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The History of T in the Park

T in the Park - Scotland's biggest and brightest phenomenon

T in the Park - Scotland's biggest and brightest phenomenon

T in the Park has been stunning the crowds for some 15 years and has now well and truly cemented it's position as Scotland's premier festival, it's influence stretches far beyond those Scottish borders making it a festival that ranks head and shoulders above most others, the reputation T in the Park has earned through hard work and commitment to the music scene holds firm not only within the UK, but also throughout Europe and way beyond.

T in the Park has become something of a phenomenon and it's clear that the fans agree, this festival sold out within just one hour of tickets going on sale, and this is something that happens year after year with T, its popularity has simply gone off the Richter scale!

T in the Park is hugely influential within the music industry having gained an envious degree of credibility amongst both the fans and artists, this is a festival with knobs on and it simply can't put a foot wrong, consistently bringing in top acts, set in a stunning venue and with minute attention to detail this festival has worked its way from humble beginnings to become a festival that organisers, workers, fans and the industry are justly proud to be involved and associated with - not all festivals are as highly regarded as T in the Park - this is one festival sporting an unusually progressive attitude - an attitude that has seen it develop into a benchmark event.

A little bit of background history

T in the Park tentatively planted its roots at Strathclyde Country Park in 1994 when DF Concerts teamed up with MCD Promotions of Eire to create a sister company Big Day Out Ltd and so it was that the first T in the Park took place. The festival was a huge artistic success, but financially it struggled, despite that initial financial hiccup the event really fired the imagination and enthusiasm of the 17,000 fans that turned up each day that year and that in turn helped inspired the organisers to follow up on their early vision and plough ahead with creating something they believed was special, unique and wanted by both the fans and the community.

T in the Park began to establish itself when DF Concerts, unequivocally one of the UK’s leading concert promoters, teamed up with Scotland’s favourite tipple Tennent’s Lager, who had a history of supporting the Scottish live music scene in the late 1980s. DF Concerts had for some time been considering the development of Scotland’s first large scale, multi-stage music event to act as an annual focal point for the music scene, and Tennent’s were keen to further increase its support of live music.

The success of DF Concerts ongoing relationship with founding partners Tennent’s Lager has ensured that T in the Park has developed in both size and stature and this continual improvement has meant that it has gone on to become recognised as one of the key players in the global music calendar.
The Worldwide media clamour to attend this event in significant numbers, further underlining and cementing the festival’s international profile. 2007 alone saw T In the Park welcome press, TV and radio crews from Ireland, France, Italy, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Dubai, Israel, Tokyo, Australia, New York, Canada and Argentina, the interest in this festival is growing.

T in the Park’s sustained and continuous development in both size and status has allowed DF Concerts to effectively combine the creative and business elements needed to produce an event with both financial stability and music industry prestige, ensuring it attracts the very best artists to Scotland each year. Its inception has led to the development of a strong and sustained outdoor live events industry in Scotland with its model inspiring the emergence of other successful UK festival, such as V.

In 1997, the festival’s original site was developed as a supermarket, Balado Activity Centre, near Kinross came to the rescue providing an excellent alternative set in the very heart of Scotland. This relocation has made T in the Park more accessible for fans travelling from remote parts of Scotland, as well as being more convenient for all major cities and other parts of the UK.

This shift is now reflected in the increasingly diverse T in the Park audience, with more than 45 per cent of ticket buyers coming from outside Scotland, making the event one of the country’s biggest annual tourist attractions (and fifth biggest town in Scotland for the duration of the weekend!).

Despite the large crowds that descend on Balado each year, the event enjoys an extremely warm and positive reception from the local council and surrounding communities, in 2006 it became the only festival in the UK to be awarded a three-year license for the second time.

The importance of T in the Park to Scotland was recognised by Jack McConnell who visited the event in its Tenth Year in 2003 and said:

“It is great to see so many young people enjoying themselves. The festival is very valuable
to the Scottish economy and it symbolises the modern Scotland we want to portray.”

Unheard of in this type of event it's quite impressive to know that motions have been passed in Parliament, for the past two years running, to congratulate T in the Park on its success in the UK Festival Awards, with the event receiving unanimous cross party support, this is no mean achievement and serves to underline the exceptional ability of all those involved with T in the Park.

Caring for the environment

T in the Park is now one of only two CarbonNeutral events in the UK (the other being DF Concert’s Connect festival) T in the Park is the largest CarbonNeutral festival in the world and continues year on year to reduce its impact on the environment through its working practices, looking to make improvements year on year.

T in the Park is more concerned about its impact on the environment than ever before and has taken many steps to exercise a greener approach. The event went CarbonNeutral for the second year running in 2007, it uses low-energy light bulbs and a carefully considered fuel-system.

T in the Park also canvasses the support of its attendees, which they are doing with great enthusiasm. The beautiful Balado site sits near Loch Leven, a Site of Special Scientific Interest which means all T in the Parkers are encouraged to bring phosphate free soap to site. Citylink’s bus services are advocated as the greenest way to travel to the event and once there, T in the Park asks for festival-goers assistance to recycle what they can at the recycling points provided.

This request has not gone unheeded with participation in 2007’s cup recycling scheme reaching the 75% mark. The initiative introduced in 2006 was expanded in 2007; a 10p deposit, added to the price of each pint, was returned when the cup was returned to a designated recycling point. This was a huge success, over 75% of cups were returned meaning that the co-operation of T in the Parkers made a huge difference to the overall tidiness of the site, and of course the environment.

Ticketing Commitments

T in the Park take ticketing issues seriously and don't want to see their fans ripped off and so 2007 saw the introduction of TicketExchange launched by DF Concerts and Ticketmaster for T in the Park, aimed at countering ever-increasing activity on unauthorised internet resale sites. TicketExchange is the only legitimate resale site authorised by T in the Park and offers fans protection from potentially fraudulent sellers. Working in tandem with the ticket barcode scanning system AccessManager introduced in 2005, these measures highlight T in the Park’s ongoing commitment to act as a forerunner in innovative practice in the fight against touting.

Supporting new talent

T Break has been working with new Scottish talent since 1996 and is now an established and well-respected highlight of the Scottish musical calendar. T Break is a Tennent’s Lager initiative which, over the past decade, has supported thousands of aspiring musicians, including the likes of The Cinematics, Lizard King’s hottest new signing Drive-By Argument and Biffy Clyro, all of whom regularly acknowledge the importance of the platform which T Break provided for them as they launched their career. Along with the Ceilidh Tent, the T Break Stage makes T in the Park the only UK festival to have two stages dedicated entirely to homegrown talent.


On-site activity at T in the Park has seen many changes over the years, with 75% of the audience now opting for the ‘true festival experience’ of camping on-site for the whole weekend, compared to just 5 per cent in 1994 - making it the largest campsite in Scotland.
In the lead up to T in the Park 2008, organisers have just announced plans to open the campsite earlier than ever before, giving a limited number of campers the chance to get set up ready for the gates opening at teatime on Friday 11th July for the first time. The earlier opening of the campsite on Thursday is the result of meetings between festival organisers Big Day Out Ltd, Perth and Kinross Council and the Local Community Forum. Another example of the close relationship T in the Park continues to have with the surrounding local authority, area and community.


The scope of the event has increased over time with the Radio 1/NME Stage, the Slam Tent, the all new 8,000 capacity Pet Sound’s Arena, (which replaced the 2003’s 2,000 capacity X- Tent), and the Futures Stage and many other new talent and entertainment areas, including 2005’s revolutionary Silent Disco joining the original Main Stage and King Tut’s Wah Wah Tent.

In addition to the diverse range of stages, tents, Silent Disco and other onsite entertainment, the site also boasts a funfair, global food village and a range of additional bars and entertainment.

Other event initiatives introduced in 2007 include ‘Healthy T’, an area which sought to redress the notion that festival food is unhealthy and unappealing. The area offered such delights as a juice bar, stovies, oysters and mussels and saw demonstrations by celebrity chefs The Hairy Bikers and Scots Michelin starred chef Martin Wishart over the course of the weekend, along with other top Scottish Chefs who all want to return with their own stalls in 2008, a true testament to how successful the area was.


T in the Park scooped the prestigious title of ‘Best Major Festival’ in 2006’s industry recognized, publicly voted UK Festival Awards for the second consecutive year, before rounding off it’s most celebrated year to date by being voted ‘Music Festival of the Year’ in The List’s annual reader’s pole. Tennent’s Lager’s commitment and successful involvement in T in the Park has yielded many awards, amongst these the prestigious Hollis Award for Sponsorship Continuity in 2003, which not only saw a fitting tribute to T in the Park’s Tenth Year, but saw the event beat Nationwide (Football Association and England Team), HSBC (ITV Drama Premieres), and Ford (UEFA Champions League) for the title.

The Fans

Now attracting over 80,000 music fans from all over the globe each day, T in the Park is consistently a sell out success. This popularity can be attributed to the festival’s unique atmosphere, the legendary Balado crowd, unrivalled the world over and an annual line-up that is one of the most exciting on the planet.
With T in the Parkers clamouring to purchase tickets before the line-up has even been revealed; anticipation for T in the Park has never been higher. With fifteen years of success behind it and yet another weekend of the very best music and unique atmosphere ahead, T in the Park can most definitely claim to be one of the British music industry’s greatest success stories.

The artists

With over 180 artists performing across 11 stages over 3 days, T in the Park consistently attracts the finest international talent from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Who, Green Day, The Killers, Foo Fighters, REM, Oasis, Radiohead, to home-grown heroes Franz Ferdinand, Primal Scream, Amy Macdonald, The View and The Fratellis.

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