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Edinburgh Festival chief calls for new city venue

Linehan says capital needs 1,000-seater concert hall

Date : 14/10/2015

The new director of the Edinburgh International Festival has called for a new concert hall venue for the city.

Fergus Linehan said the capital needed a medium-sized venue which can host different styles of musical events. He said: “Venues need maintaining and there are gaps at the moment. The main one is for a 1,000-seater concert hall. Music in Edinburgh is being held back by the absence of a really world-class facility of that scale. If you could do just one thing in the city that would be it.

“It is not just us that needs it, music in the city needs it. All sorts of genres of music gets pushed into venues which are fine, but they deserve better. You see what Glasgow can do with all of its venues and the way something like Celtic Connections can move through all of them. We don’t have anything like that.

A spokeswoman for The City of Edinburgh Council added that the authority was committed to ensuring that “live music can continue to thrive and grow”.

She said: “A gap remains in the provision of a mid-scale music venue, but there are challenges around what the council can practically do and afford, and unless funding is realised for a project of this scale, this gap remains.”

Scotland’s economy is benefiting to the tune of £280 million a year from “music tourism,” according to research commissioned by the industry body UK Music. It revealed that the number of music tourists coming into the UK had increased by more than a third in just three years.

It found that more than 2000 full-time jobs were supported by the 720,000 foreign and domestic visitors to festivals and major concerts across the country last year; and that the average overseas visitor spent £724 a head during their trip to Scotland.

Scotland’s rich cultural history and passion for celebration make it a natural centre for events, festivals and cultural tourism. Find out how to capitalise on this market, and exceed all visitor expectations with our Events, Festivals and Cultural Tourism Intelligence Guide.