IT was more than 27 years ago that I played my first gig with The Battlefield Band at The Queen’s Hall in Edinburgh as part of the Fringe Festival. I had turned 17 and become a full-time professional musician. I remember the feeling of walking on to The Queen’s Hall stage for the first time like it was yesterday – it looked and felt absolutely enormous back then, and a tad frightening.

All these years later The Queen’s Hall doesn’t feel nearly as huge. In fact, it feels quite the opposite, even when it’s packed full to the brim with 850 people.

More often than not the atmosphere in the place is similar to playing music in a pal’s front room, a very rare thing for a concert hall of this stature and size.

That’s one of the reasons why The Queen’s Hall holds such a special place in my heart. So special that when I was asked to curate Southside Of The Tracks – a show to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the hall – I jumped at the chance.

After all, It’s not very often that you get to pick some of your favourite musicians for a house band and then ask lots of your favourite singers to come and perform.

It’s a true testament of musicians’ love for the venue that every single artist I asked to be a part of the night said they would love to. Nobody even asked how much they would be paid. And so joining me in the house band are James Mackintosh, Ian Carr, Ewen Vernal, Michael McGoldrick, and Louis Abbott (Admiral Fallow).

Our guest singers are Roddy Woomble (Idlewild), Kathleen MacInnes, Phil Cunningham, Adam Holmes, Daoirí Farrell, Heidi Talbot and Rachel Sermanni.

All are really looking forward to the concert and saying thank you to a venue that we all love and have performed in more than any other concert hall in the world.

I’ve been looking back at my own memories of The Queen’s Hall. The Battlefield Band played three nights during that festival 27 years ago. I remember noticing that the venue was packed solid for the whole of August, mainly with Scottish folk bands and traditional music.

The Queen’s Hall has always felt to me like the home of traditional and folk music in Scotland, a venue that takes risks booking up-and-coming singers and musicians, nurturing and supporting them throughout their careers.

I remember playing a show with Julie Fowlis more than 10 years ago to maybe 90 folk in the hall. It was a wonderful night, Julie was fantastic and Bonnie Raitt and Phil Cunningham were sitting in the audience.

The Queen’s Hall would have lost money on that show and many other venues would have cut their losses and not booked the artist again. But The Queen’s Hall booked Julie straight away for the following year and now she packs the place out year after year.

This is one of the many reasons why I have so much fondness for the venue and the folk that promote it and look after it.

When I think back to my own favourite gigs, so many of them will have been there, either playing with my own band or with my favourite artists. Lots of the best shows I’ve seen have also been there: Teenage Fanclub, Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Idlewild and Lyle Lovett to name a few.

When I was asking other artists about the Queen’s Hall Phil Cunningham said this: “I’ve played in this iconic venue at least once a year for over three decades. It has beautiful acoustics and a great intimate, natural ambience. The whole team at The Queen’s Hall seem to care about every note delivered to their loyal clientele. Happy, happy anniversary and here’s to the next 40 years.”

Why does The Queen’s Hall feel so comfortable, for me and so many of my musician pals? Because the walls in this brilliant venue hold the memories of so much amazing music performed there over the past 40 years. And because the atmosphere is the best you can experience.

Southside Of The Tracks is on Saturday, January 12, at 7.30pm