The Scottish culture secretary Fiona Hyslop has appeared before a government committee to defend her decision to give this year’s T in the Park festival organizers £150,000 ($225,000) of state funding.
Earlier this year it emerged that event promoters DF Concerts had received a one-off grant to help finance the festival’s relocation from its longtime home of Balado in Kinross to Strathallan Castle in Perthshire. Those revelations drew fierce criticism from members of parliament, who questioned whether public funds should be spent on an established and popular three day music festival that regularly attracts an audience of around 85,000.
Hyslop, who is a senior figure in the Scottish National Party (SNP), also faced accusations of ‘cronyism’ due to her links to DF Concerts’ project manager Jennifer Dempsie — a former aid to Scottish SNP politician Alex Salmond — who helped facilitate the introduction of festival promoter Geoff Ellis to the Culture secretary.
Responding to those charges, Hyslop today told Holyrood’s education and culture committee that the funding was appropriate, transparent and in line with grants given to other cultural and entertainment events, the BBC reports.
Defending her actions, Hyslop went on to say that organizers had expressed concern to her over the cost of moving the long-running festival from Balado to Strathallan and that there was a risk that T in the Park could be forced to move out of Scotland as a result — claims that were reportedly greeted with derision by members of the committee.
“My interest is the economic interest of this country and the cultural offering we have got for generations of young people and the development of the contemporary music scene in Scotland,” insisted Hyslop. She continued to say her decision to financially support the event was based on protecting the “longer-term viability of the event.”
A spokesperson for DF Concerts could not be reached at press time. This year’s T in the Park took place July 10-12 and featured Kasabian, the Libertines, Avicii and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds among its headline performers.