Revelation is Ashford’s only dedicated arts venue and sits at the heart of the community. Like many other venues around the UK they have joined the #saveourvenues campaign to ask for support to get them through lockdown and reopen when the time is right. We had a chat with CEO Debra McGee about where Revelation gets its charm and what the donations will mean to the venue….
How would you describe the importance of Revelation to Ashford ?
Revelation is a revolutionary pop-up arts venue – atmospheric, intimate, quirky and based inside a working medieval church! Since 2011, the venue has welcomed international musicians, legendary performers and created fantastic community experiences and incredibly we are Ashford’s ONLY dedicated arts venue so we think we are really important to the area.
Also we’re not just a music venue, we have run volunteer and work experience programmes and community arts based projects too for schools and young people.
What local bands have you been listening to recently?
Some of my faves are the fantastic Bay Rays, Ladybird, Gentlemen of Few and then solo artists such as Phoebe Warden, Avi Simmons and Thomas Ashby, but there are just so many to choose from it means we’re spoilt for choice.
What makes Revelation so unique?
I think it’s the experience we offer – its ‘up close and personal’ in an amazing setting. The space we use is a medieval church with a fabulous acoustic, soaring arches, fabulous lighting and a great pop up bar serving locally made beers and wines.
Our gigs always feel like a party. I love it when people come to us for the first time and are blown away by the atmosphere and they always come back
We see that Revelation run other fantastic projects in the community too. Tell us a bit about that.
We’ve been really lucky and had some funding to run a project called The Cardboard Orchestra which let us take musicians and community artists into schools, playing to the pupils and then helping them create their own cardboard instruments and come back to our venue to perform. Having 200 kids enjoying music is just amazing! For some it was their first ever experience of live music and to see their faces light up is pure magic.
We also work closely with FE colleges and offer paid work experience opportunities for young people hoping to get into the industry, it supports their CV’s and we get to work with a fab group of committed and talented future professionals.
What will the donations mean to Revelation and what will the cash go towards?
In the short term donations will be used to keep us going, we rely on ticket and bar income to survive and that’s all gone at the moment.
We are committed not just to maintaining our ongoing building and office costs but to honouring our commitments to staff (we’re a small team of just 3 ) and any existing artist contracts as they need to survive too. These people are our life blood and we will continue to support them for as long as we can.
We’re also busy planning for the future after lockdown and how we can pay it forward by offering free tickets to frontline staff where we can, plus free and low cost events so we can all just have some fun.