NME and Jack Daniel’s’ search for Britain’s Best Small Venue has proved, once again, that the UK’s live music scene is thriving.
Kent’s Ramsgate Music Hall has only been around since 2013, but has already made enough of a mark to top the poll, voted for by NME readers.
“Small is beautiful,” says the venue’s co-owner, Julian Bigg. “The hall is intimate, our sound is spectacular, the bands and fans love it as you really experience the full flavour of the music in a way larger venues cannot deliver.”
To celebrate, indie icons Mystery Jets will play a special gig at the seaside spot on December 3. We spoke to Blaine Harrison, Mystery Jets frontman, about the show.
You’re playing Britain’s Best Small Venue on Dec 3. What’s gonna happen?
Blaine Harrison: “It’s going to be electric, buzzy and wild. We enjoy playing in a small space and being close to the audience.”
What’s your connection to Ramsgate?
“After touring the last record I wanted to get out of London, so rented a beach hut on the Kent coast for 18 months. There’s a real old-world charm there. Ramsgate is a wonderful old port town. Vincent Van Gogh lived there – the place has a wonderful heritage.”
Britain’s small venues are always under threat of closure. What can we do?
“It’s terrifying. I don’t know why venues are shutting – I feel like people are more excited by live music than ever. People need to keep these venues alive, because they’re the lifeblood of music.”
ESSENTIAL INFO: Ramsgate Music Hall
A BRIEF HISTORY: Before it became Britain’s Best Small Venue, Ramsgate Music Hall had been, says Julian Bigg, “Derelict for four years, a grim gangster boozer and a very dodgy lapdancing club.”
BEST GIGS: Neneh Cherry (Jan 2015), Sleaford Mods (Mar 2015), Sebadoh (Oct 2015).
UPCOMING GIGS: This Is The Kit (Nov 30), Mystery Jets (Dec 3), Bill Ryder-Jones (Dec 9), Craig Finn (Dec 11).
CHECK IT OUT: ramsgatemusichall.com