December 18, 2013 20:53

Members of Scottish Parliament support motion to save live music at Edinburgh Picture House

The venue was recently bought by the Wetherspoons pub chain who plan on turning it into a 'superpub'

Members of Scottish Parliament support motion to save live music at Edinburgh Picture House

Photo: Tom Martin/NME

19 Members of Scottish Parliament have supported a motion to keep the Edinburgh Picture House - which was recently bought by the JD Wetherspoons pub chain - as a functioning live music venue.

The Edinburgh Evening News reports that SNP MSP for Edinburgh Central Marco Biagi has put forward the motion to keep live music at the venue, and has received the support of 14 fellow SNP MSPs, three Labour MSPs and one independent representative. The motion is below:

That the Parliament notes the recent purchase of the Edinburgh live music venue, the Picture House, by JD Wetherspoon; considers that the Picture House is a much-loved venue and a key part of Edinburgh’s music scene; believes that the loss of the capacity to host musical performances would be a cultural and economic loss to the city; understands that a petition urging the new owners to retain the Picture House as a venue for music has attracted over 10,000 signatures, and urges JD Wetherspoon to preserve the place of live music in its plans for the Picture House.


In comments made to Edinburgh Evening News, Biagi added: "Our aim now is to pressure JD Wetherspoon into confirming they will continue to use the Picture House as a place for live music in this city. If we're not successful then we may encourage someone else to take over the venue."

Wetherspoons have said that the Lothian Road venue will be turned into a 'superpub' after the venue closes at the end of December. Over the years bands such as Pink Floyd, Queen, New Order, The Smiths and AC/DC have all played the venue, which was previously known as The Caley Palais and was formerly a cinema.

Frightened Rabbit and Amanda Palmer are amongst the artists to sign a petition to keep the space open as a live music venue, started by Callum Mouat, the venue's bar supervisor. Frank Turner has also linked to the petition on Twitter, writing: "Sad to hear the Edinburgh Picture House might be closing". At the time of writing, the petition had received over 11,190 signatures.

However, earlier this week a spokesperson for Wetherspoons said that it is "extremely unlikely" that live music will continue at the venue. "Our aim is to develop it into a Wetherspoon pub, though at present there is no opening date," they commented. "We do not have live music in any of our pubs, so it is extremely unlikely that live music will continue once it reopens. However, we are always prepared to listen to the ­arguments and to discuss it further."

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