And to think it started so well! Annabel Ross loses the plot over EDC line-up numbers, even trying to drag the CEO into her mud – and a source gives me an insight you won’t find in her ongoing diatribe…

I’m not a journalist – I have no formal training in the field. Whilst I did consider becoming involved in this world many years ago, life took a different path. Mind you, when a professional journalist I actually respect – rest assured there aren’t many – got in touch recently to say he considered me a better one than many of his peers, it makes me wonder.

Anyway, back onto the subject of Annabel Ross. Yes, the utterly charmless lady who concocts allegations of misogyny towards blogs when they dare write something about her friend – and potential employer – she doesn’t like. And then tries to bully people when they won’t lie down and roll over at her nonsense.

Well, on Wednesday, she started having a go at the Electric Daisy Carnival for basically being a rich white men’s parade. Here’s where this gets interesting – Annabel is actually correct, and on the point that festivals must up their game in this area, I entirely agree. But now that she’s on day two of her diatribe, she’s started slipping up.

Because having correctly diagnosed the problem, she now seems to think that it’s somehow other people’s problem to fix…

Now this is a very curious line indeed from this blog’s favourite charmless journalist. Her own website states she has written for numerous music publications and non-music ones, including Billboard – who she cites above – need to “cover it critically” and “ask the hard questions of Pasquale [Rotella, founder and CEO of Insomniac, the company which runs EDC]”.

Not only that, but she’s now trying to drag Rotella into the row by tagging his Twitter profile. There’s been no response at the time of publishing this post from him – and I suspect it’s best he doesn’t. Because Ross is doing the same as she often does whenever she goes after someone – she tries to make it about her. Her bout of attention seeking is best ignored, if not mocked first.

Funnily enough though, I received an email yesterday from someone who shall remain anonymous – but who has links with Insomniac. This person simply said “Whilst festivals need to do more to bring in more women and minorities, a lot of things are beyond our control. For example, many of these are bookings from before Covid which haven’t happened yet. But the idea Pasquale is some kind of sexist is just bull**** – and I’ll be dammed if I’m taking that from some chicken**** journalist.”.

Ouch…

Are clubbers killing our fish with drugs? High amounts of MDMA and cocaine in water is (apparently) the latest challenge to the environment…

Fear not. You haven’t walked into an episode of 90s TV show Brass Eye here. There really is method to my purposefully histrionic headline. Recently, I’ve seen a few stories about large amounts of drugs being detected in water sources near where festivals have taken place.

Researchers last week revealed that the amounts of MDMA and cocaine in water sources near Glastonbury were so high after the festival that it posed a threat to the animals living in the rivers, such as rare eels. Which makes you wonder about what got into the water elsewhere, doesn’t it?

Imagine what Tulum must have been like after all those plague raves descended there. It wasn’t just Covid being spread at those events, let’s face it. Or what about the numerous raves which took place in India before the country experienced a massive wave of the virus? Making sure there are enough toilets available was never the priority for those running such events.

But on the other hand, such additions to the water might have no effect in some areas. A source joked that “In some American cities, there’s so much s*** already in the water from dumping chemicals that I doubt the fish would honestly notice anything else”.

A spokesperson for Glastonbury replied to all this, saying “Peeing on the land is something we will continue to strongly discourage at future festivals”. Someone is actually receiving a salary to say that…

Even a stopped clock is right twice a day! Annabel Ross – who venomously attacks this blog as “misogynistic” – crunched the numbers on the Electric Daisy Carnival… and they’re even more depressing than anyone first thought

When festivals and clubland went into a sort of forced hiatus last year, a lot of soul searching started to take place. This isn’t something which comes easily to the people who run the scene. They’re so fixated on whatever’s coming up next that the idea of reflection is practically anaethema to them. So when people started to notice that festivals in particular were filled with rich, white men, they promised to change.

The promise to change, of course, meant as much as a promise from a violent husband to his battered wife, worried she’s about to leave him. He has no intention of following through with his empty words – and the festival bosses are exactly the same. As I wrote recently, the rich white men are the ones paying their bills right now – and neither has any intention of moving aside for anyone.

I wrote recently about the Isle of Wight Festival 2022 and pointed out almost no women were on the bill.  And now, Annabel Ross – a journalist who helped bring allegations of sexual abuse by Derrick May to a wider audience – has been “crunching the numbers”, as she puts it, over the Electric Daisy Festival, due to take place in Las Vegas later this month. It’s worth reading her four-tweet thread on the subject for context. She doesn’t hold back…

She’s right, though. 285 acts, 23 women and just 24 acts who aren’t white. For a scene which was founded largely by black gay men in the likes of Chicago and Detroit, that is an utterly depressing indictment of where things are today.

It’s hard to escape the feeling that the dance music world has been utterly colonised…

Is this a sign of things to come? Terminal V in Edinburgh decide to postpone two-day Halloween festival due to worries Covid cases are going to spike over the winter…

So it’s been postponed. Again. The 40,000 capacity Terminal V festival in Edinburgh was originally due to take place in March 2020. Then this thing called Covid-19 – you might have heard of it once or twice over the past 18 months – came along. Suddenly, we all had to stay at home and clapped for NHS staff on Thursday nights.

Then it was rescheduled to February 2021. This wasn’t to be either – although specifics do vary between the four nations, the UK was in a deep lockdown to reduce a massive winter wave of the virus. So it was to Halloween they went. They can hold the event this time, but they decided against following a meeting with City of Edinburgh Council.

They cite the “extreme pressure currently facing the NHS” as a reason and say “the event has been deemed a higher risk at this time than any other event currently scheduled to go ahead in Scotland”. Pressure on the NHS is already being cited in Northern Ireland as the reason why nightclubs in the province remain closed.

Which begs the question. Is this essentially what this winter is going to look like? The truth is no one is quite sure how prevalent Covid will be this winter. Last year, the vaccine rollout was only just starting – whereas it’s pretty much completed now. Exactly how much this will reduce its spread is very uncertain.

So I can’t help but wonder whether we’ll see more of this over the next few months. I expect more clubs and festivals will end up having “meetings” with councils and being “advised” to postpone. When in reality, the council will take a dim view at licence renewal time if you have the temerity to refuse.

You read it on Amateur’s House first…

Whilst Playground Festival’s silence towards… well, everyone continues – this blog takes a closer look at organisers Brian Traynor and Richard Scoular

The organisers behind Playground Festival have obviously decided to take an extra long weekend – starting from Wednesday. I struggle to find any other explanation for the fact they’ve basically all disappeared. Since Optimo (Escapio) posted on Tuesday night about their frankly terrible experience at the hands of the festival, the response has been complete radio silence.

To describe their response as a shambles is an understatement. Serious allegations have been made by Optimo and they deserve answering. Merely putting their fingers in their ears and pretending they can’t hear what’s being said isn’t a serious response. But what else can we honestly expect? The more I look into this festival, the more of a shambles it starts to look.

A number of acts were booked to appear, but didn’t. Kelis was one prime example – and from what I can see on social media, her absence was one of the things that bothered a lot of people. Allegations (which this blog cannot confirm the accuracy of at the time of publication) are being made of failing to pay members of staff – infact, one person even published a picture of a court judgement demanding payment was made in a case where Playground Festival didn’t even turn up to defend themselves.

And I even see calls for the local council to strip the festival of its licence entirely. There’s no love to be found for them. Playground Festival’s response to this should be to come out fighting. If things have gone wrong, they should publicly say so and rectify what they can. The public will generally get behind someone who is serious about trying to fix their mistakes – and generally contemptuous of those who don’t.

So who is behind Playground Festival? They are two men called Brian Traynor and Richard Scoular. Between them, they’re involved with several different businesses. Traynor, for example, is the Operations Manager at Playground of Sound Ltd, who run the Playground Festival. Companies House records state he was appointed on February 4th last year, the same day the company was incorporated.

Infact, he’s gone on something of an entrepreneurial frenzy in the past year. In October 2020, he set up another business called BoozeForYou – who specialise in selling alcohol in big, big quantities – and Bottledrop Scotland in January 2021. The nature of this business is described as “involved in the sale of food, beverages and tobacco”.

He also owns a company called MagnificentPizza – which is currently at risk of being struck off due to their accounts now being over two months late. As for Richard Scoular, he’s involved with three different companies. Deoch Limited was set up in November last year and seems to be connected to “public houses and bars” – this seems an odd time to set up a business in the pub trade, but maybe Scoular knows something I don’t.

As for his other two companies – Hazelwood Events and Ridgefern Ltd – they’re both facing being struck off by Companies House. Ridgefern Ltd is actually in liquidation, having not filed any accounts beyond August 2017. Traynor is also involved with this company.

And a quick search of the internet reveals Playground Festival have form for problems. The Scottish Sun published an article in 2019 alleging people at the bar had to wait 90 minutes to get served, and said they ran out of toilet paper and food.

The newspaper did contact Playground Festival to offer a right of reply – just like I did before publication on Wednesday morning. They never responded – just like they haven’t responded to this blog now, or anyone else who’s been in touch.

Your silence damns you… 

As Scotland announces a 17-day delay in enforcing vaccine passports, is this possibly anything to do with an impending NTIA legal challenge to the policy?

So, back we go to the divisive topic of vaccine passports once more. Scotland was due to introduce them on October 1st – tomorrow. But like everything else with this policy, it’s been rushed through without a thought for the consequences.

Firstly, they were announced just three weeks ago and voted through by Sturgeon’s SNP stooges shortly afterwards. And then with just two days to go, the Scottish First Minister confirms there will be a “staged approach” – the policy will begin on October 1st, but enforcement won’t begin until October 18th. She must think the people of Scotland are idiots.

Sturgeon made it sound like she was being kind, saying “This grace period will allow businesses to test, adapt and build confidence in the practical arrangements they will need to put in place to be compliant with the scheme. The pragmatic compromise that I have just outlined in relation to a staged introduction of the scheme demonstrates, I hope, that we are listening to business about the practical challenges they face – and that we are determined to work with them to overcome these.”

In reality? The Scottish government is facing a legal challenge from the Night Time Industries Association on the subject. They made clear when England was pursuing this policy – later rested, but not officially dropped – that they weren’t happy with what was on the table.

And they won’t be best pleased by the words “listening to business” either. The NTIA say they’ve been talking to the Scottish government about this for the past two months, but have got nowhere. Hence this bizarre attempt at the eleventh hour to try and pacify them with a grace period.

Yes, the Night Time Industries Association are pursuing this legal action out of self-interest – but given the controversy vaccine passports have caused elsewhere in the world, nobody should be surprised. And with Wales due to introduce a similar policy from October 11th, I suspect Cardiff will be watching this closely…

Amidst a barrage of criticism circulating online towards Playground Festival, the organisers have chosen to say nothing – but is it because they saw this coming?

Yesterday morning, this blog reported on comments made by Optimo (Escapio) about what they perceived to be the shambles of Glasgow’s Playground Festival.  And I wasn’t the only one. A number of Scottish media outlets covered the story, including The Scottish Sun and STV News – although curiously, none of the dance music outlets have covered this one…

I was under the impression that Playground Festival were just ignoring me as they still haven’t answered my email. I was wrong – they’re ignoring everybody. Not just the press, not just mischievous bloggers like myself, but their own irate customers. Social media is currently filled with all kinds of complaints about the festival, including the fact a number of big acts cancelled their appearances with very little advance notice.

Then again, perhaps Brian Traynor – the promoter behind Playground Festival – was already expecting criticism. On Tuesday, before all this kicked off, he wrote on Instagram that “It’s so easy to jump on social media and criticise when things don’t go to plan, to overlook the efforts from staff that have been working long shifts in difficult conditions or not to truly understand the skilled technical abilities of production teams that consistently deliver to high standards with no room for error, but people’s kind words today have made it all worthwhile.”.

The words aren’t quite so kind now, are they Brian? Come out and defend yourself…

“The worst individuals we’ve ever had to deal with” – Optimo (Espacio) castigate the people in charge of Glasgow’s Playground Festival, and claim “they treat local artists like s***”…

The problem with being a petulant arse who thinks they can behave in whatever way they please is that you’ll eventually try it on the wrong person. You can be lucky for many years, because many people don’t speak out about various kinds of crap behaviour.

But at some point, you’re going to land flat on your face courtesy of someone who gives you what you deserve. And by the looks of it, that’s what’s happened to the Playground Festival in Glasgow yesterday. The duo Optimo have witnessed how they’ve behaved, decided they don’t like it and called them out on it on social media.

Damning allegations are made here, including that one artist was given a mouthful of abuse by the festival’s promoters – and all for simply having the sheer temerity to ask for the money they’d previously agreed to pay her. I’ve written before about the shady behaviour of the shadowy figures in this scene, and this is a prime example of it.

Optimo even resorted to stopping the set for 15 minutes on the night as a protest to ensure they got paid – and by the looks of it, almost all the feedback they’re getting online is entirely supportive of their stance.

Playground Festival have been approached for comment, but have not responded at the time of publication.