Young Fathers slam city noise policy

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Breakthrough act Young Fathers have slammed the Capital’s stringent noise policy for stifling creativity.

The hip-hop trio, who scooped the prestigious Mercury Music Prize last week, said artists were finding it tough to prosper in the city.

Band member Graham Hastings, from Drylaw, hit out at the council’s strict attitude to enforcement as it was revealed city chiefs will hold a summit in a bid to boost the Capital’s live music scene.

He said: “They shut down anything if you try to make noise. I’ve been in studios where these guys come with meters and tell you to get out.

“It’s a city for tourists and rich, middle-class people – it’s not made for people to be creative.”

Tim Brinkhurst, Young Fathers’ manager, said council chiefs could transform the city into a “throbbing music mecca” by relaxing enforcement.

He said there weren’t enough clubs for live music and that they were subject to “needless restrictions”.

“Despite having a much bigger student population than Glasgow, the live music scene in the Capital seems less vibrant and this can be partially blamed on the lack of regular, established venues,” he said.

“The opening of La Belle Angele is a good sign, but the kind of pop-up entrepreneurial enterprises needed are more ad-hoc and harder for the council to understand and sanction.

“What’s needed are small bars, shops and venues which aren’t just places where live music can be heard, but which appeal to music-loving younger people.

“If the dead space that was Shoreditch [in London] can be turned into a throbbing music mecca, then surely Scotland’s capital should be able to transform itself in a similar fashion.

“The benefits would be felt in a city which feels ‘open’ all year and not just during festival season.”

Mr Brinkhurst believes Leith Walk would be the “obvious place” for Edinburgh’s music scene.

Gillian McArthur, who owns Studio 24 on Calton Road which was closed down following a string of noise complaints, is among those keen to see the rules relaxed.

She said the “zero audibility” test applied at present was “too strict”.

The council has pledged to do more to help live music thrive, and will host a summit later this month attended by musicians and promoters.

The city has previously announced plans to draw up a five-year masterplan emulating live music meccas such as Austin in Texas and Sydney.

Culture leader Councillor Richard Lewis said the council was “committed” to securing the future of live music in the city.

He said: “There will be issues that we can deal with quickly and others that may take longer to realise, but by working with key stakeholders in the sector to form a taskforce, and drawing on examples from other successful cities, we hope to build on these strong foundations and ensure that live music can continue to thrive and grow across the whole of Edinburgh in future.

“A meeting this month will aim to better understand the challenges faced by the sector and I look forward to hearing what music industry professionals, businesses and local groups have to say.”