Edinburgh unveils first ‘music city’ writer-in-residence to champion gigs and acts

Stuart Niven, from Leith, will write about live gigs and emerging artists for the rest of the year after winning a competition to take on the new role.

The 37-year-old was attending more than 50 concerts a year in the city before the pandemic hit.

Register to our daily newsletter

He will review at least eight gigs around Edinburgh and will also have the chance to raise the profile of emerging acts and interview key industry players during his tenure.

Niven, a learning and development consultant to a financial services firm, won the competition – launched by the Forever Edinburgh and Edinburgh Music Lovers campaigns – with a review from one of this year’s hottest acts, Wet Leg , at The Mash House.

The role was created following efforts to revive live music in Edinburgh as it emerges from the pandemic and champion it as a ‘city of music’.

Niven will take on the role before Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh Castle, Leith Theater and the Royal Highland Center return to Ingliston this summer. Other signs of renewal include the announcement of the reopening of the historic Royal High School building for the Hidden Door festival, the green light for the first new purpose-built concert hall in the city for a century, a takeover and a redesign of the Corn Exchange. held by the Academy Music group, the return of HMV to Princes Street and the opening of a new vinyl record store in Bruntsfield.

The competition was launched last month to mark the start of the second year of Forever Edinburgh, a council-led campaign funded to the tune of £90,000 by VisitScotland.

Stuart Niven is Edinburgh’s new music writer in residence. Photo: Lloyd Smith

Niven said: “This news made me smile, I was grinning from ear to ear when I found out.

“I work in learning and development for a living, but I love to write and have often thought of setting up some sort of blog or reviews page for the gigs and festivals I attend – mostly just to keep track and keep a memory.

“It was great to have my review received so positively. This contest has definitely encouraged me to keep writing.

“I think it’s a hugely exciting time for the Edinburgh music scene at the moment.

Stuart Niven, Edinburgh’s new music writer-in-residence, will help shine a light on the city’s music scene and encourage people to visit the city. Photo: Lloyd Smith

“Over the past few years, Usher Hall has attracted big names from all genres, O2’s acquisition of the Corn Exchange and subsequent bookings are encouraging, and we have some amazing smaller venues like Sneaky Pete’s, which continue to lead the charge.”

Karl Chapman, Head of Cultural Venues at the City Council, one of the supporters of the Forever Edinburgh campaign, which was launched to help Scotland’s capital recover from the pandemic, said: “Stuart is clearly a music enthusiast who loves creative writing.I will be looking forward to reading his reviews of various gigs in Edinburgh over the next few months.

“The city’s music scene has been hit hard by the global pandemic, but we’re happy to see it come back to life with an eclectic line-up of gigs lined up in venues of all sizes across Edinburgh.”