Edinburgh Park Arena: Why the planned concert venue is just what the Capital needs

Edinburgh music fans may soon not have to travel elsewhere to see their favourite artists live.
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This week saw plans officially submitted for an 8,500-capacity arena at Edinburgh Park.

AEG Europe's planning bid marks a major milestone for a venture the firm says will boost the economy by £520 million and create 1,350 jobs. Gig-goers in the Capital have long had to travel to Glasgow to see their favourite artists live, but it is hoped the development could prompt many performers to head east too.

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Aberdeen's P&J Live has also become a major gig destination since opening in 2019, with its success making music fans in Scotland's second-biggest city even more keen to see something similar here. Of course, a fair share of big names have graced the stage at Murrayfield recently.

The proposed new concert arena at Edinburgh Park is hoped to be up and running by 2027.The proposed new concert arena at Edinburgh Park is hoped to be up and running by 2027.
The proposed new concert arena at Edinburgh Park is hoped to be up and running by 2027.

Harry Styles, Beyoncé and Bruce Springsteen performed at Scotland's biggest stadium last year, while the Summer Sessions always bring exciting acts to town. But although we love those outdoor gigs, the temperamental Scottish weather means they can only take place in the warmer months.

Likewise, you'd struggle to find a music-lover in the Capital who doesn't have a soft spot for the Usher Hall or the O2 Academy, formerly known as the Corn Exchange. Those venues play host to up-and-coming artists and established names who deliver intimate sets in front of adoring crowds.

A larger arena, though, will allow Auld Reekie to become a tour destination for big stars throughout the year and regardless of the weather. With the Capital's famously picturesque views, vibrant arts scene and world-class tourist sites, it's unlikely they'd need much convincing to visit.

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Although Edinburgh certainly has no shortage of big events, the new venue could also make the city a firm candidate for major showbiz occasions. Eurovision fans will surely be rubbing their hands in the hope the contest comes to town for the first time since 1972.

The proposed location - behind the train station at Edinburgh Park with the airport just a few tram stops away - boasts strong transport links and would be sure to boost the economy on the city's western edge. With the site located just off the M8 motorway, access would also be easy for concert-goers from the rest of Scotland.

The developers, who run London's O2 Arena and the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin to name just a couple, say more than 150 shows a year could take place at the arena. Such a figure would see Edinburgh's gig offering rival those of other major European capitals and secure its place as a major cultural hub.

Should the plans come to fruition, it would mark the culmination of decades of efforts to build a big arena. In 2004, proposals for a venue at Leith Docks failed to get off the ground and, more recently, a planned 8,000 capacity arena in Straiton never came about.

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It's always been a source of confusion that Edinburgh doesn't have a venue to rival those of other cities, especially when there's clearly so much appetite for it locally. But it seems our wishes may finally come to pass - and we probably speak for every music fan in the Capital when we say we can't wait.

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