The Scottish Event Campus opened its buildings, including the Armadillo and The SSE Hydro, back in August. Debbie McWilliams, the director of live entertainment there, is ready to leave the past 18 months behind and bring live entertainment back to Glasgow, home to some of the world’s most enthusiastic fans.
Like all over the world, they’ve played their part in the industry’s recovery by retaining tickets in significant numbers. “We’re more than ready to raise the roof once again,” McWilliams said.
During lockdown, the SEC served as a temporary medical facility and vaccination center for Scotland’s National Health Service. Other projects that moved forward while doors were closed include the drive toward 100% mobile ticketing and the delivery of a sustainable food strategy, “the first step in our action plan to target climate change,” according to McWilliams.
“Developed over the past two years with our official catering and hospitality partner Levy UK, we will champion high-quality food (and) environmentally friendly local suppliers,” she said.
The complex is on the cusp of completing a plan to remove all plastic packaging and switch to 100% reusable or recyclable, and is working toward ensuring that the whole campus operates on a 100% recyclable and compostable basis.
No matter how busy you’ve managed to keep yourself during the pandemic, it’s important to acknowledge that everyone’s mental health has been affected in some way during lockdown, she said. “It seems very apt that we introduced our Mental Health Strategy in February, which focuses on delivering activations and support through the NHS pillars of ‘keep learning,’ ‘take notice,’ ‘give,’ ‘be active’ and ‘connect,’ whilst recognizing that one size does not fit all,” said McWilliams, who recently received her accreditation as a trained Mental Health First Aider. (NHS refers to the U.K.’s National Health Service.)
McWilliams’ biggest positive takeaway from the pandemic is “the resilience demonstrated across the industry in the collaborative approach taken to the unified goal of influencing the return of live events,” she said. “We are now more passionate than ever about what it means to be able to host the calibre of events that we do, reinforcing our drive to maximize all opportunities available to our venues.”