Local venue closures are set to shape Edinburgh and the Lothian’s music scene

By Conor Quinn

The now defunct venue that once supported local bands

The Hunstman in Mayfield closed its doors after a recent revival from its last closure in 2008. Acts within the Midlothian district had received spots on the frequently hosted musical nights within the venue, which will now play host to another store.

Local band ‘Bottom of The Night’, a post hardcore outfit from the area saw the Huntsman’s closure as ‘a real loss’

Dale Wylie, the band’s frontman reminisced of their earlier gigs in the venue. “We played our first gig in there, right across from my house. Everyone seemed really welcoming, they embraced the music nights.” Not only was the venue pivotal in the growth of the surrounding area’s bands, but many locals saw this as a place to socialise and be exposed to many different genre’s of music.

Wylie continued: “Of course it’s going to be handy to have a store across the road but it just doesn’t have the same sort of benefits the Huntsman had for the community.”

This precedes the recently announced closure of another venue within the Edinburgh area, the Forest Cafe, which was renowned for featuring many Fringe acts. The cafe’s landlords were forced into administration recently, threatening Forest Cafe’s existence .

The owner’s of the part-time cafe are attempting to avert the crisis by raising the £500,00 required funds to resurrect the home of many quirky fringe acts. Andy Field and Deborah Pearson, artistic directors for the Forest Fringe : “Without the Forest Cafe having offered us the opportunity to use the Bristo Hall each summer since 2007, Forest Fringe would categorically not now exist and all of the 200-plus companies that have worked with Forest in the last four years would in some way have been affected.”

Both are directly in correlation with the recession despite ticket sales in the Scottish music scene growing 37 percent, ‘punching above its weight’ according to Will Page, economist for music industry body PRS. The UK music industry contributed £3.6 billion to the economy in 2009, growing 5 percent since the year prior.

The holes in these venue owner’s pockets have grown too quickly and vast for any reasonable measures, a blow that both the Edinburgh and the Lothian music scenes will be set to feel.