Glasgow as a global city of live music

The Scottish Conservatives will today highlight the international quality of live music in Glasgow, the unrivalled contribution attendance at gigs and concerts makes to Glasgow’s economy, and will call for all stakeholders to promote Glasgow’s musical culture at home and abroad to boost music tourism.
In the aftermath of the fire at the Glasgow School of Art and the O2 ABC music venue, Adam Tomkins MSP will acknowledge the cultural loss of both venues, the devastation that many in the community feel as a result of the fire and will call for stakeholders and Glasgwegians to come together in the face of the loss.
The Members’ Business debate that Adam will lead in the Scottish Parliament will acknowledge the importance of Glasgow’s music scene in promoting Glasgow’s tourism and economy, and will particularly focus on spare capacity in smaller, grassroots, venues.
This focus is supported by Scottish Enterprise and Glasgow Life who commissioned the report “Growing the Value for Music Tourism in Glasgow” which identifies the scale and impact of live music attendance in the city and suggests ways to increase awareness of the current experience.
The motion to be debated, in the name of Adam Tomkins MSP, calls attention to the value of live music attendance to the city’s economy, estimated at almost £160 million, sustaining more than 1,000 jobs and notes the number and quality of the home grown bands, music festivals and venues.
In the debate, Adam will call for the Scottish Parliament to consider putting the ‘agent of change principle’ on a statutory footing, to offer greater legal protection to music venues, and that stakeholders should work together to further promote Glasgow’s UNESCO World City of Music status and its music scene both at home and abroad.
Scottish Conservative MSP for Glasgow, Adam Tomkins said:
“The horrifying fire at the Glasgow School of Art and the O2 ABC music venue is a devastating blow to Glasgow’s cultural landscape and to all Glasgwegians. I would like to pay tribute to the heroic efforts of all of the firefighters involved.
“We are all extremely relieved no one has been hurt but the loss of such venues to the city, the GSA for a second time, is still raw and tangible.
“After this latest blow, the important thing is that all Glaswegians come together to support those most affected within Glasgow’s artistic and musical community.
“The vibrant and eclectic music scene of Glasgow will continue, but the role for politicians, more than ever, is to do more to promote it to audiences at home and abroad.
“I pledge to work with all stakeholders within Glasgow’s music culture to raise Glasgow’s international profile, particularly of the smaller grassroots venues.
“The introduction of the ‘agent of change principle’ into the Scottish Planning Bill would give venues and artists extra security and we will be introducing an amendment at the appropriate time.
“Glasgow has suffered a huge loss but it is far from broken. The unfailing resilience and energy of the Glasgwegian artistic community will overcome this latest set-back.
“The Scottish Conservatives stand ready to help in whatever ways we can.”
Danny Cusick, Tourism Director at Scottish Enterprise, said:
“Glasgow has huge potential to develop its music tourism through its rich cultural heritage, as well as its range of atmospheric venues and world-class performers.
“The fire at the Glasgow School of Art and the neighbouring O2 ABC music venue is deeply saddening.  However, the overwhelmingly supportive responses from people around the world shows the esteem in which Glasgow’s cultural community is held.
“Inspiring international visitors to choose Glasgow will mean creative collaborations between the music community, hotels, restaurants and tourism businesses to provide a unique and unrivalled visitor experience for both music fans and wider visitors alike.
“Working in partnership to deliver Glasgow’s ambitious Tourism and Visitor Plan, we can help the city fulfil this potential and contribute towards the target of generating 1 million additional visitors to Glasgow by 2023.”
Councillor David McDonald, Chair of Glasgow Life and Deputy Leader of Glasgow City Council said:
“The impact of the devastating fire at the Glasgow School of Art has resulted in the destruction and loss of the O2 ABC, a venue ranked in the top 100 clubs in the world.
“So, it is timely that today’s debate is taking place in the Scottish Parliament and I’m heartened by the cross-party support for the city’s ambitious plans to further grow it’s world-class music industry, which contributes significantly to Glasgow’s economy.
“As the UK’s first and Scotland’s only UNESCO City of Music, Glasgow’s music sector is multi-layered, vibrant, diverse and influential. Glasgow Life is the strategic lead for the development of a new music strategy for the city, which, in partnership with the sector, will complement the city’s wider 25 year Cultural Plan and the Scottish Government’s national Cultural Strategy.
“We also recognise that music and tourism go hand-in-hand. As one of the strongest performing music tourism destinations in the UK – injecting nearly £160m into the UK’s live music economy annually – music is a key pillar of Glasgow’s Tourism and Visitor Plan, which aims to attract one million more overnight visitors by 2023.
“Glasgow’s new music strategy will address a number of key issues, including improving gender balance across the sector, improving accessibility for fans with disabilities, diversifying participation and audience growth.”