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Music venue Elsewhere in Margate to celebrate year anniversary

In harsh times for independent music venues, one such place has found cause to celebrate.

Elsewhere in Margate was co-founded in 2018 by Sammy Clarke, who wanted to provide a place to nurture local artists and a space for cutting edge music events.

Sammy opened the venue with two friends
Sammy opened the venue with two friends

"It's a fully dedicated music venue, which is something that Margate hasn't really had before," he said.

"Especially a venue that supports and champions emerging talent from the area and also brings in touring artists that are getting national plaudits."

In just a year the venue has been able to snag bookings from buzz-bands like Squid and Black Country, New Road.

This Friday and Saturday, Sammy and co are celebrating the first birthday of the business with two nights of live music.

Ramsgate musician BABii will headline the Friday night, with Self Esteem playing on the Saturday night.

Sammy said Elswhere took some inspiration from the success of the Ramsgate Music Hall

As well as the underground performance space, the venue also has a bar and a record shop.

Sammy said this was intended to help keep the business financially healthy.

He said: "We were always hoping that the record store would kind of offset some of the costs of the rent. But it's a lot to juggle in terms of how many things there are to keep going.

"But I think record stores are kind of struggling at the moment despite the vinyl boom and the so-called tough economy.

"It's the kind of harsh reality and I don't really like to pretend it's all rosy.

Elsewhere is part of a slowly-growing live scene in Thanet
Elsewhere is part of a slowly-growing live scene in Thanet

"I feel like the government could treat music venues like the national treasures that they are."

Last autumn the government announced rates relief for some businesses, but did not consider music venues as eligible.

Mark Davyd, CEO of Music Venue Trust and co-owner of the Tunbridge Wells Forum, said more should be done to protect independent music venues across the county.

He said: "Anybody who's opening a music venue in this current climate should be given a massive round of applause and needs all the support they can get.

"The current situation is that effectively, your Wetherspoon in Margate is going to get a business rate reduction that Elsewhere will not get.

Elsewhere has a bar and vinyl shop as well as the performance space
Elsewhere has a bar and vinyl shop as well as the performance space

"I cannot think of any justifiable reason why a licensed premises based on shipping out alcohol as fast as it can is treated preferentially, compared to a venue that is trying to try to be part of a cultural scene in which we're very proud of in this country."

Music Venue Trust was set up as a charity on 2014 to support independent music venues like Elsewhere.

Since the turn of millenium iconic venues across the country have been forced to close down for financial issues, including London's The Astoria and The Roadhouse in Manchester.

A Treasury spokesman said: “Since 2016 we’ve cut business rates for all ratepayers, including music venues, announcing reforms which will reduce their cost by more than £13 billion over the next five years.

“We want to see thriving high streets, which is why we introduced focussed business rates relief for small shops and cafes - where we think support is most needed.”

Self Esteem will be headlining the celebration
Self Esteem will be headlining the celebration

In August Elsewhere hosted Margate Pride Rock, an evening of punk music to celebrate queerness and diversity.

In the future Sammy hopes to create rock workshops for young LGBTQ+ people, to give them a space to express themselves.

He also thinks the key to the venue's success is the people of Margate, saying: "There's a relaxed pace of life - I think you can definitely create without pressure here.

"As a result you can end up with some of the most forward thinking music."

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