Leading jazz venue to close after being declared financially unviable

A LEADING Edinburgh festival venue will close its doors within weeks of the charity that runs it pulling the plug after deciding that it was financially unviable.

The closure of the Lot, in the Grassmarket, with the loss of 19 jobs has emerged just weeks after the collapse of another charity led to the immediate closure of the Roxy Art House, on Roxburgh Place, and two other Old Town venues, GRV and the Forest, being put up for sale.

The Lot, a converted church at the west end of the Grassmarket, had been staging live music events, exhibitions, workshops and ceilidh dances for more than five years. It also housed a popular caf-bistro.

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It regularly hosted concerts during the Fringe, the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival and Ceilidh Culture, and was also a venue for the Edinburgh International Magic Festival, which launched earlier this year.

The Lot was best known as a major fixture on the jazz scene in the city, playing host to big names such as Salsa Celtica, Colin Steele, Tommy Smith, Brian Kellock, Niki King, Laura Macdonald, Mario Caribe and Martin Kershaw.

The building housing the Lot had been converted into a sports bar by three former Scottish internationalists in the late 1990s, but was dogged by noise complaints and planning wrangles.

It later become home to a whisky bar.

The venue had been run latterly by a Christian charity, the Lot (Edinburgh), which intends to keep running after ending its lease on the building in February. A spokeswoman for the organisation said: "The charity trustees of the Lot (Edinburgh) are sad to announce that the venue and bistro at 4-6 Grassmarket will close at the end of January.

"The trustees told staff at a meeting on 7 December that it had become clear that in its current form the Lot was not viable. The charity will be relinquishing its lease at the end of February."

Ann Nelson, chair of the board of trustees, added: "We believe there is a place for a charity like the Lot (Edinburgh) in the cultural scene in Edinburgh and beyond, but in the present climate not one operating from a building like 4-6 Grassmarket in the way that we currently do."