With the long-running debate on whether or not Edinburgh should have its own 10,000 or more concert arena similar to the OVO Hydro in Glasgow or Aberdeen’s Exhibition and Conference Centre, we have taken a look at the Capital’s existing music venues.
Although we might not yet have a multi-million pound all-singing, all-dancing arena to draw the world’s biggest acts to the Capital, we have some of the most exciting intimate venues, particularly down Edinburgh’s Cowgate area, with other larger venues including the 109-year old Usher Hall on Lothian Road and the increasingly popular Royal Highland Showground at Ingliston.
1. Usher Hall
The Usher Hall has hosted concerts and events since its construction in 1914 and can hold approximately 2,200 people in its recently restored auditorium, which is well loved by performers due to its acoustics. Acts from all music genres from rock to opera have performed on the stage, from Oasis to Lewis Capaldi to Edinburgh's own The Bay City Rollers.
Photo by Andrew O'Brien. Photo: Andrew O'Brien
2. Cabaret Voltaire
A real favourite with Edinburgh's live music fans thanks to its cavernous feel and red-hot atmosphere. Mostly used by aspiring underground and unsigned acts, famous acts including Idlewild and The View have performed at the Blair Street venue. Cajun Dance Party are pictured at 'the Cab' in 2007. Photo: Kenny Smith
3. O2 Academy Edinburgh
Formerly the Chesser Corn Exchange, the O2 Academy continues to attract big performers to the Capital, with the like of The Libertines, The DMA's and The Snuts performing there since the pandemic. Jake Bugg is pictured performing there last year. Photo: KQ
4. Ross Bandstand
A controversial venue for many years, with long-mooted plans to transform the Princes Street Gardens venue failing to materialise. Every summer and at Hogmanay the venue is transformed with a huge stage erected on top of the existing bandstand stage to attract big names such as Pet Shop Boys, Tom Jones and Travis (pictured above performing last summer) in recent times. Photo: KQ