By Neil Pooran
COUNCIL bosses are under fire for spending almost £40,000 of public money getting Jedward and other “X-Factor rejects” to play at a loss-making concert.
The Glasgow Show, held in Glasgow Green in August last year, made a loss of more than £140,000.
As well as bringing in the Irish pop duo, Glasgow Council spent more than £5,000 to hire Take That and Abba tribute acts.
The show cost £274,126 to organise but only made £133,148, and critics are “shocked” the spending was made as the council faces cutbacks and job losses.
The local authority organises the Glasgow Show every year, billing it as an “exhilarating weekend of amazing entertainment and exciting activities.”
But the event failed to recoup the money spent on it, as the council tries to find savings of £50million by 2015 and cuts to jobs are said to be inevitable
Zap Entertainment, an agency which supplies musicians for events, was given £40,000 for the performers it provided last year.
The firm received £33,600 after it drummed up Jedward , who came sixth in the 2009 season of X Factor.
Other contestants on the show, Lloyd Daniels and Joe McElderry, were also provided with the £33,600 invoice, along with singer Carrie Mac and Britain’s Got Talent Winner Jai McDowell from Talbolton in Ayrshire.
Zap Entertainment also received £56,340 for a Take That tribute act and an Abba/70s event.
Another company, Tony York Associates, was paid £14,940 for stunt shows, £4,200 for Smiley and George the Happy Trains”, and £3,696 for Tony Christian’s High Fall Show.”
The council had to ditch a hospitality tent at the event after it attracted negative publicity in 2010.
Councillors and their guests could enjoy free food and booze in the tent, with public money picking up the bill.
Councillors are still given free tickets to attend the Glasgow show, and an adult ticket this year’s show costs £5.
Conservative councillor David Meikle said: “I’m shocked that this Labour council spent £40,000 on singers to perform at the Glasgow show.
“These are tough financial times and it is more important the council cuts unnecessary expenditure.
“By all means continue with the show, but we should not be subsidising pop stars and X Factor rejects.”
Graeme Hendry, the SNP group leader at the council, said: “The Glasgow Show has been around for a long time and many Glaswegians enjoy it.
“However, the administration will have to make hard decisions and work to ensure the event does at least break even.
“I’m pretty confidant the Glasgow Show will not lose much in the way of popularity if we stopped paying exorbitant fees for the likes of Jedward.”
Up to 1,000 jobs could go at the council as it tries to make savings, on top of almost 3,000 staff who have left since 2010.
A council spokesman said sponsorship and external support had been increased for the event, adding: “The Glasgow Show is always a popular event in the city’s calendar and, in 2011, around 70,000 enjoyed the weekend at Glasgow Green.”