DJ stars reveal they halted Scottish music festival set over pay wrangle

One of Scotland’s leading dance music outfits have hit out at the organisers of an outdoor festival over a pay dispute that led to them halting an appearance at the weekend.

Wednesday, 29th September 2021, 6:33 pm

DJ duo Optimo, one of the biggest acts booked to appear at the Playground Festival, have described it as a “horrible, traumatic experience”.

The music act revealed they were on the verge of pulling out of the event at the 11th hour as they had still not been paid for their appearance.

Instead they stopped their set for 15 minutes and claim they had to threaten to pull the plug before their fee was forthcoming.

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The Playground Festival was staged at Rouken Glen Park in Glasgow at the weekend. Picture: Calum Buchan

The Libertines, James, Chic, Culture Club, Glasvegas and Connor Fyfe were among the acts to perform at the festival, which was staged in Rouken Glen Park, in East Renfrewshire.

However, the festival, which was staged at the weekend after an inaugural event in 2019, suffered a number of late call-offs, including Kelis and Egyptian Lover, whose absence was blamed on “unforeseen circumstances”.

Optimo’s statement, which has been posted on their official social media channels, states: “We wanted to thank everyone in the fabulous audience at Playground Festival in Glasgow on Saturday and explain why the music stopped for 15 minutes, as a lot of people have asked us why we did that.

"Firstly, we’d like to stress that the crew, the tech people and the team running everything on the ground at the festival were wonderful, showing the best Glasgow has to offer.

Rouken Glen Park in Glasgow hosted the Playground Festival at the weekend.

“Sadly, the organisers of this festival were among the worst individuals we have ever had to deal with in over three decades of performing.”

Optimo’s statement accuses the festival organisers of deploying stalling tactics in the run-up to their set time on Saturday.

It adds: “Finally, in quite a state of distress, we felt we had no option, but to play as we didn’t want to let down the audience.

"The only power we felt we had left was the power to stop the music. This is something we’ve never even considered or had the need to resort to before.

JD Twitch and JG Wilkes (real names Keith McIvor and Jonnie Wilkes) have been key figures in the Scottish music scene the late 1990s.

"But even then, our predicament wasn’t addressed and we had to threaten to completely end our set before some payment was forthcoming.

"It was a horrible, traumatic experience, especially when playing in front of a large home audience, many of whom we knew, and trying to perform to give that audience the best time possible.

“We don’t feel we can stand by and let this behaviour be accepted or normalised.

"It particularly rankles that such a beautiful park that belongs to all of us is given over to an organisation that operates like this.”

The organisers of the Playground Festival have declined to comment on Optimo’s statement.

In a social media post after the event, the festival said: “Playground family WE LOVE YOU. Thank you for the most amazing weekend of good times and great vibes from a line-up of artists we are so very proud of.

"Seeing your smiling faces across the weekend has made all the hard work and two years of waiting worthwhile.”