GLASGOW faces losing the Gig on the Green festival just three years after it was launched.

The Gig's organisers are to consider moving the concert away from Glasgow Green next year to a rural venue instead.

It is understood they have already started scouting out new locations, including Loch Lomondside, which in recent years has hosted successful concerts by Oasis and Runrig.

Audience numbers for this year's Gig are expected to be around half those of 2001, after bad weather and a relatively obscure line-up depressed ticket sales.

The Gig's urban setting also put it at a disadvantage to countryside festivals such as Glastonbury and T in the Park, which offer music fans a more traditional festival experience, with overnight partying and no parents nearby.

A source close to the Gig said there was still a commitment to staging the festival somewhere in the central belt, but ''not necessarily on Glasgow Green''.

Final discussions on the future site are expected to take place in the autumn, along with a post-mortem of this year's failures.

The source said a ''significant factor'' in the decision would be a perceived lack of support from Glasgow City Council.

Earlier this week, one of the event promoters accused councillors of leaking negative stories to the press because they disliked the bands.

The council yesterday granted an entertainment licence for the Gig tomorrow and Sunday, based on crowds of up to 15,000 each day.

The organisers, On the Green, already had been granted licences for 35,000 a day, but had to reapply after poor sales forced them to rejig the site.

Speaking after the hearing, Barry Wright, a director of On the Green, said the company would need to ''reassess'' the event in light of this year's problems. He said: ''We feel that it's a great site in the centre of Glasgow, but there are many, many issues. There are difficulties, obviously, in a city centre site as well.''

Pressed about the event returning, he continued: ''It's not my shout to make that decision. I'm a director of On the Green, which is a company that's a partnership (of Regular Music) with the Mean Fiddler, and there will be full discussions with the board about the future.'' Mr Wright conceded this year's festival would make a loss, but refused to estimate how much.

However, with day passes costing (pounds) 35 and sales expected to be down 25,000 on last year, income from tickets alone is likely to be (pounds) 800,000 lower than in 2001.

A spokeswoman for promoter Regular Music said any suggestion the festival might move was ''pure and utter speculation''. Gig on the Green was launched in 2000, with Oasis, the Stereophonics, and Primal Scream contributing to its success.

Last year, Eminem, Marilyn Manson, and Iggy Pop helped attract about 50,000 fans.

This year, the organisers admit ''less commercial'' headliners such as the Prodigy and Slipknot have hit sales.

Slipknot, the popular masked ''nu-metal'' rockers, caused pandemonium when they agreed to a signing session in a city centre store earlier this year.

The band call their fans ''maggots'' and like to vomit on stage, but they are likely to prove less controversial than last year's stars, Marilyn Manson, the religion-baiting rock star and Eminem, the risque rapper.

Their appearances led to protests from Christian groups and both have faced charges in court.

Geoff Ellis, chief executive of DFConcerts, promoter of T in the Park, which attracted 105,000 people to Balado in Kinross last month, attributed his festival's success to a strong brand and the freedom of being away from home.

He said: ''People know what T in the Park is - it's a rite of passage for young people.

''Sometimes you want to go to a show and be home that night, but if you go to a festival in the true sense of the word, then part of the attraction is the escapism of being away for a full weekend.

''When you are a young kid, you don't necessarily want to go home after a music festival. You want to carry on and party.''

The Gig's fondness for fearsome rock bands is in evidence again this year, but with a dash of New York cool added to its mix of stars. Apart from Slipknot, the bill also includes the increasingly popular New York band, The Strokes, as well as British bands, The Prodigy, Pulp, and Spiritualized.

The Strokes, darlings of the music press on both sides of the Atlantic, have become a mainstream success since their appearance at the same festival last year. An early taste of the devotion felt for them was experienced then, when they were moved from the tent to the main stage because of the number of people wishing to see them.

festival flops

Live and Loud: came to a slushy end two days before it was due to begin June this year. Health and safety experts deemed Glasgow's Bellahouston Park too dangerous for young pop fans after heavy rainfall turned parts of the park into a quagmire.

Glastonbury: the annual Somerset festival, was cancelled in 2001 because of concerns over security. Too many fans were sneaking in without paying. A (pounds) 1m perimeter fence put paid to their illegal entry this year.

Roskilde, Denmark: Eight people were trampled to death and hundreds were injured in 2000 after fans surged forward during a Pearl Jam set.