TRNSMT boss: Gigs impossible even with 1m social distancing

Geoff Ellis says the SSE Hydro could only open at 30% capacity and many smaller venues could go under.

The boss of one of Scotland’s major music festivals has warned concerts will not be able to go ahead even if social distancing is halved to one metre.

Geoff Ellis said the SSE Hydro in Glasgow would only be able to open at 30% of its capacity with social distancing in place, and he suggested many small venues could go under.

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme, the TRNSMT festival director said the annual event boosts the Glasgow economy by £10m.

The 2020 event – which was due to take place on Glasgow Green from July 10-12 – has been cancelled due to the pandemic but many of the acts on the bill have already rebooked to appear in 2021 instead.

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Mr Ellis said: “If you go to a show at the SSE Hydro, you pay money for your ticket to see a fantastic show with lots of dancers, lights and effects, big screens.

“With one-metre social distancing none of that can happen because you’d have 30% of the audience spread over the whole venue, but there’d be no money to put on the show.”

Geoff Ellis, TRNSMT festival director

“With one-metre social distancing none of that can happen because you’d have 30% of the audience spread over the whole venue, but there’d be no money to put on the show.

“Approximately 85% of the revenue from a concert goes towards putting that concert on – be it stewards, medical staff, the bands on the stage, the dancers on a Kylie Minogue show etc.”

Mr Ellis said small venues, such as King Tut’s, are the lifeblood of the industry but many of them will be forced to close.

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He said: “That’s where the Lewis Capaldis, the Paolo Nutinis, the Biffy Clyros all cut their teeth at venues like King Tut’s and the equivalent kind of venues throughout the UK.

His comments come after artists including Ed Sheeran, The Rolling Stones and Sir Paul McCartney were among 1500 others to call for urgent Government action to support the music industry.

An open letter addressed to UK Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden says the sector is at imminent risk of suffering “mass insolvencies”, with concerts and festivals unlikely to return until 2021 at the earliest.

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