THOUSANDS attended a free afternoon 3D Festival music event at Slessor Gardens yesterday as Dundee’s massive party to celebrate the opening of its new V&A museum continued.

Musicians playing included Gary Clark, Be Charlotte and Kyle Falconer, following a massive gig featuring Primal Scream the previous night.

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Among those celebrating were actor Brian Cox, who is from the city and said the new museum will “put it on the map for the first time” as the £80.1 million museum officially opened to the public yesterday.

The Dundee native flew back from work in Spain to be one of the first through the doors and said it was a “very emotional experience”.

Cox said: “I think we all agree, those of us who are close to the city and who are close to what is going on here, it’s a very emotional experience.

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“Especially for me, I’ve known the city for many years, I was born here, went to school here and had my first theatre roles here, so to return and see what’s happening now – it’s transformed the city.

“It will attract industry and it will attract tourists, it’s the beginning of hopefully a paradigm shift in Dundee and it will put Dundee on the map for the first time.”

School pupils from Dundee were among the first of 3000 members of the public welcomed into the building yesterday.

Scott Regan, 17, of the city’s St Paul’s Academy, said: “It’s a real privilege being one of the first people in.

“There’s so many people from other schools who could’ve got the chance to be the first one to step in the V&A. It’s really impressive. I can’t believe it’s in Dundee.”

He was joined by Shannon Balfour, also 17, from Morgan Academy who said it was an “amazing experience”.

“The architecture is amazing and the building inside is just fantastic,” she added.

Entry to the museum on its opening weekend was limited to 3000 winners of a free ticket ballot, with general admission from tomorrow. The attraction is expected to host 500,000 visitors a year.

The Scottish Design Galleries feature 300 exhibits drawn from the V&A’s collections of Scottish design, as well as from museums and private collections across the world.

V&A Dundee director Philip Long said there is a “real sense of optimism” at the opening.

He said: “It’s wonderful to see people coming into the museum and really bringing it alive.”

Dundee is pursuing wide economic benefits from the V&A that could impact the entire region. A spokeswoman for Dundee City Council said that before the museum even opened tourism spend in the region is growing, contributing £172m to the Dundee economy in the year to April 2017.

Alison Henderson, chief executive of Dundee and Angus Chamber of Commerce told the Sunday National the city has enjoyed a surge of interest and investment over the past few years.

“Dundee has some great qualities – connectivity, location, people and costs – that make it very attractive for investors and the V&A of course is a fantastic asset,” she said. “Tourism businesses, hotels and restaurants are all opening up and taking on staff, and there is a definite feeling of growth.

“In comparison [to Edinburgh and Glasgow] Dundee and Angus offers great value for money, with a wide skills base from universities and colleges.

“We’ve even seen the benefit ourselves, we are the fastest growing Chamber of Commerce in the UK at the moment – up from 420 members in 2014 to 690 members today.”