From traditional folk to punk-rock, blues to metal, pop to jazz, Edinburgh’s live music scene has something for everyone.

If you enjoy traditional folk music, make sure to visit one of Edinburgh’s many renowned folk bars. For over half a century, local musicians and many from further afield have kept the spirit of traditional folk music alive at Sandy Bell’s (Forrest Road). The world-famous folk sessions do not follow the format of a traditional concert. The musicians perform at a table in the pub, with the audience enjoying the traditional folk atmosphere while enjoying a variety of Scottish beers and whiskies.


For those who enjoy folk music but also want to get involved, there are also regular folk sessions at the nearby Captains Bar (South College Street) and the Royal Oak (Infirmary Street) in which anyone is welcome to participate. All folk bars are free to enter, but there may be a tip jar to drop coins into if you enjoy the music. Remember to be generous, as the musicians are not generally being paid for their work!

If you are keen on performing but folk is not your style, Edinburgh boasts an incredible number of open mic nights which you can find here. At these events, anyone is welcome to sign up and perform, usually for three songs or fifteen minutes.


Edinburgh also has a lot to offer for those whose taste is at the heavier end of the spectrum. Whistlebinkies (South Bridge) hosts live rock music most nights, where Bannerman’s (Cowgate) and Banshee’s Labyrinth (Niddry Street) host live punk and metal gigs. These gigs may cost, but the standard of the music and atmosphere of the venues definitely makes it worth it!

jazz bar

World-class blues and jazz is always on offer at The Jazz Bar (Chambers Street) for those with improvisation in their musical hearts!

sandy bells

The live music scene of the Scottish capital also provides ample opportunity to sit back with a drink and enjoy well-known hits performed by local talent. Crowds in pubs up and down the Royal Mile and down in the historic Grassmarket are entertained by well-performed, sing-a-long hit songs.

Edinburgh’s music scene is alive and kicking, with very talented musicians and singers performing a diverse range of music. One night on the scene and you’ll be hooked!