Concert loving consultant from Leith wins competition to enjoy free gigs and help sing the praises of Edinburgh's music scene

Competition winner Stuart Niven is pictured standing outside the Usher Hall
Stuart Niven outside the Usher Hall

Winner lands eight pairs of gig tickets and his reviews will be published by Forever Edinburgh to encourage more music fans from across the UK to visit the capital.

A Learning and Development consultant from Leith with a passion for music and an interest in writing has won a competition to enjoy free gigs and create reviews that encourage more music fans around the UK to visit Edinburgh. 

Stuart Niven, 37, won the competition, which was launched by Forever Edinburgh, the city’s official destination marketing guide, to showcase and support Edinburgh’s music scene to new audiences across the UK. 

Entrants were asked to submit a 250-word review of a gig they’d attended in the past 12-months, describing the event, artist, venue and capturing a sense of Edinburgh as a music-lovers destination. Niven’s winning entry, a review of the hotly tipped band Wet Leg at The Mash House in Edinburgh, was chosen for being written with flair and giving a well-rounded view of the concert. 

Niven, who was attending around 50 gigs and four festivals a year pre-Covid, wins eight pairs of gig tickets to concerts across Edinburgh venues between May and December 2022. The gigs will feature local artists and touring acts, with the first event being The Smile, who feature Radiohead members Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood alongside Sons of Kemet drummer Tom Skinner, at The Usher Hall on 1st June.  

After each gig, Niven will be invited to write a by-lined review for the Forever Edinburgh website and social media channels, which are read and followed by visitors from across the world, as well as local residents. As well as the free tickets and the chance to develop and showcase his writing skills, Niven will be paid a nominal fee of £100 for each of his published reviews. 

In addition, Niven will be offered the opportunity to review new music by local acts and interview artists and other figures within the city’s music community to further help shine a spotlight on the city’s music scene. 

Niven, a frequent visitor to the likes of Sneaky Pete’s, The Usher Hall and Leith Theatre,  said: “This news put a huge smile on my face, I was grinning from ear to ear when I found out. I work in Learning and Development for a living but I enjoy writing and have often thought about doing some sort of blog or review page for the gigs and festivals I attend - mainly just to

keep record and have a memory of them all. It was great to have my review received so positively. This competition has definitely given me the encouragement to continue writing. 

“I think it is a hugely exciting time for the Edinburgh music scene right now. The Usher Hall over the last few years has attracted some huge names from all genres to the capital. O2’s acquisition of the Corn Exchange and subsequent bookings there is encouraging, and we have some incredible small venues like Sneaky Pete’s, which continues to lead the charge.  

“The return of Connect Music Festival and all shows to take place at Ingliston this summer are other hugely exciting events to mark on Edinburgh’s music calendar that show just how important the city can be in staging live music.” 

The competition, which was launched in collaboration with local music blog Edinburgh Music Lovers, is part of Forever Edinburgh’s The Story Never Ends campaign and comes at a time when Edinburgh’s live music scene is entering a new chapter having been shut down during the pandemic. Niven’s reviews will also be published on Edinburgh Music Lovers to help further showcase his reviews and music in Edinburgh. 

Karl Chapman, Head of Heritage, Cultural Venues, Museums & Galleries at City of Edinburgh Council, said: “My congratulations go to the well-deserved winner of the Forever Edinburgh music competition, Stuart Niven. He is clearly a passionate music fan who enjoys creative writing. I’ll be looking forward to reading his reviews of diverse Edinburgh gigs over the next few months. 

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

Forever Edinburgh is the City of Edinburgh Council’s destination brand which promotes Edinburgh to the world, highlighting details of places to visit, accommodation, days out itineraries, festivals and attractions.  

Published: May 12th 2022