Festival and concert giant Live Nation new owner of Dreamland

Dreamland

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Dreamland company Sands Heritage has been taken over by LN Gaiety Holdings, a subsidiary of concert and festival giant Live Nation.

Documents on Companies House show LN-Gaiety listed as taking significant control on Thursday [December 14] meaning it is the new owner of Dreamland.

New directors include Stuart Douglas and Lynn Lavelle, who are also directors for Live Nation Apollo and Cardiff and a number of festival companies including Boomtown Festival, Isle of Wight Festival, Cream Events and more.

Live Nation Entertainment is an American events promoter and venue operator based in Beverly Hills which has numerous subsidiaries including Live Nation UK which owns 51% of Academy Music Group, giving it a stake in most major music festivals.

It is understood Sands Heritage staff were called to an ’emergency’ meeting yesterday.

A statement from LN Gaiety says: “LN-Gaiety confirms it has acquired Dreamland in Margate.  Working with CEO Eddie Kemsley, the team will enhance its offer at this much-loved resort.

“Dreamland is the ultimate seaside destination for music, rides, and entertainment with great artists in 2024 including Status Quo, Madness, Richard Ashcroft, Becky Hill, Limp Bizkit, Craig David and many more.”

A Dreamland spokesperson added: “We are delighted that LN-Gaiety has become the new owner of Dreamland in Margate. The acquisition ensures the legendary venue can carry on providing world class entertainment for people of all ages.

“It is very much business as usual for Dreamland, we look forward to re-opening our historic amusement park at Easter for another summer season, as well as welcoming some of the very best live bands and acts both in our indoor spaces and next summer on the amazing Scenic Stage.

“In the meantime, we can’t wait to welcome people in the run up to the festive season at Dreamland’s Christmas World!”

Rag ‘n’ Bone Man at Dreamland Photo Frank Leppard

In February this year Dreamland Margate was granted a new premises licence which allowed a doubling of outdoor events and extended eight indoor events per year from a 2am closing to 4am.

The licence also permits the park to hold four-dayer events – up from the current two-dayers- although there must be at least 28 days between each of these.

This year has seen a number of big hitters perform at Dreamland, from Placebo and Rag ‘n’ Bone Man to Tom Jones, Happy Mondays and Olly Murs.

The 2024 line up includes Bryan Adams, Limp Bizkit, Simple Minds, Paloma Faith, Manic Street Preachers, Craig David, Busted and more.

Dreamland gigs

A resolution for Sands Heritage and signed by Dreamland CEO Eddie Kemsley on behalf of Margate Estates Ltd – the real estate and leisure company which owned Dreamland – states “share capital of the company  is reduced from £63,724,468 to £1 by cancelling and extinguishing 63,724,467 of the issued ordinary shares of £1 each.”

A capital reduction can be used to simplify a company’s capital structure, making it more efficient. It can also be used to distribute dividends to shareholders, increasing their value. It also allows for the elimination or reduction of accumulated losses.

Figures for 2021 showed an operating loss for Dreamland of £1.73m. In 2020 the loss was £5.5m. Overall balance sheet losses carried for the company totalled £36,856,938 when accounts for 2021 were submitted. Accounts for 2022 are due to be submitted by December 31 this year.

LN Gaiety Holdings show a profit of £18.8m in accounts for 2021.

Previous Dreamland funders Arrowgrass Capital Partners announced plans to close down in 2019 with Sands Heritage Ltd remaining in contact with the hedge fund as arrangements were made for the sell-off of Arrowgrass investments and outstanding loans.

Arrowgrass made an investment of circa £25million prior to Dreamland’s reopening in May 2017, bringing  Sands Heritage out of administration in October of that year.

55 Comments

  1. And all the millions of pounds in grants given to Dreamland on the understanding it would be a heritage amusement park?

    • Sorry but a theme park open a maximum 10 weeks of the year is never going to be profitable. I don’t blame for them taking it down this route

        • Accumulated losses of £36m and a loss of the best part of £2m lost in 2021 ! ?

          Where is all this money being spent ?

          It certainly is not on anything visible or tangible !

          The number of fairground rides continues to diminish and the cinema and cafe buildings remain empty and unused.

  2. Theme Parks, Music and Entertainment Venues, and Theatres, need constant investment, and money to keep operating, Dreamland Margate has seen a resurgence, since its early days, and has gone from strength to strength since being run down for years, with low ticket numbers. Over the past few years Margate Summer Series new festival stage, and a huge UK, and now Global Artists/Bands are coming to Thanet, saving locals the travel and expense of journeys to gigs, concerts, and festivals in the UK, Venues need good promoters, upgraded sound systems, and lighting, and audiences, and good promotion. Personally, I strongly believe, having promoters, attached to LIVE Nation will be of benefit long term, as long as they can continue to invest, prosper, and keep the Heritage of the Amusement Park alive …… We cannot have it both ways, so, have a thriving venue, or boarded-up dilapidated one ….. Dreamland has had a Rollercoaster of a life, and now perhaps it’s onwards and upwards!!! BUT I HOPE THE HERITAGE OF THE PARK STAYS TRUE!

    • I hope the heritage stays to keep the park open as it’s part of margates long history the people of Margate want the grade two+ Dreamland cinema to be open as a single screen cinema as it should be instead of sitting empty they need to get the former sunshine restaurant open again to link in with the cinema also interest in a cinema museum on the former Bali hi bar no community centre for certain people hope this continues to keep the park open also the park should be open in the evenings for visitors and locals at evening time instead of closed more revenue there for all.

      • Which “people of Margate” want the cinema open? It closed, for the same reason as Maargate’s other two empty cinemas – because people weren’t using them. With excellent cinemas in Westgate and Westwood, and poor parking in Margate, it just won’t happen. The seaside restaurant was nice as an all-you-can-eat Chinese (I celebrated my 40th birthday there more than two decades ago) – but it closed after being raided for illegal immigrant workers.

  3. I also have no problem with Dreamland finding a new role and continuing to contribute to the economy and vitality of Thanet. I do have an objection if it has taken millions in public money meant to restore our heritage and used it to launch a different profit making business while nationally significant buildings like the Ramsgate maritime museum are denied funding.

    • Stevie Wonder could see it was never going to be financially available as a fairground/theme park. TDC could as well, but couldn’t have cared less.

      This is the only way it could turn a profit-much preferable at least to the Turner that just sucks up taxpayer money & never even charges admission-because they know despite all the hype/hoopla/hyperbole that nobody would pay to go in there if they did & it would sink without trace with no funding. At least Dreamland via music gigs gets huge bands & packs the place out/brings money in.

  4. We all said this would happen and we have been proven right, so all heritage funding should be repaid back and a investigation should be held, feel very sorry for neighbours close to Dreamland and can see why buildings close to there are being pulled down. Total con going on

  5. Good, maybe now Kemsley-if she is retained, can stop awarding Dreamland millions of quid every year-now it is owned by a megacorp & it can go to far more deserving causes instead.

  6. Prediction: Live Nation will milk the park for concert sales, at inflated ticket prices..

    Until.. the no redevelopment covenant expires and it’ll get turned over to housing.

  7. Excellent news, big top artists playing at Dreamland will attract big audience’s, which in turn, fill up hotels and B&Bs and bars, bringing in much needed income and jobs. only people unhappy are the dfl whingers who moved here for a quiet life.

    • Which hotels and B&Bs are they? That’s the big problem, there aren’t enough of those in Margate, and the last trains towards London leaves way too early. Still, great news for taxi drivers.

    • Except for the locals who have to put up with the noise throughout the summer months and before you reply well you shouldn’t have moved there we have lived in this house for near on 24 yrs which is so much longer than it has been a music venue/ very loosley a heritage theme park. I do think any public money should be paid back especially the 4 million Kemsley awarded herself.

      • You need to take that up with Thanet Council as a group of residents living next to Dreamland. Was there a change of use application from theme park to concert park? Might be some jiggery-pokery going on between them and the Council. Where else would this be allowed as noise pollution on the doorstep of residents homes?

  8. The vintage park and general site has been asset stripped. Successive owners of Dreamland and the park.have been awarded staggering amounts of public funding and still the listed cinema is effectively derelict with little remaining of the vintage rides portfolio. The park and Dreamland site is off limits to the public for long periods of time throughout the whole year.
    Will the Banksy make a return to the Dreamland site ?
    Like the contributor above I believe Nation will likely milk the park for concert sales at increased prices and when the no development clause expires housing applications will be submitted .
    Time will tell .

    • It’s the same noise in the opposite direction all too often and what is TDC doing about that? A big fat zero as they are in bed with them.

      The board members should get the £4000,000 back from Dreamland CEO who was Chairwoman of the Margate Town Deal Peoples Panel at the time she recommended that money should be awarded to her private company. It surely goes against all the principals of being a board member. Is that what the ministry of housing, communities and local government expected to happen with their funding for improving impoverished towns?

  9. I personally would NEVER support Dreamland as a concert venue, no matter who performs there. I care too much about Margate’s theatres, defunded to support what was supposed to be a fun fair.

  10. Great news. Brings a lot of folk into town. Hotel Airbnb and a lot of people stay with friends and relatives. Hopefully some of the empty seafront buildings will see some sort of revival as a result

    • It won’t, and nor will the High Street… or the Winter Gardens, Theatre Royal, The Lido, the three closed cinemas, the derelict shelters, Nayland Rock hotel, Arlington arcade, or anywhere else in that fetid, rotting, vicinity.

      • It does and it will. As you by your own admission seldom venture into Margate or attend the events you are in no place to comment. I do both and see and hear first hand that 000’s of people stay for either the day of the event or for the weekend

        • As someone who was probably seeing concerts in Margate before you were born, and continue seeing concerts in other parts of Kent & beyond today… I have as much right as any to comment, little boy.

          • Of course , you seem think you know everything about everything. How little you know you condescending old man. FYI. I’m not much younger than you and have seen many many artists bands and events at the WG,TR, Dreamland of old and Dreamland of new.

  11. There’s a lot of whatabout-ery on this comments thread.
    Let’s have some optimism please.
    Money coming into the area with a proven business model and plans for the Winter Gardens and Theatre Royal.
    Regardless of whether gammons enjoy the art or not – the Turner Contemporary has put Margate on the map for a certain demographic of visitor who spend their money in our towns.
    Only this week, a British Berlin-based colleague of mine got in touch to ask for recommendations on restaurants and pubs in Margate.
    I’m going to stop ranting now to say – why SHOULDN’T Thanet be a success?!
    We deserve it!

      • I think you’re being over sensitive it you think ‘gammon’ is racist.
        As a middle-aged, straight, white male – I know exactly what it means.
        And so do you.
        It’s always odd how right-wingers are such snowflakes…

        • It’s NOT odd that left-wingers always resort to childish insults when they have nothing constructive to say. It’s to be expected.

    • Not sure it will achieve success with people using silly second-hand insults like ‘gammon’ and thinking one person asking for pub recommendations is evidence of an area’s rebirth!

    • They like to have a moan about everything, moan about the dilapidation but then moan about the redevelopment. Moan about the art, moan about visitors. They base their whole life on moaning but none of it in the solutions.

      I quite enjoy the positive direction Margate seems to be taking and the energy that’s bringing.

      • You obviously haven’t been there lately… but tell me, how are the shelters looking? And the public toilets? And the High Street shops? And Arlington arcade? And Nayland Rock hotel? And The theatres? And The Lido?

        • The Lido is privately owned, the Arlington Arcade is leasehold and the holder is not living up to the lease terms. More public toilets are planned, the high street is constantly influx two new refurbished buildings are to open soon, if not all ready opened. The Nayland rock is also privately owned.

          You sounds more and more like a bitter old man waiting with bated breath at your keyboard to moan furiously when anything comes out about Margate.

          Sad.

          • Doesn’t matter who owns them. If all this art gonads is really regenerating the area, then everything would be revived.

            Wad.

  12. Do you mean the Air b&b who probably don’t pay towards the upkeep of Margate (business tax), the lack of hotel’s and b&b’s. What plan for the Winter Gardens, ah yes the TDC plan for private investment to dig them out of a hole after years of neglect. A finally the new owners calling Dreamland a historical amusement Park that is comical.

      • The original concept of airbnb being someone letting a spare room for a few nights a year makes sense. The way its morphed into whole properties being let as short term holiday lets. ( positively encouraged by perverse tax law that makes this more attractive than letting as a full time home) needs looking at , though the tide does seem to be turning of late. But that said there’s no where near enough year round demand to support more than a handful of hotels which in turn need to charge enough to see them through the quiet spells.
        It’d be interesting to know how much the park changed hands for this time and what sort of profit was made on the panic sale by TDC of the freehold and land.
        Another Thanet saga that no doubt has a good few years to run.

  13. When Dreamland was owned by Margate Estates under John Iles and his son, also John Iles he also owned the Starlight agency which managed many famous groups. He would book them ahead to perform at Dreamland before they were really famous and many top performers used to be there either in the ballroom or theatre on a regular basis with tickets limited to 5 shillings. People would travel from as far away as Birmingham and Liverpool regularly for the performances. My father worked for Margate Estates and I always had a handful of free tickets both for the amusement park and for all the events that were held at Dreamland, the Lido in Cliftonville and Pleasurama in Ramsgate, all of which were owned by Margate Estates. A good time for me as a teenager to have these perks. History is repeating itself to create a popular entertainment venue.

  14. I assume the heritage funding will be paid back to the tax payers. And that 4 million for the town thingy wont be given to dreamland.

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