Music industry giants take over Edinburgh’s historic concert hall

The Corn Exchange will now be known as the O2 Edinburgh Academy. Image: Mark Bryce

The Academy Music Group first established itself in Edinburgh with the acquisition of the complex, which has hosted concerts since 1999.

The takeover by the company, which already manages the venues of the O2 Academy in Glasgow, Brixton, Brixton, Birmingham, Liverpool, Leeds and Newcastle, is expected to lead to an increase in the number of concerts in the city.

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He has already spent over £ 500,000 to install a new sound and lighting system ahead of Declan McKenna’s first show on Friday.

Graham Walter is COO of the Academy Music Group. Photo: Caitlin Mogridge

The Corn Exchange will be renamed O2 Academy Edinburgh for its new era, which will see Nile Rodgers, the DMAs, Fountains DC, Rag ‘n’ Bone Man, Frank Carter, The Snuts and The Charlatans play over the next few months.

Chvrches, Jake Bugg, Beck, Marina, War on Drugs and Gary Numan will perform next year in the 3,000-seat hall, Edinburgh’s largest for concerts of all time.

The Corn Exchange, which dates back to 1909, was converted into a concert hall and event center by former owners Marco’s Leisure.

It then hosted bands like Oasis, Blur, Arctic Monkeys, Pulp, Paolo Nutini, The Proclaimers, Belle and Sebastian and Nick Cave.

Nile Rodgers & Chic will be hosting one of the first concerts at the O2 Academy Edinburgh. Photo: John Devlin

However, the venue, in the Chesser region, has been rarely used by developers recently and increasingly used for private functions, exhibitions, catering festivals, party nights and conferences.

In an exclusive interview, COO Graham Walters said, “The Corn Exchange has grown more toward the corporate, not musical, side of things over the years. The previous owners didn’t have the music industry knowledge or expertise that we have. There will always be a mix of events, but we’re going to focus on the amount of live music there because it’s in our DNA.

“We absolutely expect, with our dealings with all major UK promoters and agents, to bring new acts into the city that would have potentially bypassed the city before.

“Edinburgh has a great cultural and musical heritage. It has always been on our radar, but trying to find venues of the right capacity, in the right place, is a challenge.” When this opportunity presented itself, it was obvious. Although he did not have a large number of concerts, he was held in the highest regard by promoters, agents and bands. We already have a lot of heritage and listed buildings. It is a large size and large enough to pick up acts when touring the UK. He just ticked all the boxes.

Bastille performing at the Bourse aux blés. Photo: Alan Rennie

Gareth Griffiths, Sponsorship Manager at O2, said: “The new O2 Academy Edinburgh is a brilliant addition to our O2 Academy domain.

“It’s a beautiful place and as the entertainment starts to return, it once again demonstrates the commitment of O2 and the Academy Music Group to improving the entertainment industry in Scotland, one of the best places to watch music in UK. ”

DF Concerts Managing Director Geoff Ellis said: “It has always been a great venue – in fact, we were the first to have a concert in the venue over 20 years ago with Blur.

“The installation of a fixed sound system and lighting system will allow more tours to be viable and many more concerts will now take place, playing an increased role in the city’s music scene. “

Lauren Mayberry’s band Chvrches will perform in Edinburgh’s New Hall next year.

Paul Demarco, Managing Director of Marco’s Leisure, said: “When we bought the Corn Exchange from Chesser 22 years ago, we started with a plan to be Edinburgh’s must-see concert venue and have hosted over 300 live performances, as well as welcoming three million visitors to concerts, conferences, banquets, weddings, exhibitions and parties, creating one of Scotland’s busiest and most successful venues.

“We are happy to pass the baton on to the best professionals in the industry who will ensure that the Corn Exchange continues to play a leading role in the events industry in Scotland for many years to come.

Beck will play at the O2 Edinburgh Academy next year.
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