8,500-capacity Edinburgh music venue ‘too small to tempt biggest acts away from Glasgow Hydro’ – readers react

Evening News readers have their say on plans for 8,500-capacity Edinburgh concert arena
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Plans for Edinburgh’s first purpose-built concert hall in over 100 years have been met with a mixed response from locals, with some saying the proposed arena is too small to attract the biggest names in music.

As reported in Wednesday’s Evening News, a major new venue with capacity for 8,500 people could transform the music scene in the Capital if plans submitted by the company behind London’s O2 Arena are given the go-ahead.

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It is hoped that work could start on the new venue, which promises to bring “world-class live music and entertainment” to the city, early next year. The first acts are then expected to take to the stage in 2027 under the planned timetable.

Plans for Edinburgh’s first purpose-built concert hall in over 100 years have been met with a mixed response from locals.Plans for Edinburgh’s first purpose-built concert hall in over 100 years have been met with a mixed response from locals.
Plans for Edinburgh’s first purpose-built concert hall in over 100 years have been met with a mixed response from locals.

But while the news was welcomed by most, some readers were left feeling underwhelmed by the size of the venue. Readers took to the Edinburgh Evening News Facebook page to vent.

“I don't know that an 8,500 arena will be enough to tempt some of the biggest acts away from the Hydro, but this is a huge step in the right direction,” said Blair Dinwoodie.

Scott MacKellar agreed, saying: “It needs to be 12,000 minimum. Artists want as much income as possible, why play to 8,500 fans when 50 miles along the M8 they can play to 14,000? We need a venue but this size is pointless.”

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Gary Glover pitched in, writing: “Needs to be at least 10k but this is great news. Artists big or small can then choose to play both the Hydro and the new Edinburgh venue... more money for them and only having to travel 50 miles. Music lovers are crying out for this…let’s get it done guys.”

Andrew J Swanson is crossing his fingers for the arena to get the go-ahead. He said: “The gigs at Edinburgh Castle of 9000 were very much proof there is a demand, but an arena that operates all year around and managed by the right company is what’s been needed for years in Edinburgh. The council was never going to do it, so it was always going to be private money. Fingers crossed it all goes ahead.”

Jonathan Hume said the news was “definitely a great step forward,” adding, “not having a decent indoor arena for music has always been a huge drawback for Edinburgh.”

Graeme Thomson thinks an 8,500-capacity venue is about the right size. He said: “There’s loads of bands that are too big for the O2 Academy venues and too small for the Hydro, so this is perfect. Maybe some of the tours that skip Scotland will now pop over the border, and a better chance to get tickets for the ones that do come to the O2 Academy venues but sell out instantly.”

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Ewan Hebson reckons Edinburgh “has been crying out for an arena for years”, but he wants it to be bigger than what’s being proposed, saying, “every other major city in the UK has one but the capacity needs to be at least 10k.”

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