Scotland’s biggest events promoter says alcohol sponsorship ban will be “disastrous” for industry

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DF Concerts & Events, Scotland’s biggest live music promoter, has warned that planned proposals to ban alcohol sponsorship of live events will cause widespread damage the live music industry.

In an official Scottish Government consultation on proposals to restrict alcohol advertising and promotion, TRNSMT and DF Concerts’ Summer Sessions – both promoted by DF – have been named as in a response.

Geoff Ellis, DF’s chief executive said that the regulations would “harm the Scottish economy, harm Scottish artists, harm Scottish businesses, reduce tourism and leave Scotland in a weakened position”.

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He warned that there would be “huge job losses” and predicted that the prices of tickets for events would skyrocket and lead crowds to head southwards to England to see live music.

In a letter seen by The Glasgow Times, Ellis wrote: “This letter Is not intended to ignore or try to dismiss the fact that there are problem drinkers in Scotland.

“Rather, it is to implore the Scottish Government not to pursue the misguided proposal to ban all forms of alcohol marketing sponsorship,” he continued.

“It is not advertising and sponsorship that are the cause of the problem.”

He went on to say that T in the Park, which was Scotland’s biggest festival when it was held between 1994 and 2016 and named after its main sponsor Tennent’s, would not have been able to happen in the first place were it not for alcohol promotion.

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Ellis said: “A proposed restriction on alcohol sponsorship and advertising will be nothing short of disastrous for Scotland’s live music industry.

“Many live music venues will be forced to close and those that remain will need to increase ticket prices considerably, hurting Scottish music fans disproportionately compared to those elsewhere in the UK,” he added.

“Without doubt, as festivals and venues disappear, Scottish audiences will flock to England and the country will lose the benefit of attracting fans from the rest of the UK and further afield, as it will have no music festivals of note.”

A spokesperson for the Scottish Government responded to Ellis’s claims. They told the Glasgow Times: “The consultation is open until 9 March and no decisions have been taken. All views and responses will be given serious and thorough consideration.

“Reducing the exposure of children to alcohol promotion is a priority,” it continued.

“There’s clear evidence which shows adverts glamorising drinking can encourage young people to drink alcohol and can also have a detrimental impact on those in recovery from alcohol use.”

Isaac Muk is Mixmag’s Digital Intern, follow him on Twitter

Written by: Tim Hopkins

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