Margate music venue Elsewhere awarded emergency grant to help it survive pandemic impact

Elsewhere in The Centre

A financial lifeline from the government’s £3.36 million Emergency Grassroot Music Venues Fund will help secure the short-term future for Margate music venue Elsewhere.

The £11,400 grant will help the grassroots venue survive until the end of September and helps plans to reopen with socially-distanced gigs.

Elsewhere, owned by Alex Barron of Monkey Boy Records, has been shut since March due to coronavirus restrictions.

The regulation changes allowing bars and restaurants to reopen on July 4 reduced the social distancing to one metre if two metres is not possible but for a site like Elsewhere this still hits audience numbers making financial viability difficult with a possible reduction to 15 people out of a capacity of 150.

A small business grant of £10,000 was received and fundraising has also helped but this has been used for business overheads which remain at the pre-pandemic rates.

Elsewhere is now one of 135 at risk grassroots music venues to receive a grant from the fund.

Alex said: “The funding from the Emergency Grassroots Music Venue Fund has helped secure Elsewhere until the end of September. With the change in guidelines on indoor events it gives us the opportunity to re-open and host seated and socially distanced gigs.

“We are hopeful this will help to kickstart the local music scene in Margate and provide a platform for Elsewhere to be a vital part of the community for years to come.”

Elsewhere co-founder and ‘Sonic Curator’ Sammy Clarke said work has been taking place to make the site Covid-secure so live shows can be hosted.

He said: “This is a welcome lifeline for Elsewhere and we’re excited for the opportunity to host live music events of some capacity after more than half a year of dormancy at the venue.

“These shows will take place on our newly built upstairs stage and they shall be seated affairs, socially distanced with table service and hand washing facilities available around the room for gig-goers. We hope to provide a diverse Autumn programme that features some of the local area’s most exciting musicians in a friendly, welcoming and inclusive setting.”

However, hosting socially distanced shows at a drastically reduced capacity means that the venue is not completely out of the woods yet and  is hoping to be successful in a bid to the government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund.

Sammy said: “We can’t rest on our laurels just yet. The socially distanced shows will be great for dusting off the proverbial cobwebs but we’ll be hoping to be successful in our application for the Cultural Recovery Fund. This is designated to see us through another uncertain year of trade in a climate where a nationwide lockdown could be announced in any given week due to the potential rise of a second wave of the Coronavirus until a fully tested and approved vaccination has been approved.

Photo Shannen Long

“We’re in the same position as countless grassroots music venues across the country, all at risk of closure and all working their hardest to adapt and to open safely again. We wish each music venue the best of luck with the next few months and thank the Music Venue Trust for their relentless hard work behind the scenes as they work tirelessly to secure the future of each and every music venue in the UK.”

Elsewhere, based in The Centre, has been open since 2018. It was one of the first venues to take a spot at the rejuvenated Centre site.