Taylor Swift concert promoters on why they chose Edinburgh for their new indoor arena

Venue hoped to host more than 150 events a year

Music industry giants behind Edinburgh’s new indoor arena say they chose the city for the project after looking all over Europe.

AEG, one of the world’s biggest venue operators and promoters, say they found a “glaring gap” for a venue capable of attracting acts who would normally bypass the city completely.

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The company, which staged this month’s three Taylor Swift shows at Murrayfield, hopes to have at least 150 events a year at its new 8500-capacity arena at Edinburgh Park after it was given the green light by the city council.

Edinburgh's new indoor arena is planned to be up and running by 2027.Edinburgh's new indoor arena is planned to be up and running by 2027.
Edinburgh's new indoor arena is planned to be up and running by 2027.

They hope to persuade bigger acts to play multiple nights at the new Edinburgh venue, which is also planned to play a key part in the city’s annual summer festivals.

AEG, which runs the O2 and Apollo venues in London, plans to start work next year and be staging the first shows in 2027. It Is expected to create around 1350 jobs and generate an additional £520 million for the economy.

AEG revealed it had explored alternative sites in the Meadowbank and Leith areas before Edinburgh Park emerged as the preferred location. It has struck a deal with Parabola, the developers behind a huge expansion of Edinburgh Park, who have been pursuing plans to establish a new culture quarter in the area.

Alistair Wood, executive vice president of real estate and development at AEG Europe, said: “We have a desire to grow and expand our business.

Edinburgh's new indoor arena is planned to be up and running by 2027.Edinburgh's new indoor arena is planned to be up and running by 2027.
Edinburgh's new indoor arena is planned to be up and running by 2027.

"We have a great team in-house analysists who have looked at gaps for venues across the whole of Europe.

“Edinburgh has a great population, catchment area and tourism base, as well as a fantastic cultural heritage.

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“But there was a glaring gap between smaller venues with a capacity of up to 3000 and Murrayfield. There’s obviously Edinburgh Castle, but that’s only an outdoor venue.

“It was impossible to find any suitable sites in central Edinburgh. We looked at other sites in Leith, Meadowbank and out near the airport, but we ultimately fell upon this particular site at Edinburgh Park.

"We’ve loved the work that Parabola have already done at Edinburgh Park and they're very forward-thinking. We very much hope the arena will be a great catalyst for the wider area.”

Questions have been raised about the capacity of the venue, which is significantly smaller than the Hydro arena in Glasgow, which opened in 2013, and can accommodate more than 14,000 fans for standing shows.

Mr Wood said: “We think this will grow the market in Scotland. We’re not looking to go head-to-head with the Hydro. If we were, we’d have built a bigger space.

"There will be some competition over shows, potentially, but this is by no means intended to undermine the Hydro. We’ll be there to provide a great facility for Edinburgh.

“Our business plan says we’ll be up to 150 events by the third year, but we want to go beyond that and for it to be as busy as possible.

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“We want to attract the kind of acts who are touring at the moment, like The Killers, Kasabian, Travis, Snow Patrol, Rod Stewart and André Rieu. Edinburgh isn’t even an option for them just now.

“We’d very much hope that artists will add at least one Edinburgh date to their tours in future.

"Having one act doing several nights is also a winner for everyone as it reduces touring costs. It’s another area we will really be focusing on.

"Arenas are traditionally very quiet in August but Edinburgh is absolutely pumping at that time, so if we could fill that gap for the festivals it could be a big win for everyone.”

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