REVEALED: Dundee council may invite bids for exclusive Slessor Gardens music rights

Dundee City Council is considering inviting bids for the exclusive live music rights for Slessor Gardens, the Tele can reveal.

Families enjoying the 3D Festival in Slessor Gardens, part of the opening weekend for the V&A

Last week we reported that the local authority had held talks about handing rights for the space to the Liz Hobbs Group (LHG), the company behind most of the Waterfront’s big name gigs.

But according to emails seen by the Tele, it now appears the council will put the deal out to tender in a “transparent” process to get “the best outcome for the city”.

The council has also stopped seeking gigs for 2019 or 2020, as it reviews “all intended and possible works taking place at the various commercial sites surrounding Slessor Gardens, and the implications for the use of Slessor Gardens during 2020”.

A number of promoters have complained about being “ignored” by the council when they asked to hold live music events at Slessor Gardens.

Two local companies – LCC Live and Events 105 – are considering legal action after being “stonewalled” by the council on the subject of potential Slessor shows.

Les Kidger, director of LCC Live – which is bringing Jess Glynne and Madness to Montrose and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds to Inverness – said the situation was “totally wrong”.

He added: “Dundee City Council just won’t talk to us. It should leave the site open for all promoters. We’re at the stage where we are looking at the legal route.”

Last week, Events 105 told the Tele it had been on the verge of bringing a “multi-platinum band” to the city but had to put the plan on ice after the council refused to provide dates.

Ronnie Smith, a director of the company – responsible for bringing Paul Gascoigne and John Lydon to Dundee – said: “This isn’t about just us putting on shows.

“The idea that irrespective of who we bring to the table, it’s a ‘no’ before discussions start will put promoters off.”

Geoff Ellis, boss of T In The Park and TRNSMT organisers DF Concerts, has previously spoken about his frustration in attempting to secure shows at the Waterfront.

He has previously vowed to seek gigs for 2020 – but did not respond to a request for comment on the council’s latest move.

LHG has so far announced two Slessor Gardens gigs this year – Craig David on June 7 and Sir Tom Jones on July 27 – with a third act due to be revealed later.

The council has repeatedly denied it is seeking an exclusivity deal with a single promoter.

In the council’s only official statement on the matter, city development convener Lynne Short said: “There is no exclusivity agreement in place for Slessor Gardens with any promoters.

“The council is carefully considering the future of the space as a venue.”

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