New LGBTQIA+ bar CAMP set to open in Cliftonville

CAMP is being set up by Sophie Brown, Jess Hall, Olivia Lloyd, Jessica du Preez and Derek du Preez

A new LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual ) venue is launching in Cliftonville.

CAMP will be opening its doors at 125 Northdown Road this May.

Five friends living in Margate have come together to create the new queer space for LGBTQIA+ residents and visitors which will be an inclusive, safe environment for queer people to come together and have fun. There will be a bar serving drinks from Wednesday to Sunday every week, as well as a karaoke room for private hire.

CAMP will also be entertainment-led, with a dynamic programme of the country’s best queer drag, cabaret, comedy and performance art.

CAMP is being set up by Sophie Brown, Jess Hall, Olivia Lloyd, Jessica du Preez and Derek du Preez – all Margate residents for a number of years. After a string of hugely successful pop-up events at Margate Arts Club, the CAMP team decided it was time to find a permanent home.

The friends will be pulling together a programme of diverse talent that aims to reflect the full spectrum of the LGTBQIA+ community – kings, queens, trans talent and non-binary finery.

A crowdfunder has also been launched to help with renovation costs of the venue. The team are investing all their savings in the project – £25,000 in total – but after a string of rejections on other properties that needed less work, a decision was made to throw everything at an empty unit that has a huge amount of potential and is in need of a little love.

The crowdfunder is operating as a raffle with the opportunity to win a £1,000 bar tab at CAMP, once it opens its doors. It costs £1 to put your name in the hat for a chance to win – or you can share the crowdfunder page and tag CAMP on social media for a free entry.

The venue will be a space for the whole community.

The CAMP team said: “With up to 60% of LGBTQ+ venues closing their doors since 2006, CAMP is a necessity. Margate has a thriving queer scene and lots of queer visitors every year, so we think there’s an opportunity to create something really special.

“After two difficult years and a lot of gloom, we feel like now is the perfect time to create a safe space that lets people come together in person, be their true selves, and most importantly just have a lot of fun. We want to dance!”

The group is currently renovating the venue and submitting the necessary licensing and planning applications to Thanet council. It is hoped that this will all be completed within six to eight weeks, with CAMP ready to open its doors by the end of May.