T Without Clumpas 64


UPDATE

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?


64 thoughts on “T Without Clumpas

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  • John Spencer-Davis

    Squonk
    12:42pm 12:45pm

    I put those up over an hour ago, silly!

    Kind regards,

    John

  • Squonk

    Ba’al Zevu,

    The Evening Times link you quote at least says

    However, even the chief executive of DF Concerts himself admits to being a little bewildered that the event that he and his predecessor Stuart Clumpas devised would go on to reach its current anniversary.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Clumpas founded DF concerts, I gather. It’s entirely possible that Ellis did the legwork while Clumpas managed the shop – including King Tut’s. But I know which, of £150K from Creative Scotland (funding: Scottish Government – SNP majority – and Lottery) or £200K from Glasgow Council (funding: Glasgow citizens), I would be concentrating on if I were at daggers drawn with Labour.

  • ------------·´`·.¸¸.¸¸.··.¸¸Node

    Never mind T in the Park. There’s a rumour that Dingwall’s infamous P in the Dark festival is making a comeback in 2016.

  • Squonk

    Ba’al Zevul,

    I also knew Clumpas reasonably well. Ellis was his employee and everyone knew that prior to his departure. It was Clumpas who appeared regularly on tv, radio, the printed media etc as the boss man of T in the Park.

    Stuart Clumpas was involved at the very core of all he did.

  • John Goss

    As this post seems to have gone tangentially in the direction of University Challenge I thought I would mention a late friend, Clive Evans, who captained University of Birmingham University Challenge team, who I think were runners up in 1980. In those days there was no internet. Clive’s knowledge was unbelievable and if I ever needed to check something the quickest way was to give him a ring. My understanding is that in the selection process for University Challenge Clive answered about twice as many questions correctly as any other member of the team.

    He went on to be a runner-up in Brain of Britain and a semi-finalist in Mastermind. I drove down with him to Swansea for the heat between the highest-scoring losers in which he got the same number of points as the competitor who went through to the final but had one more pass. It seemed he was always the bridesmaid, except when it came to Moseley Mastermind.

    Moseley Mastermind was run at the Rugby Club as part of Moseley Festival and in 1985 I captained the team The Guesshawks comprising Clive Evans, author and friend, Dr Chris Upton, fantasy novelist, Pauline Dungate, and myself aka Gosshawk. Clive was our secret weapon and I confess that many times I was getting my head round the question by the time Clive had already answered. Anyway it was a decent trophy. That year I also won, on my own, Brain of Kenilworth, which I only entered at the Kenilworth Festival on a whim (I was supposed to be running a stall). It brought with it a pretty big trophy called, I think, the Bob Butler trophy (held for a year), a crate of beer and a free hair cut (style).

    Clive belonged to rambling clubs and walked many miles over the hills and dales of the midlands. Latterly he suffered from a back problem and walked with a stick. It was when I returned from a trip to Romania in 2003 that I learnt of his death. His brother let me choose one of his books.

    Oh my God. I’ve just had a telephone call to learn that Dr Chris Upton, the person I have known longest since my arrival in Birmingham, has died. I knew he had cancer. It is a bit spooky though that the first time I mention the author of A History of Birmingham, A History of Lichfield, A History of Wolverhampton and others and I learn of his death. I have to go.

  • Tony M

    Back when this were all fields, I remember a concert at which a roadie for the Leighton Buzzards, Alistair, fell from the stage into a large bass speaker then fell again –fast asleep or half-concussed. Immediately the pub venue went into liquidation the next day, and the stage equipment containing said slumbering roadie was sold and quickly shipped abroad to a bingo hall in Albania, where he proved very useful in setting up the PA equipment in its new location. In time he was taken on there as a part-time bingo-caller, changed his name to Ally Mohammed, kept goats, and went on to become Mayor of the town.

  • Andy Myles

    Sorry to take issue with this but you appear to having your own little memory lapse. When DUSA put on a “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”, you were the Treasurer if I can remember correctly. I wonder who was President at the time???

  • Jemand

    “Immediately the pub venue went into liquidation the next day, and the stage equipment containing said slumbering roadie was sold and quickly shipped abroad to a bingo hall in Albania, where he proved very useful in setting up the PA equipment in its new location.”

    Sounds like Spinal Tap legend.

  • Robert Crawford

    “Very impressive for a cold little country of drunken, red headed aborigines”

    Do you have an inferiority complex, Jemand.

    How is your country better? Do your countrymen/women drink less, and what is your problem with people with red hair. Do you also have a colour prejudice?.

    What’s eating away at you?

  • Mike Gailey

    Nice to see you two sparring again Mr Murray and Mr Myles:) All a bit hazy for me, but Stuart and John did a fantastic job, went on to form Total Entertainments and Dance Factory. Linked to Good Guys promotions in Glasgow, they also brought REM to the Whitehall Theatre in Dundee. T in the Park was Stuart’s baby from the start, and Mr. Ellis should be ashamed if he is claiming to be the founder. I worked for Stuart for a while under the Dance Fadtory flag. Still smile at the shenanigans that went on. And yes Andy you were President, oh and I was catering Convener, elected on a single manifesto pledge of bringing Choux Buns onto the menu at DUSA, that never happened:)

  • Bert

    Andy at 3:57

    I think Pete Bowden was President of DUSA when the Pretenders (supported by UB40), Peter Gabriel and Mike Oldfield played there in the first part of 1980.

  • Techno

    This reminds me of the entry for the musical outfit Deep Forest, who had a few hits in the 1990s with “new age” dance music using samples which were obviously taken from pygmy tribes or some such.

    The entry used to say that they took the samples from ethnographic sound libraries without permission and they were eventually forced to contribute financially to a fund to help save jungle tribes as a form of compensation.

    But the last time I looked at the entry all that had disappeared. I suppose I should try to put it back but I can’t be bothered anymore, that is the long term weakness with Wikipedia.

  • craig Post author

    Yes, I guess Stuart was no longer a student by the time I was President as we were first years together. Andy Myles is quite right, I was probably interacting with him as Treasurer when he booked Mike Oldfield. By the time I was President he had opened Fat Sam’s etc. but he still ran our ents – I guess on a commercial contract. He definitely booked Gary Glitter for me!

  • Bert

    Craig at 8:27

    Mike Oldfield played during the Easter vacation in 1980 before Andy had been elected President. Pete Bowden was President when Stuart booked him and like Stuart is now being airbrushed out !

  • Maren

    Most of the recent articles mention Ellis as co-founder, but these ones don’t just attribute it to Clumpas:

    “as the festival as a brand in itself becomes ever more valuable as an asset to T in the Park founder Stewart Clumpas” (about sixth festival in 1998)

    http://www.firmmagazine.com/rock-n-roll-lifestyle/

    “Stuart Clumpas, the director of promotions company, DF Concerts, and the brains behind T in the Park”

    http://www.theguardian.com/money/1999/jul/05/secretarial5

    “Fran has also held out an olive branch to former T in the Park boss Stuart Clumpas, who fell out with the band when he was barred from meeting them at his own festival.

    Stuart had created T in the Park with the help of Tennent’s before selling his shares in his promotion firm DF Concerts, who also own King Tut’s.”

    http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/entertainment/music/music-news/park-travis-hope-another-20-1853657

    This academic paper is also interesting in this regard, as it references both Clumpas and Ellis, and credits Clumpas as the founder: “Clumpas opened this own small venue, King Tuts in 1990, and staged the first T in the Park (in Strathclyde Regional Park) in 1994.”

    http://www.gla.ac.uk/media/media_168676_en.pdf

    In this 1995 article, Clumpas talks about the financial losses of the first festival, and does indeed mention as Ellis as organising it (although it very much sounds like Clumpas is the boss, as Craig says in his post)

    http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/12100854.Triple_parking_in_a_rural_idyll/

  • Maren

    Most of the recent articles mention Ellis as co-founder, but these ones don’t just attribute it to Clumpas:

    This should read:

    Most of the recent articles mention Ellis as co-founder, but these ones just attribute it to Clumpas:

  • craig Post author

    Bert

    I would certainly not want to airbrush out Pete, who was a good friend. I think Pete, Andy and I would all admit Stuart did all the actual work on Ents. We just tried to cut down the outrageous contract riders 🙂

  • punklin

    “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?”

    No I think that’s a deduction too far – pls read Derek Bateman’s excellent recent piece on how successful ventures should be eligible for public support plus hounding of Jennifer Dempsey by anti-indy forces…

    But just wanted to say that I knew Stuart Clumpas and Geoff Ellis at time of first T in the Park and no doubt that Stuart was the leader and Geoff the equally able second-in-command. But, hey, things change and though I wouldn’t condone airbrushing, I wonder if subsequent bumming-up of Geoff’s earlier role is just old-fashioned business rivalry? Not pleasant but so it goes.

    Until this year, I think Geoff Ellis (who, back in the day I always found to be pleasant helpful and hard-working) has played an almost faultless hand in developing one of Scotland’s flagship events. Maybe T has had its day as we are now so over-festivalised anyway, but don’t think he’s a shyster. Perhaps he should graciously pipe up and say “I learned my nouse about band-spotting and booking from Stuart Clumpas”?

  • Tim

    I’m not sure where to post this, but I have just found http://ergofabulous.org/luther/?

    Apart from showing that Martin Luther would have been a great blog commentator, I thought that it might help some people to have somewhere else where they can go to get insulted

  • Ken2

    The £150,000 was money well spent to help move site. The traffic chaos will have to be sorted out. The Scottish Gov gives money to support, Ballet, Opera, Museums, Edinburgh Festival, Beer festivals – local communities social activities, Gaelic culture music, so why not support other fun for folk. T in the Park is transmitted worldwide and shows off the Scottish landscape. It gives young folk and oldies looks of fun.

    T in the Park is now an institution. It probably doesn’t make much money as a stand alone but the Scottish economy benefits from all the off shoots. Music brings in massive economic benefits to Scotland (£Million/Billions). Balance of payments/exports. £150,000 is a minuscule proportion of support. T in the Park is too big to fall.

    People’s opinion of Geoff Ellis are secondary. ie Concert’s which start later than advertised because of logistic problems. Early risers have to leave, despite previous assurances. Waste of consumer’s pennies.
    C’est la vie. Deja a Vu.

  • G H Graham

    Perhaps the most important point to recognise here is that ANY entry on Wikipedia MUST be read on the assumption that it is possibly less reliable than the horoscope in the Daily Mail. Which is in itself, slightly more reliable than the weather forecast.

    I should know. I have been advised that tomorrow, I shall find buried at the bottom of my garden, a late medieval Kist stuffed with ecclesiastical promissory notes written in Latin & leather pouches bulging with gold sovereigns, gleaming as if minted last week. A satisfying greedy experience to be blessed with slightly overcast skies, above average temperatures, low humidity & light winds from the south east.

    Nevertheless, it is possible to trawl for previous editions/corrections/omissions, etc. but I presume that most folks, just like myself can’t be arsed.

    There is no doubt however that Wikipedia has substantial value but that its pages are so often & easily used to wage a cultural, political & revisionary war is surely one of its most disturbing features.

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