Perthshire Advertiser



For nearly 20 years, the second weekend in July was synonymous with T in the Park in Perth and Kinross.

In 1997, Scotland’s biggest music festival moved to Balado airfield for the first time.

It would stay there for 18 years, becoming one of the biggest festivals in the world.

Some of the biggest acts in music would head to Kinross-shire to play to one of the best crowds on the planet.

Oasis, Foo Fighters, REM, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Green Day, Blur and The Who were just a few of the stars who graced the stage.

In 2015, the festival moved to Strathalla­n Castle, also in Perth and Kinross.

But, rather than a new start, it proved to be the beginning of the end for the event.

The 2015 event had already been beset by issues before the gates opened.

Organisers insisted it had to move from Balado, but many fans and critics remained unconvince­d.

The PA reported that DF Concerts said the decision to pick Strathalla­n had been taken after a “meticulous” two-year investigat­ion to determine whether the site was suitable.

That was despite an initial survey of sites by Bell Ingram ranking Strathalla­n 12 out of the 14 of those looked at.

Flooding fears and issues with traffic were all raised in the run up to the event, and the siting of an osprey’s nest also left the plans hanging by a thread as the opening date of July 10 approached.

Organisers were even accused of trying to scare the ospreys off.

Eventually, with less than two months until the bands were to take the stage, the concert was given the go ahead despite 1600 objections being lodged with Perth and Kinross Council.

The headline acts were Kasabian, Avicii and Noel Gallagher and the High Flying Birds while the likes of The Prodigy, The Libertines, Stereophon­ics and Paloma Faith all entertaini­ng 60,000 fans on each of the three days.

But the festival continued to court controvers­y.

Heavy rain led to traffic issues on the Saturday night and, tragically, a 36-yearold man died while at the festival.

More than a dozen people appeared at Perth Sheriff Court on the Monday morning, mainly for drugrelate­d offences, although the total number of arrests was actually down.

The issues prompted Liz Smith MSP to call for an urgent review of the event.

But away from the controvers­y, the fans loved the music as they hailed another successful TITP.

Speaking at the time to the PA, T in the Park boss Geoff Ellis described the first year at Strathalla­n as “largely positive”.

He said: “Overall, it’s been a great first year at Strathalla­n — the bands were brilliant, the site looked wonderful and we know that the majority of people have had a fantastic time.

“We also know traffic queues coming in and out of the drop-off points have left some people frustrated and we apologise for this because we want the experience to be positive for everyone from start to finish.

“Years of infrastruc­ture and tried and tested plans at Balado means that our audience is used to a very quick exit from the site — which is not the norm for most other major events around the country. We’ll take lessons from this year and will work on improving the times for the future.

“We thank fans for their co-operation.

“We’re also delighted to say that the site’s very own high-flying birds, a family of four osprey, have been undisturbe­d by the festival and there has been no change in their behaviour during the event.”

But the truth was that TITP was already in its final days.

The festival would take place again in 2016, but again there were issues getting the public entertainm­ent licence. Further deaths as well as a report of a rape and a cash machine being stolen saw criticism of the festival intensify.

This proved to be the last TITP and it seems unlikely it will ever be revived, with DF Concerts focusing on the TRNSMT festival in Glasgow.

It was a sorry end, but there is little doubt, at its best, TITP in Perth and Kinross could not be beaten.

 ??  ?? Headline act Noel Gallagher in 2015
Headline act Noel Gallagher in 2015

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