firm’s latest filing with Companies House.

2015 was a challenging year for DF, of course, because of the relocation of T to a new site at Strathallan Castle. There were problems in the run up to the first event at the new location, in no small part caused by the local osprey population, while the event itself suffered from various logistical issues once up and running at its new home.

“It’s probably obvious to observers that moving site for one of the world’s biggest music festivals would cost significant amounts of money”, DF boss Geoff Ellis says about his company’s challenging 2015. “We were clear about this at the time of the move, and it’s why we asked for help”.

That help came in the form of a subsequently controversial £150,000 grant from the Scottish government. Though it was the ospreys rather than the controversy around the state funding for a pop festival that caused the bigger headache.

“The already high costs of the move were further, and significantly, increased by the late discovery of an unregistered osprey nest”, Ellis adds. “Which in itself has brought about an annual increase in operating costs of around £1 million per annum. It is ridiculous that these additional costs are due to the fact that we are constrained by and required to comply with onerous, inflexible full planning conditions – most of them not relating to the ospreys, but that are only necessary because of the ospreys. It really does beggar belief”.

Wow, that’s a lot of money because of the presence of ospreys. I hope the birds appreciate it. I bet they don’t. Bloody ospreys.

As previously reported, lots of changes were made ahead of this year’s edition of T In The Park, to overcome the various logistical problems in 2015, and to convince the local council that it should still have a licence to stage its big show on the Strathallan estate. DF is majority owned by Live Nation, and Melvin Benn from another Live Nation festival maker, Festival Republic – more experienced than most in placating concerned licensing committees – worked with Ellis to overcome the issues with the new site.

As a result, T In The Park is “back on track”, Ellis reckons, and as a result maybe the slip in profits at DF was a mere temporary wobble. Tennents Specials all round I say.