Someone has today amended the Wikipedia entry for T in the Park to reinstate Stuart Clumpas as co-founder with Ellis. That is still not quite true – Clumpas was the founder and Ellis worked for him – but it is certainly much better.
I appreciate this post is of limited interest to most people, but it is curious to me. There is currently a row about a decision to give 150,000 of Creative Scotland’s money to the highly commercial and profitable T in the Park festival. My take on that is that it was a bad decision within Creative Scotland.
The founder of T in the Park was an old university friend of mine, Stuart Clumpas. Stuart ran – with breathtaking brilliance – the entertainments at Dundee University students union while I was President. It seems incredible now, but we had the biggest bands in the country on a regular basis, including the world premier of a Mike Oldfield album, and the Pretenders while Brass in Pocket was number 1, Dexy’s Midnight Runners just as they hit, and much else. Stuart was truly amazing. With his collaborator John Reid he went on to establish an entertainments company – I used to hear these two students cooking up their plans over pints. Within six months they had the biggest nightclub in Dundee (Fat Sam’s), within a couple more the biggest in Glasgow (King Tut’s). Stuart went on to found both T in the Park and the V Festivals. I haven’t seen him since about 1984, rather to my regret. Last I heard, third hand, he sold his festival interests and retired down under.
Anyway, the point of that trip down memory lane is that the current controversy over T in the Park led me to look it up on Wikipedia. I found that, extraordinarily, the T in the Park page makes no mention whatsoever of Stuart Clumpas, and attempts to create the impression that it was founded by its current director Geoff Ellis, who it says “was involved from the start” and “organised the first T in the Park festival”. Well, he did some of the organisation, but only as an employee of Stuart Clumpas, who has been airbrushed from the T in the Park Wikipedia page as though he were a former Soviet leader taken out of the photo.
This is an interesting comment on the integrity of Wikipedia. But it is also an interesting comment on the integrity of Mr Ellis. That Wikipedia page had the unmistakeable feel of a promotional page which has been heavily written and edited either by Mr Ellis or by someone working on behalf of Mr Ellis. And if Geoff Ellis is the kind of shyster who would falsely claim to have founded T in the Park and edit out the real founder, does that cast a light on the morality of the rather dubious 150,000 payment?