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Top 6 Places to Hear Live Scottish Music in Edinburgh

Friday, January 30th, 2009

I planned to write an article on places to hear ‘traditional’ live Scottish music in Edinburgh, but what is ‘traditional’? Scottish music grows in all directions from pipes and drums to contemporary rock bands like Franz Ferdinand.

So, here is a guide to places where you can all kinds of Scottish music. These are the places to go to hear live Scottish music to suit your tastes: whether it’s military pipes and drums, folk, classical, musicals or up and coming rock bands.

1. Sandy Bell’s Pub

At Sandy Bell’s Pub, a sign shows an image of a fiddle with the words ‘Sandy Bell’s Ales and Music’. The small corner pub comes to life at night with live music. It has earned a worldwide reputation as a great place to go to hear traditional and folk music. Sandy Bell’s Pub is located at 25 Forrest Road.

2. Edinburgh Military Tattoo

Planning has already begun for the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, 7-29th of August 2009. It will be a special year for the event, as it celebrates its 60th season as well as the 250th anniversary of the birth of Scotland’s beloved bard, Robert Burns. Expect to see the traditional Scottish marching bands, pipes and drums and Highland dancers. Yet the mood is definitely international with a varied program each year of groups from around the world. Last year, Celtic dancers from Canada (the Canadian Celtic Association) took part.

3. Reid Concert Hall

Reid Concert Hall is a treasure for classical music lovers. The building incorporates a Museum of Instruments, which is usually open at concert times. Its focus is on classical European instruments – a rare chance to see a harpsichord in person! The program incorporates choral, classical and even jazz. Check out the lunchtime concerts. Part of the University of Edinburgh, Reid Concert Hall also has thought – provoking lectures which are listed in the events section of the website.

4. Edinburgh Playhouse

Edinburgh Playhouse is one of the most well-known music venues in Edinburgh. From ballet and musicals to rock, the Edinburgh Playhouse reflects the cosmopolitan, contemporary character of the city. The full program can be viewed on the website.

5. The Liquid Room

The Liquid Room is a basement venue with an edgier vibe. It is renowned for hosting early performances of bands like Coldplay, Smashing Pumpkins, and Moby. Who knows, you might discover a great new Scottish band!

6. Medina

Early in her career, Scottish musician KT Tunstall organized a series of acoustic series concerts in Edinburgh. These became the inspiration for the monthly Scottish musicians’ concert series, Acoustic Edinburgh. The concerts take place the first Tuesday of every month. The venue is Medina, a nightclub in the basement of the café bar and bistro, Negociants (45-47 Lothian Street). There is a handy map here.

Photo of Pull Tiger Tail concert at The Liquid Room in Edinburgh, Scotland, by Dale Harvey

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About the author

Venere Travel Blog writer rachel

Originally from the United States, Rachel is a journalist based in Scotland who often contributes travel writing to publishers in the US and Canada.

4 responses to “Top 6 Places to Hear Live Scottish Music in Edinburgh”

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  1. SC says:
    January 30th, 2009 at 10:33

    And where one can listen to Scottish folk music with traditional musical instruments?

  2. Sahil Singh says:
    January 30th, 2009 at 15:18

    Thanks for share

    awesome info

  3. Kratom says:
    June 12th, 2009 at 06:27

    I ran a dub nite in Medina (it was just negotiants then) for years! Any way would have to mention here:
    The Barrowlands
    The Edinburgh Venue
    Maybe not so traditional but great venues I recently went to see Tinarriwan and Tunng at the Picture House in Edinburgh and was well impressed with the venue.

  4. joseph says:
    October 20th, 2009 at 23:51

    WHISKI bar on the Royal Mile has free Scottish traditional music on Tuesdays and Sunday nights – fiddles and accordians and other musicians. Really good atmosphere in this pub.

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