Glasgow-based promoter DF Concerts sold more than 1 million tickets for summer shows across Scotland this year and contributed an estimated £72.4 million to the Scottish economy.

During what proved to be a record year for Geoff Ellis’s company, DF Concerts had 33 days of outdoor shows from June to August, with 15 major outdoor shows in Glasgow alone, including the 50,000-capacity TRNSMT festival on Glasgow Green, concerts by acts such as Green Day at Bellahouston Park, and six huge gigs at Hampden Park (cap. 58,000).

Along with the many large outdoor shows, the promoter staged nearly 200 events of varying sizes in venues across the country during the period. Here Ellis reflects on the summer season and predicts another strong year ahead.

What aspects of this year’s events season are you most proud of?

I’m particularly proud of how our team and contractors all rallied round to bring our record-breaking summer to life. DF Concerts have never had a year as busy as we did this year – 33 huge outdoor/stadium shows across June to August so we had to upscale all departments in order to deliver it. There were points where we had three site builds in three different cities at the same time, which had a real pull-on resources, but with effective planning and a strong working relationship between permanent employees and contractors, all events went ahead without a hitch. I’m very grateful for the hard work that everyone put in and the resilience shown.

What was the biggest challenge this year?

The volume of events and the supply and demand of equipment, suppliers and staffing; all compounded by coming out of Covid with many companies having new, inexperienced staff and everyone getting people back off furlough and becoming ‘match fit’ again massively increased costs for everyone – not just relative to energy and fuel – which has been a huge issue for the industry.

 On the back of the pandemic and the industry unifying to push for Government support, do you feel that there is more understanding and willingness to collaborate in the industry?

There has always been an element of collaboration within the industry, but the pandemic has certainly cemented this. The way in which everyone grouped together and pooled resources when it came to lobbying the Government for support shows that, despite the inevitable element of competition between companies, everyone has the same end goal which is to bring live music to the public. The creation of LIVE has obviously been a very good outcome for the industry and this organisation will bring benefits to the live industry going forward too.

 How do you see next year’s season shaping up, and are there any concerns over rising costs and consumer spending power?

Next year is shaping up to be more of the same with several festival dates, greenfield shows and stadium shows already announced and more to come. Fan spending power is always a concern when organising large scale events and it’s something that we were very conscious of this year. However, given the sales that we saw, the appetite is still there for live entertainment.

Did you use any new tech at the event this year and going forward is there anything tech-wise you are looking at?

Many of our greenfield and stadium shows were cashless this year and operated exceptionally well. It’s something that we’re finding more and more in a post-Covid world that fans aren’t utilising cash as much. Our apps for TRNSMT and Connect were very well received by fans. We also used the Raven system in our Joint Agency Control Centre at TRNSMT and there seems to be more capability within this system that we can make good use of going forward.