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Shout! for new music venue in Edinburgh, Walking Tour blog

a store inside of a building

Regular live music is planned for Shout!

Inspired by the Rip It Up exhibition which took place at the National Museum of Scotland in 2018, Shout! The Scottish Music Experience is a newly launched exhibition, bar and performance space in Edinburgh’s Waverly Mall.

At the heart of Shout! is an exhibition comprising memorabilia, listening posts and info panels on many of the performers who have shaped the Scottish music scene since the 1950s.

From Jackie Dennis to Twin Atlantic via Alex Harvey and Simple Minds, the exhibition tells the story of the country’s biggest and most influential bands.

Located on the lowest level of the Waverley Mall, Shout! also operates as a café bar and mini-performance space.

Daily live music slots are in the pipeline and the space can also be used for film screenings, poetry events, photography shows, live streams and other cultural happenings.

Chris Brinkley, author of the recently published 16 Years: Gigs in Scotland 1974-1990, will be doing a Q+A at the venue on Friday 25th September.

Big ambitions

The current Shout! may be compact but it has big ambitions. Early next year, the plan is to expand into an adjacent unit and operate as a 19,000 sq ft venture over three floors.

As well as a bar on every floor, the new extended Shout! aims to open a 300-350 capacity music venue in the premises.

The venue would be aimed at acts that were perhaps on the second rung of the touring ladder. The sort of band that had already played the 100 capacity Sneaky Pete’s and were able to take things up a notch. Something between the Mash House and La Belle.

It could be a valuable addition to Edinburgh’s music scene and, since it will be located in a shopping mall, there won’t be any problems with residents complaining about the noise. An issue that has not helped the fate of a number of Edinburgh music venues.

With acts playing between 6pm and 9pm, phase II of Shout! aims to complement Edinburgh’s existing musical infrastructure rather than compete with other venues where gigs tend to start from 9pm.

As well as serving the local market, the idea is that Shout! will join the city’s range of tourist attractions. Benefitting from a prime city centre location, with Waverley train station next door, it is well placed to do so.

Eight million people pass through Waverley Mall each year and Shout! is aiming to attract 80,000 visitors in phase I rising to 300,00 in phase II.

Malls to music venues

Without wishing to run before anyone can walk, there is talk of expanding the idea to other cities and even other countries. A music-themed hotel has been discussed.

However things pan out, Shout! is an interesting response to changing trends in retail. Internet shopping is a long way off killing the High Street but it is having an impact on bricks and mortar commerce.

Establishing music venues in city centre shopping malls could diversify the malls’ business while providing the type of performance spaces that many cities lack.

Veteran gig-goers might scoff that a concert in a shopping centre can’t compare with a night at Glasgow’s Barrow land or a sweaty gig in The Liquid Rooms.

Possibly but one point that our music tours make clear is that many, much loved existing venues have chequered pasts that weren’t always connected with the music business.

Things change and, for the teenagers about to start their gig-going careers, watching a band in a venue in a shopping centre might seem as normal as seeing a show in the backroom of a dive bar was for their parents.

You can keep an eye on Shout’s upcoming events and gigs via their Facebook.