Culture secretary quizzed over T In The Park £150,000 “cronyism” accusations

Members of Scottish parliament have questioned the need for public funding for the festival

Member of Scottish Parliament and Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop has faced questions from other members at Holyrood over a £150,000 funding contribution made to T In The Park music festival.

The grant related to T In The Park’s move from Balado to the Strathallan Castle Estate in Perthshire, which hosted the festival for the first time in 2015, with Kasabian, Avicii and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds headlining the event.

Conservative MSP Mary Scanlon asked directly if the application was fraudulent during questions today.

MSPs had also previously questioned the need for public funding for the festival, and called the grant into question. Ms Hyslop has insisted, however, that the grant is appropriate, transparent and in line with donations given to other events. She also said that the festival bosses had admitted concern over the future of the festival, and had brought up the possibility of a move away from Scotland.

“Officials looked at this very robustly, we made sure it was compliant with state aid, and the final grant was signed off by officers,” Hyslop explained, adding that she was “standing up for T In The Park”.

NMETom Martin/NME

Speaking of a previous meeting with festival organisers DF Concerts, Hyslop said:

“They said that their shareholders were giving them pressure to move from being a multi-day, multi-stage event. They indicated that if they wanted to have the festival in that format, they might have to move out of Scotland.” She added that this gave her a “responsibility to act.”

DF Concerts have also commented on the grant, saying simply that there is “nothing secret at all” surrounding the payment.

The event attracts upwards of a quarter of a million punters, and traditionally takes place in July. The only reference to next year’s event on the official website to date is a statement that tickets for 2016 are not yet on sale.