Plot 22 launch Crowdfunder to upgrade Castlegate creative spacePosted by: Ashley Birch
The Exchange Street venue that gives a voice to DJs, artists and musicians is hoping to raise £5k to complete renovations
In 2017, Sheffield-based social enterprise RiteTrax moved into an old betting shop and nail bar in an unloved area of the city-centre and set about creating a multi-use venue with artists’ studios and an events space, used for gigs and club nights from some of Sheffield’s best underground talent.
Over the next couple of years, the venue has proved hugely popular, playing host to well over 50 events including gigs, club-nights, fundraisers, exhibitions, private parties, film showings, workshops, photo-shoots, music video shoots and other creative events.
In that time, they have also seen many changes to an area that was, when they moved in, a pretty desolate part of town. With new developments such as Kommune and Kollider moving in just up the road, new plans for the old town hall and neighbours Bal Fashions receiving a full licence, the team are now looking to raise £5,000 to upgrade their own venue and art space and bring it in line with an area that is on the move.
To do this they are asking for donations to their Crowdfunder, to complete essential work which includes installing sound proofing and making it safer by adding proper ventilation, and an integrated smoke alarm system, as well as new toilets and fire exits. They’re also looking to significantly upgrade the production in there too.
RiteTrax’s founder Mike Thompson told VIBE: “We're really excited to upgrade the venue because we essentially ran a pilot project throughout 2017 and 2018 which confirmed to us that Sheffield really does need a space like Plot 22 for its underground music culture to grow and to stay healthy.
“We played host to such a diverse range of events at the space in those years, from gabba nights to metal gigs, from disco to drum and bass, and pretty much everything in between. With the closure of local institutions like the Harley and an unstable future for many of the city's other small event spaces, we feel that the Sheffield music scene really needs places like the plot to act as central hubs for people to meet, perform, showcase, collaborate and just stumble upon cool stuff.”
RiteTrax's Dalton Kershaw and Mike Thompson outside Plot 22 on Exchange Street
Rewards for donating to the Crowfunder include everything from free entry for the first three months, RiteTrax sticker bundles, bar tabs, event tickets and loads more cool stuff. For every £1 donated, the Forward Enterprise Fund will match it with a further donation of 50p. Forward provide funding and support for enterprises that help ex-offenders and people in recovery from addiction.
During an interview with Vibe in 2016, history graduate Mike told us how during a stint in prison for drug offences, he took a business course and learnt about social enterprise. After his release, with support from The Prince’s Trust and £1500 raised through crowdfunding, Mike set up RiteTrax.
The collective’s initial aim was to provide a platform for events and people to learn new skills. Mike’s eventual aim was to get ex-offenders involved, having witnessed a lack of creative encouragement and participation in prison. As RiteTrax grew, so did the aims, and soon Mike and his team were putting on events around the city, including Rite Trax on the Bole Hills.
To find out more about the Rite Trax story, Plot 22 and to donate, head over to their Crowfunder page.