The Soundhouse is, at the moment, an ambition: to found a bespoke live music centre based in Edinburgh led by musicians and audiences.
Its origins can be traced back to the early 1980s when a graphic design student called Douglas Robertson was instrumental in the opening and operation of Edinburgh College of Art’s Wee Red Bar. He was also involved in organising the annual Art School Revels.
Fast forward to 2002 and Douglas, by then a photographer living in a converted shop on the edge of Holyrood Park, was asked to host a house concert for his old friend Dean Owens, one of Edinburgh’s best known and best regarded singer songwriters. When Douglas’s other musician friends got to hear about Dean’s gig they began asking if they could play in the house too.
As these musicians toured and told other musicians about playing in the house, more and more of them got in touch asking to entertain Douglas and his friends.
By 2012 Douglas and his partner Jane-Ann had put on literally hundreds of gigs in their house, welcoming bands from all over the world, and inviting audiences of friends to come and see them. Their ethos is always to treat the musicians well and ask for donations from audience members that go direct to the artists. As a result these musicians come back time and again to play their favourite gig. In 2012 Douglas and Jane-Ann dipped their collective toe into commercial promotion when they put on a gig at the Queen’s Hall for New Orleans blues legend and house favourite Chris Smither.
From 2013 Douglas and Jane-Ann started investigating a proper venue in Edinburgh where musicians can perform, rehearse and record. They want to encourage teaching and learning too through workshops and master classes for professional musicians led by the very best exponents from around the world. The decision was made to set up The Soundhouse Organisation as a charity and they quickly put together a group of ten trustees made up of musicians and music lovers. You can read abut them here.
In December 2013 The Soundhouse Organisation achieved charity status, and in early 2014 began raising the funds for the new venue.
Heading into 2015 we will be putting on regular Monday night gigs at The Traverse Theatre Bar and concerts at The Pleasance when we can.
The new venue will have state-of-the-art equipment and promotional facilities. The Soundhouse, like the concerts in the house, will be non-profit and musician-led. The Soundhouse will help local and visiting musicians to make their vocation a viable occupation.
We are also keen to find a building that can be more than a venue. We hope to include a centre where musicians can meet, rehearse, record and have a space of their own.
The aim? To attract everyone who listens to and appreciates music; to entice people from their homes to enjoy music at its source, and to engage existing audiences for live music; to promote a memorable experience for audiences and musicians alike through a more positive attitude to live music, and a feeling of community.
The Soundhouse will encourage audiences to make live music a regular part of their lives.
What do you think?
Feel free to get in touch using the contact form below, and offer your opinions and expertise, and if you are aware of a possible venue or sources of funding we are all ears. Keep up to date with developments at the blog or sign up to receive our newsletter (see below).