AT least half a billion pounds has been contributed to the city’s economy since the SSE Hydro opened its doors five years ago, it has been revealed. 

The venue, which turns five years old this Sunday, has performed beyond expectations, attracting an audience of more than five million concert-goers from September 30, 2013.

Peter Duthie has been at the forefront of establishing the Hydro as one of the world’s top live entertainment venues in his role as chief executive of the Scottish Event Campus.

Read more: Hydro turns five: We want your celebrity selfies - have you met an A-lister?

“I can say with some confidence, since it opened, it would have contributed half a billion pounds to the Glasgow economy,” Peter said.

Although that impressive figure came from research looking at live entertainment as a whole at the Scottish Event Campus, it is clear that the numbers coming through the Hydro doors speak for themselves.

A total of 5,094,032 concert goers have attended over 373 events at the venue which sits in the city’s Finnieston, a figure which surpassed Peter’s expectations. 

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He said: “The business plan for the Hydro was based on 700,000 visitors a year and we have been doing over a million which is fantastic, so it has exceeded our expectations for sure. 

“But we were confident that it would do well but not quite as well as it has done.”

He continued: “During the process of doing the business case for the Hydro, we found that people in Scotland attend live music more than anywhere else in UK.

“We knew that Glasgow had a reputation for being a lively audience that the artist loved but we had to get some statistics behind the number of people who actually attend.” 

The director of one of Scotland’s biggest promoters Contact Music believes the venue has enabled him to bring more world class acts to Scotland.

Read more: Hydro turns five: We want your celebrity selfies - have you met an A-lister?

Mark Mackie, who put on concerts at the Hydro for Liam and Noel Gallagher, separately of course, The Proclaimers and Neil Young, said touring acts previously got frustrated over the lack of available dates in the old SECC Hall 4, which was a space also used for exhibitions and conferences.

He said: “People stopped asking about availability because they got frustrated. There was never availability in the SECC Hall 4.

“Sometimes we wouldn’t get the phone call because they would assume it wasn’t free.

“Since the Hydro opened, we are getting the phone calls because they know it is available. 

“It is purpose built for us, it sounds and looks great, and the public love it. They like going there, it is a good night out, it sells well – that is why it is one of the biggest selling grossing arenas from nothing.”

Read more: Hydro turns five: We want your celebrity selfies - have you met an A-lister?

The £125million arena, which was designed by Foster + Partners, was just pipped to the top spot of the world’s busiest arenas in 2017 by The 02 Arena in London; Madison Square Garden in New York and Manchester Arena, which is not bad considering the venue is the youngest. 

The Hydro was first approved by the board at the SECC in 2001. Two years later, a £125m master plan for the project, named QD2, the second development of the Queens Dock, was unveiled. In 2006, full planning consent was granted for Scotland’s new national arena. 

It took, however, a few more years before building work got off the ground in February, 2011. 

Read more: Hydro turns five: We want your celebrity selfies - have you met an A-lister?

And it was more than two years later that rocker Rod Stewart took to the stage to officially open the Hydro. 

The night almost didn’t happen, however, when fire erupted months before the grand opening in the roof of the building while it was under construction.

It was later determined by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service that the blaze was caused by sparks from welding on the roof, but the venue still opened according to schedule.

Peter said: “The Hydro has actually provided in some senses very few challenges, and more opportunities because functionally the building works really well.

Read more: Hydro turns five: We want your celebrity selfies - have you met an A-lister?

“Part of that was because our operational team, who had great experience of putting on concerts in other buildings, were able to engage with the architects when it was getting built. They were able to dedicate what the building needed to be able to do.”

Peter has seen the business grow to what it has become today during his 35 year career at the Scottish Event Campus, and he admits the Hydro is something he is particularly proud of.

He said: “I am really proud of it and as you may be aware I have a long association with the business. 

“We are very proud of what has been achieved but its been delivered by the people of Glasgow who have come out and supported the venue. 

“We just gave them something which was worthy of their status as some 
of the world’s best fans.”

He added: “There is a really strong pipeline for next year with lots more A-list artists coming and there is nothing to suggest that live entertainment is going to do anything other than continue to thrive.

“I would like to think the Hydro would continue to do around one million visitors a year, possibly increasing a little bit.
“Scotland should be proud of the Hydro, it’s very much a success story for Glasgow.”

TOMORROW: Celebration of the Hydro turning five continues with an exclusive interview with the woman responsible for bringing the biggest music acts to the city.