A new music map of Edinburgh has been launched to encourage visitors and residents to explore the city’s venues, live music bars, record shops and ‘musical’ places of interest.
Acclaimed local band swim school, who recently signed a record deal with LAB Records, took a break from playing festivals across the UK to help launch the map at Sneaky Pete’s, one of Edinburgh’s most vital music venues.
The Edinburgh Music Map, which features a selection of around 50 music destinations across the capital, has been created by Forever Edinburgh, the city’s destination marketing brand, in collaboration with local music site Edinburgh Music Lovers.
The map lists around 20 of the city’s main music venues which regularly host gigs such as Sneaky Pete’s, a recent winner of the UK’s Grassroots Music Venue of the Year; former Veterinary School, Summerhall; 5-star flagship venue The Usher Hall; and the recently rebranded O2 Academy Edinburgh.
Also included are the city’s numerous independent record shops such as newcomer Thorne Records in Bruntsfield and stalwart shops such as Underground Solu’shn, Avalanche and Assai Records. A selection of music bars across Edinburgh that host traditional live music sessions, such as Whistle Binkies, Bannermans and Sandy Bell’s, are also featured.
The map features a link to a specially curated all-Edinburgh playlist featuring music by a new wave of exciting Edinburgh bands and artists including swim school, Hamish Hawk and Callum Easter, as well as established names such as Young Fathers and The Proclaimers.
The launch of The Edinburgh Music Map, which is available to download from Forever Edinburgh’s website with a printed version expected to follow, comes at a time when the story of the city’s eclectic and evolving live music scene is entering an exciting new chapter as it emerges from the pandemic.
Edinburgh has a new venue in the pipeline, with the development of the Dunard Centre in the New Town. This 1,000-capacity concert hall will be the city’s first purpose-built venue in more than 100 years when it opens in 2026. In addition, an old venue, Leith Theatre, is being gradually brought back to life – in August, it will host a series of gigs as part of the Edinburgh International Festival.
The city is also playing host to a number of largescale events this summer such as the Connect Music Festival at the Royal Highland Centre and the Summer Sessions in Princes Street Gardens.
Alice Johnson, singer and guitarist for swim school, said: “Sneaky Pete’s is one of our favourite venues in Edinburgh. We have played the venue multiple times and also been to watch so many of our favourite bands there – whether you are on stage or in the audience, the energy and atmosphere is always amazing. You can tell it’s a highly loved venue the moment you step foot in the door so we hope this map helps encourage more musicians and fans to come to Edinburgh.”
Nick Stewart, owner of the Sneaky Pete’s venue and a leading campaigner for live music in Edinburgh, said: “Edinburgh is a music city with a rich history of great gigs by outstanding touring and local acts. Its nightlife is built around music culture, and it’s great to see it recognised in this map of hotspots.”
Karl Chapman, Head of Heritage, Cultural Venues, Museums & Galleries at City of Edinburgh Council, said: “It’s exciting to see the launch of Edinburgh’s music map. I’m sure this will become an invaluable resource for music fans both for those who want to visit the city and also residents.
“Our music scene was hard hit by the pandemic, and it needs support to bounce back even bigger and better. I’m sure the new music map will play a key role in raising awareness of and encouraging visitors and residents to explore our eclectic music scene, along with other Forever Edinburgh initiatives, such as the recently appointed music reviewer.”
The map is part of Forever Edinburgh’s The Story Never Ends campaign which promotes the capital’s ever-evolving stories and array of experiences that are always developing, just like its music scene, to both visitors and residents. It is also part of a drive by Forever Edinburgh to encourage visitors to explore the city’s exciting music scene by promoting it to new audiences via its website and social media channels which are viewed by millions each year.
In May, Forever Edinburgh appointed an official music reviewer to write reviews of gigs in the city that help encourage more music fans around the UK to visit Edinburgh. The reviewer, Stuart Niven, 37, a learning and development consultant from Leith with a passion for music and an interest in writing, is reviewing gigs each month by local artists and touring performers across Edinburgh venues.
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