Donald entered the live music industry as a guitarist in two rock bands: First Priority and The Crows. They were signed to two record and publishing companies MCA and EMI, and toured all over the UK, supporting the likes of The Clash, PIL and The Damned.
Since the opening of the very first but short-lived Cathouse Rock Club in 1989 in Bathgate, Donald was heavily involved in numerous clubs, bars and restaurants. Glasgow’s Cathouse Rock Club opened on Brown Street, in 1990 before upsizing to Union Street shortly after. The Garage, Scotland’s biggest nightclub opened in 1994 on Sauchiehall Street. Both have hosted thousands of gigs from the likes of Prince, One Direction, FLC , Coldplay , Pretenders, QOTSA, EODM, Ocean Colour Scene and Anthrax and both still feature prominently in the global live music circuit.
As a recognised promoter with CPL and Triple G Music, Donald has been involved with hundreds of acts and some of the world’s biggest names including Oasis, Fall Out Boy, Panic at the Disco, Black Stone Cherry, Rob Zombie and Rammstein.
Hold Fast Entertainment has won multiple awards from the Scottish Licence Trade News (SLTN) Awards and DRAM, winning an SLTN award each consecutive year from 2001-2005. In 2015, Donald was humbled to win the SLTN UK Industry Achievement Award in recognition for his services to the licence industry.
Always a loud and proud Macleod and never one to shy away from important issues that need addressed, especially with regards to licencing policy and the promotion of the night time economy, he was a columnist for The Mirror, The Sun, The Sunday Post and now The Herald Scotland, as well as passionately devoting an inordinate amount of his time and energy to charities and good causes.
In 2020, Donald was appointed an MBE for services in Music and Charity. He has been an integral part and driving force of Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy in Scotland, previously being both the co-chair of the Board of Management and Chairman of Fundraising. He continues to play a key role as Chairman of the charity’s Scottish Fundraising & Events Committee. Responsible for delivering the hugely successful Scottish Music Awards (SMAs), which since the beginning 22 years ago, has celebrated the works and achievements of many of Scotland’s talented array of musicians, artists and bands. Names such the Simple Minds, Emeli Sandi, Biffy Clyro, Amy Macdonald, Dougie Maclean, Paolo Nutini, raising an incredible amount in the process to support and maintain vital music therapy services in Scotland. He has helped to oversee a significant growth in music therapy provision and is pivotal in attracting funding for Nordoff Robbins work through fundraising events and corporate partnerships. He champions the work of the charity through his significant network of contacts in the music industry, business world and on the political platform.
Today, Monday 26th April, the Scottish Commercial Music Industry Task Force (SCMIT) have written a letter to the Scottish Government calling on it to act immediately to prevent the collapse of the Scottish Music industry.
Unlike England & Wales, the music industry in Scotland has no Government roadmap for re-opening and lacks any on-going sector specific financial support which is critical to sustaining the industry in Scotland.
The letter outlines the immediate threat to the Scottish economy in terms of both job losses and loss of income as well as what can be done by the Scottish Government to prevent this.
We are now witnessing the avoidable demise of the Scottish Music Industry. The jobs and talent we are losing will cause irreparable damage to our industry. Music is not just of economic importance to Scotland but is also of huge cultural and social significance and so the Scottish Government must act now. Today we are calling them to step up and provide a clear roadmap to re-opening that we can collectively follow and work toward, as is the case in England & Wales.
SCMIT member and Founder
The music industry in Scotland is worth close to half a billion pounds in music tourism alone. Live events are at the heart of Scotland’s cultural identity and all of this is in serious jeopardy right now as our industry continues to suffer with no meaningful roadmap nor any sector specific financial support available going forward. We need the Scottish Government to step up and give our industry some hope via indicative opening dates – without physical distancing – that we can use to start planning the journey back to creating life affirming moments for Scottish music fans. As regards, government support meantime, we are all (promoters, venues, festivals, managers, roadies, etc) merely seeking parity with our counterparts in England & Wales and given access to vital funding if the sector is to survive.
SCMIT member and CEO of DF Concerts and Events
A Modern Way Management, Active Events, AdLib, Asgard, ATC Live, BECTU, Craft Management, DF Concerts, Fly Events, Doune The Rabbit Hole, Hold Fast Entertainment, Ironworks Inverness, Regular Music and Sneaky Pete’s.
To Scottish Government,
We know you have previously recognised the value that music and culture holds for all sections of Scottish society. There now is a significant disconnection between the realities of how our industry can viably operate, and what is theoretically possible from the proposed re-start of the live music sector, as set out in the Scottish Government’s roadmap for the easing of restrictions.
Further to our letter on March 25th, we now write to you to highlight with urgency that Scotland’s support for music and culture has fallen behind all other parts of the UK. If not immediately addressed, the consequences of the current indecision and inaction for Scottish artists, venues, booking agents, festivals, freelancers, promoters and production companies will be catastrophic. The Scottish music industry contributes £453 million a year to the economy via music tourism alone. There are over 3,000 full-time positions and over 10,000 freelance contracts now at risk as a result of this continued inaction.
We are at breaking point. Scottish artists, venues, freelancers and music businesses cannot afford the impending cultural and economic cost in jobs, skill losses and cultural output, neither now nor in the future. Our industry has been closed for 12 months and will continue to generate no income until economically viable live music returns. We need to save Scottish music.
The problems are:
Scottish music has been muted by government-imposed restrictions. It’s been left behind the rest of the UK, which will have a catastrophic impact on our businesses, freelancers and artists. Our music industry, and through that, our cultural identity as a nation, is at critical risk; not just in the short-term, but for decades to come. As events continue to fall out of the calendar, more artists, freelancers and businesses face a point of no return, and will be forced to exit the industry. If no additional funding support is put in place until the viable re-opening of the live sector (i.e. with no physical distancing measures), our music industry as we know it will vanish. This will present devastating consequences for our economy, society and cultural output.
The Scottish Government must decide and communicate the circumstances, such as low prevalence of virus and percentage of population vaccinated, under which live music activity can go ahead without restrictions. They must also re-establish the principle that when due to public safety measures live music cannot viably go ahead, funding is in place to prevent the collapse of the Scottish live music industry.
The Scottish Commercial Music Industry Taskforce