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Glasgow nightclub owner says coronavirus arts funding has been 'elitist'

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Glasgow nightclub owner says coronavirus arts funding has been 'elitist'

The owner of Glasgow’s The Garage and Cathouse nightclubs says emergency coronavirus arts funding “has been elitist” in its distribution to theatres and not pubs and clubs.

In an interview on Holyrood’s Politically Speaking podcast, Donald MacLeod said: “I want to see Nicola do a better job of healing wounds and getting the economy going.

“Let us know if you hate pubs and clubs, because at the moment we’re not getting any help.

“I think it’s been an absolute disgrace the amount of money, the sheer amount of money, millions that’s went into the arts and theatres.

“I would argue that The Garage has done more for Scotland’s culture and contemporary music over the last 25 years than the Tron [Theatre] ever has or ever will do. The funding has been elitist, in my view, at the moment.”

He said First Minister Nicola Sturgeon had done “a great job” in steering Scotland through the health crisis, but that: “Now it’s time to do a better job, get the economy going.”

“Just get Scotland back to the way it was, happy not divided. We have become a country that is quite divided now.”

He said the virus had been detrimental to Scottish musicians.

“It’s stopped rehearsals. It’s stopped gigs, it’s stopped musicians from being able to play in front of an audience.”

“If you think of any great band, they have a dynamic front man, a brilliant guitar player, you can only get that with touring and with rehearsals, not in front of a laptop.”

On the timing of clubs reopening, he admitted it would be difficult under the current social distancing restrictions.

“You can’t have nightclubs and dancing with social distancing, you can’t have live music with social distancing,” he said.

MacLeod said he believes we will have to learn to live with the virus and “’we’ve got to bring an element of risk back”, adding that “we need to have a date to work towards” to prepare clubs and “do things like make The Garage half the capacity… and still have the masks and the hand sanitiser”.

Read the most recent article written by Staff reporter - Q&A: Alex Cole-Hamilton on the health of the nation

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