Summerhall bid for year-round concerts

Withered Hand front man Dan Wilson
Withered Hand front man Dan Wilson
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ONE of Edinburgh’s leading Fringe venues has vowed to reverse the fortunes of the Capital’s under-fire music scene by attracting some of the leading up-and-coming acts from the UK and abroad to play gigs.

Summerhall hopes a new series of year-round concerts will kick-start a revival of gig-going in the city following the controversial demise of key venues like the Venue, Picture House and Odeon.

The events in the former vet school – which already hosts plays, exhibitions and cabaret nights throughout the year – will be staged under the ironic banner of Nothing Ever Happens Here, in a bid to overturn the city’s unwelcome reputation for failing to support live music.

Jamie Sutherland, frontman of one of Edinburgh’s most successful bands of recent years, Broken Records, is behind the gigs, which will be staged against the backdrop of an ongoing debate about the lack of support for culture in Edinburgh outwith August.

A host of Scotland’s leading indie, folk, acoustic and rock acts have already agreed to perform at the initial 12 confirmed gigs, including Withered Hand, King Creosote, James Yorkston, RM Hubbert, Teen Canteen and Rozi Plain.

The gigs, which will be held in the venue’s old “dissection room”, have been announced just three months after a crisis summit into the health of the city’s live music scene. Critics claim it has been allowed to decline due to a lack of protection for historic sites from developers, harsh noise restrictions over grassroots music events and a shortage of 
medium-sized venues.

Sam Gough, head of events at Summerhall, said: “We’ve really decided to do these gigs on the back of all that. Someone has got to draw a line and get on with it.

“There isn’t really a venue with a capacity of around 400 that’s working well in Edinburgh at the moment. We’re trying to attract bands who would think about coming to play in Edinburgh but can’t find the right venue and end up only playing in Glasgow. We’re trying to end all that.”

Mr Sutherland said he was aiming to lure the best international emerging talent to the 450-capacity space.

He added: “We’re really looking to fill the hole between venues like Henry’s Cellar Bar or Sneaky Pete’s and the Liquid Rooms or the Queen’s Hall. There seems a real gap.”