Mercury Music winners say Edinburgh has stifling music scene for students

They think the music scene could be better than Glasgow’s

Newly-crowned Mercury Music Prize winners Young Fathers today blasted Edinburgh’s stringent noise policy for gagging artists’ creativity.

And they want to see better venues for music-loving students to hang out at.

The experimental hip-hop trio, who hail from the capital, said artists were finding it tough to prosper in the city.

Band member Graham Hastings said: “They shut down anything if you try to make noise. I’ve been in studios where these guys come with meters and tell you to get out.

“It’s a city for tourists and rich, middle-class people – it’s not made for people to be creative.”


And the band think it a real shame considering the huge amount of students in Edinburgh, but there simply aren’t enough places for them to let their creative juices flow. Band manager Tim Brinkhurst said:

“Despite having a much bigger student population than Glasgow, the live music scene in the capital seems less vibrant and this can be partially blamed on the lack of regular, established venues.

“What’s needed are small bars, shops and venues which aren’t just places where live music can be heard, but which appeal to music-loving younger people.

“If the dead space that was Shoreditch can be turned into a throbbing music mecca, then surely Scotland’s capital should be able to transform itself in a similar fashion.

“The benefits would be felt in a city which feels ‘open’ all year and not just during festival season.”


Edinburgh council has pledged to do more to help live music thrive in the city, and will host a summit later this month attended by musicians and promoters.

The city has previously announced plans to draw up a five-year master plan emulating live music meccas such as Austin, Texas, and Sydney.

Cllr Richard Lewis, Convener of culture and sport at Edinburgh council said: “We hope to work with key stakeholders in the sector to form a taskforce and draw on examples from other successful cities.

“We hope to build on these strong foundations and ensure that live music can continue to thrive and grow across the whole of Edinburgh in future.


“A meeting this month will aim to better understand the challenges faced by the sector and I look forward to hearing what music industry professionals, businesses and local groups have to say.”

In response to the council plans, Tim Brinkhurst said: “The statement from Edinburgh council is encouraging, as long as any taskforce formed has the ability to do more than just report.

“Hopefully the council will understand that the licensing and environmental issues are crucial and need to be addressed.  This shouldn’t cost them a penny.

“If we are successful, then we can show there is a rock’n’roll heart beating underneath that fur coat.

“If not, then we’re talking longjohns and support stockings and a cup of tea before an early night.”