What if Edinburgh was one of the best cities in the UK for music? Like a Manchester, Bristol, or Glasgow.
That's one of the thoughts behind Edinburgh Music Lovers. Why can't the capital of Scotland, a city with a worldwide reputation for culture, become a thriving music city? What would it take to get there? And how could I work with others to strengthen Edinburgh's place on the music map?
I feel slightly cautious about being so ambitious about it. Maybe it's an Edinburgh thing; a conservatism and lack of confidence. Or maybe it's because I've already heard people* far more experienced and knowledgeable than me suggesting I'm naive and don't know how things work.
But then I remember what a couple of guys** who once set out on a similar mission to have a go at something pretty big said to me recently - don't apologise for saying and doing what you believe in. Just go for it.
I believe Edinburgh can become a great city for music. It might take 5, 10, 15 years or more, but I reckon with a bit of strategic joined-up thinking and a collective collaborative spirit, we could get there.
There are 100s of current and historic reasons why Edinburgh isn't a leading music city. Lack of venues is a common complaint. Venue closures and lack of council support have clearly been an issue and, yes, Edinburgh doesn't have a Barrowlands or a Hydro. But my view is that Edinburgh has its own gems in the likes of Usher Hall and the re-emerging Leith Theatre, two venues any city in the world would be proud of.
Having researched things for several months***, I also think the city is about to hit an upward curve when it comes to music. Over the next 5 years or more, Edinburgh is going to gain several venues that could transform music in the city. From the re-birth of Leith Theatre and the development of Rose Street Theatre into a music venue, to the new concert hall in St Andrew Square, and the redevelopment of the Ross Bandstand, along with other venues in the pipeline, I see positive things on the horizon.
So how does Edinburgh Music Lovers fit into this? My goal is to work alongside others to help drive music up the agenda in Edinburgh. There are lots of people doing amazing things for music in Edinburgh just now and I take my hat off to each one. My hope with Edinburgh Music Lovers is that I can add something new to the mix and for the wider good of the city - whether that's interesting events, connections, PR and marketing expertise, or just fresh ideas and energy.
It might sound naive or come to nothing, but I'm committed to giving it a serious go. I hope I can help make a difference. And what if I can? What if Edinburgh could become one of the best cities in the UK for music? How cool would that be.😄
* The founder of a festival got in touch to check if Edinburgh Music Lovers was a 'parody'
** The super talented and lovely humans Ian and Jordan at Studio Something
*** Including meetings and discussions with more than 50 people involved in music, culture and tourism at local and national levels