Michelle Shocked and Crash Test Dummies in house gig – but now council want to shut him down


A MUSIC lover put on hundreds of gigs involving top musicians and 50-strong audiences  – in his own flat.

But Douglas Robertson is being forced to shut down following an investigation by the local council.

The 59-year-old is planning to go out with a flourish by putting on a Hogmanay gig and another this Wednesday starring Rob Morsberger from Canadian rockers Crash Test Dummies.

Douglas Robertson will see the curtain fall on his home concerts for the last time on December 31st


Mr Robertson said he only took donations from those attending the unofficial venue – known as the Sound House – and made no money.

That has cut no ice with Edinburgh Council which says the gigs amount to an unauthorised “change of use” for the property in Royal Park Terrace.

Mr Robertson, who works as a freelance photographer by day, said: “This is just a shocking state of affairs. The council has not said whether the problem is with noise, the regularity of the gigs or the number of people who stand outside.

“All they say is that they consider the Sound House to be a venue.

“This is not a venue. This is where I live – it’s where I eat and sleep and brush my teeth.

“A venue has a box office, a bar and advertises publicly – we do not do these things.”

Over the past two years, up to 50 revellers have crammed into the humble abode for free.

Visitors are asked to make a £10 donation that goes straight to the performers.

Mr Robertson said he felt encouraged to open his doors to aspiring musicians because there was nowhere else for them to perform.


Only one neighbour has complained that the popular venue is causing problems such as taking up parking spaces and littering


He said there was a strict 11pm curfew rule that visitors always adhered to without fuss.

“There are no small venues left in the city and if a band wants to play in one of those they are left with maybe £80 after the venue has taken its fee,” he added. “They are being grossly ripped off.

“There are networks of concert houses throughout the US and UK and there are others in Edinburgh.

“Perhaps they’ve come down on us because we’ve built this place up into something that looks bigger and more professional.”

Residents of the street – which has had occasional noise from major acts playing at nearby Meadowbank Stadium – were mixed in their reaction.

Barbara Buckley, 41, said: “There’s never been any trouble and the music never interferes with my night.

“I hope it will continue – I don’t know why they’re banning it.

“Douglas stays there and it’s his home. He’s not making any money from it.”


Four-piece rock band Deer Lake is one of the bands who has performed at Sound House


But one neighbour who wished to be unnamed said: “I personally think it is a lot of noise. It would be ok for me if the gigs were only on once a week but sometimes it can be nearly every night.”

“You cannot park when there are gigs on and there are all these people smoking outside – you sometimes find cigarette butts right up your front steps.”

Morsberger – whose band had a massive 90s hit with ‘MmmMmmMmm’ – will play the last show on New Year’s Eve.

An Edinburgh City Council spokesman said: “The evidence gathered as part of our investigation has confirmed that there has been a material change of use for this residential building.”