Can you help support the relaunch of Plot 22? For every £1 you donate, the Forward Enterprise Fund will match it with a further donation of 50p (if we meet our target of £5k they will donate £2.5k). Forward provide funding and support for enterprises that help ex-offenders and people in recovery from addiction.
In just 15 months of operation, Plot 22 established itself as a fabric of the Sheffield underground, 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.
We worked with hundreds of individuals including event promoters, bands, record labels and other individuals to deliver events at an exciting, intimate, flexible, creative, underground space that catered to a real variety of needs in terms of event programming and social value. Plot 22 is not just an event space, it's also home to six studio spaces which accommodate over 10 artists including event promoters, DJs, producers, graphic designers, photographers, videographers and visual artists, making it a natural space to network and collaborate too.
Over time and following persistent noise complaints, we realised that the building itself was not fit for purpose as a music venue and were forced to close. We've been working hard with some of the best consultants in architecture and acoustics to relaunch Plot 22 as a legitimate licensed event space. As you can imagine, each stage of the way requires more time, money and effort.
Any donated money will be spent on upgrading the building, work & costs include:
- architectural design
- licenses & applications
- noise survey & soundproofing
- consultation costs
- disabled accessibility
- fire safety improvements
- upgraded toilets
- improved production & acoustics
- upgraded equipment
You get the idea. We are stepping things up abit!
In the time since Plot 22 has been inactive as a venue, RiteTrax have started to collaborate with a number of community organisations around the city, working mainly with young people and vulnerable adults to deliver creative workshop sessions aimed at improving well-being, while also providing them with valuable experience and skills relating to a variety of music equipment. Having delivered these sessions around the city, we now want to make use of our central location and bring them to Plot 22, using the space to provide people with an opportunity to get involved with the creative industries through hands-on experience.
The aim is to provide opportunities for people where we can, by offering internships, apprenticeships and work experience programmes to young people and vulnerable adults such as care leavers, ex offenders, people with assisted learning needs and those with mental health conditions. We recognise the real value of community in the creative scene and the importance of having cultural hubs where new creative output can flourish and be discovered people can find the support they need.
As a community-minded creative social enterprise, our priorities are:
- to continue providing a sustainable, accessible platform for underground creative culture in Sheffield by hosting events and workshops
- to encourage the growth of new artists, musicians, performers, event promoters, club night brands & other creatives by providing a safe event and studio space to experiment, develop and showcase/sell work
- to encourage the inclusion of so-called 'hard to reach' groups including ex-offenders, those engaging with drug & alcohol services & young people through embedded education, volunteering & employment opportunities
READ: Sheffield VIBE - Focus on RiteTrax at Plot 22
READ: Exposed Mag - Plot 22: Sounds of the underground
↑ Local artist Marcus Method giving a new lease of life to our unit on Exchange street back in 2017..
↑ Legendary Sheffield DJ Winston Hazel playing a set at last year's Heeley Farm Festival Fundraiser..
Back in May 2017, RiteTrax acquired an empty unit in a desolate and unloved part of Sheffield city centre; Castlegate - lovingly nicknamed 'the arse end of town' by some. The unit, an old betting shop in the heart of the former Castle Market district, was rented out with the aim of turning it into a creative space.
Funded largely by personal pockets and partly through national funding schemes, Plot 22 was birthed as a home for the RiteTrax team to work and create. The space quickly turned into a multi-room creative hub for our extended network of friends and other creatives from around the city. We built a number of small rooms upstairs to accommodate artists and business owners, while our now infamous event space downstairs hosted some of Sheffield's most exciting underground events, parties, rehearsals and workshops.
↑ A metal gig hosted by Holy Spider Promotions in August 2018.
↑The space that later became Plot 22.
After developing the space, we've hosted an impressive number of events on a temporary basis, driven purely by countless volunteer hours & a DIY ethic. Without any proper permanent licensing or planning in place, we've been in constant communication with the local council to work out how to continue using the space as we'd like to. After persistent noise complaints, we were told that we needed to upgrade the building and make it more suitable to the desired use. We've since enlisted the expertise of a Professor of Acoustics to help us upgrade the noise insulation and are confident that we've found a solution which will keep everybody happy, especially the local residents!
During this process, we've recognised that the building seriously needs improving to be a permanent space for creative events. This means making it safe and well ventilated but also improving the levels of production so that it can rival any professional music venue. We've been significantly helped along the way with financial support from the Sheffield Business Improvement District but we are a way off from covering all of the mounting costs involved in taking on the project. Your support will go along way towards us ticking all of the necessary boxes required to reopen.
RiteTrax is a social enterprise, established in 2015 to provide a supportive and accessible platform for underground artists in Sheffield. The core team consists of Michael Thompson, Adam Seymour, Dalton Kershaw and Joe Gaughan. Michael founded the project following a 14-month stint in prison for drug offences. During his time inside, he worked as a mentor to tutor other prisoners with learning disabilities and completed a business course, with RiteTrax as the focus. Upon his release, Mike approached Adam Seymour, a long time friend, to launch the business, and with support from a successful crowdfunding campaign and the Prince's Trust, RiteTrax was born with a launch event at Yellow Arch Studios.
↑ Dalton & Mike outside the Plot in 2017.
Throughout 2016, RiteTrax gained the support of many local aspiring and established artists, as well as sound system collectives, venues and event promoters. This culminated in the launch of the annual RiteTrax on the Bole Hills festival in August 2016, which saw the addition of key members to the team including Joe Gaughan and Dalton Kershaw. This event, a free one-day community festival and market situated in a local park with beautiful surroundings, aims to bring the community together to celebrate and showcase local business and culture.
↑ RiteTrax on the Bole Hills 2018. Photo by Ellen Bradley.
Since 2016 the project has gone from strength to strength, attracting support and funding from organisations such as the School for Social Entrepreneurs, the Social Enterprise Exchange, O2 Think Big, the Sheffield Business Improvement District, the Big Lottery Community Fund and Tesco Bags of Help, among others. RiteTrax now focuses running its various event brands across diverse venues across the city, in addition to the provision of art space for studio & events. In the past year, we have been able to realise our long term vision of running music-related well-being workshops and education programmes with vulnerable adults and young people in Sheffield. The aim is very much to create a sprawling supportive network of like-minded people to enable self-expression and development, providing people with opportunities to engage with the creative arts in a positive and meaningful way.
↑Deadbeat UK working in the studio at Plot 22. Photo by Kane Dowler.
↑ Local metal band Ba'al performing at Plot 22. Photo by Connor Matheson.
↑ Local electronic act Riders performing at Plot 22. Photo by Connor Matheson.
↑ Local artist of international acclaim, Trik09 live painting at an exhibition event