How long have you been going?
The ramp park for BMX, scooters and skating, has been going since around 2007, with the addition of the music venue since around the beginning of 2009. The newest addition to the venue is the building of two large fully fitted recording studios as well as ten or more smaller studio spaces available to let – this work should be competed by the summer of 2013.
Why did you decide to set this business up?
For the Ramp Park it was a continuation of a business that had previously traded on the site but had unfortunately been forced to close. We saw a way that it could be run profitably and so went for it.
For the music venue and nightclub it was a culmination of a few things. Primarily we were just responding to a demand from Bristol’s music promoters and nightclubbers. The general feeling was that there wasn’t a large space to host big dance music events in the city, or even the south west for that matter. Other venues were counter-productive to atmosphere or had simply fallen into disrepair over the years and people didn’t like going to them any more. We ran our first few events on TENs (Temporary Event Notices) and they were all incredibly successful – so we successfully applied for a full licence and the rest, as they say, is history.
With the music studios again we are responding to a need from Bristol’s musicians and promoters who are having problems finding good value studio space in the city. As you can imagine a lot of these guys pass through our doors very regularly to either perform or to watch other musicians so we talk to them a lot. We took over a new building in the complex and when considering what to do with it – building studios became the obvious choice.
What is the business?
As explained above we are a pretty unique collection of different businesses under one roof. We are a ramp park, a nightclub, music venue and also now music studios and rehearsal spaces. We also let other groups use our main room space on the days when it’s not in use by us, for example local dance and break-dancing classes take place during the evenings mid-week and we let them use this space free of charge.
Any quirky/interesting facts about it, interesting people or projects you’ve worked with/on?
I think the whole business is pretty quirky – it is probably the only one of it’s kind in the country if not the whole world. The fact is that all the different aspects of the business, although completely different, compliment each other really well. We have young mothers and fathers who will bring their young children down on the park on the weekend – and then chat to us about a gig they had been to at the venue a couple of weeks before. Their kids grow up and once they get to the age of 15-16 start talking to us about their favourite DJs or Producers and how they can’t wait to be old enough to come to the events. Then these same guys start coming to our events and become inspired to make their own music – and we will have studio space available for them to use. As far as we are aware we are a one-of-a-kind business.
How many people are there in your business?
Full time we have around 7-8 staff, but across the business with part-time staff and event staff we probably employ directly and indirectly around 70-80 people.
Why have you chosen to relocate to Bristol Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone?
We have been here for quite a while now – before the Enterprise Zone came into being. Whilst we are excited about the project as a whole we are also apprehensive. We want and need to make sure that businesses that are already here don’t get forgotten or pushed out in favour of new businesses coming into the area. We also need to make sure we are not at a disadvantage and that benefits and attractions to encourage businesses to relocate to the area are also available to our neighbours and us. Finally we need to make sure that the planners understand and take account of the needs of the existing businesses here. For example if they decide to build a whole load of residential outside our front door then our business will be very badly affected.
What do you want to see happening in Bristol Temple Quarter Enterprise
Basically all of the above. We also want to see young, fresh and creative businesses being attracted to the area. Want we don’t want to see is the continued march of high-rise glass fronted office buildings from the centre towards us. We want small and entrepreneurial companies coming to the area – not big faceless corporations.
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