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Dreamland Margate gets makeover with new music venue

A new 15,000 capacity live music venue is opening up in an amusement park in Kent, with d&b helping the music to play

As part of a major refurbishment of the iconic, but dilapidated Margate amusement park, the team behind Dreamland have embarked on a mission to put Margate back on the musical map with a new 15,000 capacity live music venue.

The first gig at the seaside location is set for May, while the venue will host the Demon Dayz festival in June, which is curated and headlined by Gorillaz (pictured below).

The new venue includes an open-air Park Stage (3,500 capacity), undercover space called Hall by the Sea (2,000 capacity) and the Roller Disco (1,500 capacity). The Hall By The Sea (previously known as the Dreamland Ballroom) has a strong musical history and has played host to acts including The Who and The Rolling Stones. It will welcome a diverse range of acts encompassing music, pop-up cinema, live comedy and more.

SSE Audio were responsible for installing the audio in the Hall By The Sea (HTBS), with a d&b audiotechnik V Series line array system chosen It is a touring version of 16 x V8/12’s tops, 8 x V-SUB’s and a J-INFRA sub. There is also a V10P centre fill and a V7P delay, with all driven by d&b 6 x D80 amplifiers. There is also a d&b DS10 network bridge to interface with Dante enabled consoles, while on stage there are 10 x M2 monitors on 6 mixes.

SSE Audio were also responsible for specifying a mobile system – a d&b Y series 16 cabinet (Y8/12) line array with 8 x Y-SUBs’ to be used elsewhere around the site – all driven by 3 x D20 amplifiers.

Peter Codron, sales manager at SSE Audio, explains: “The client wanted a ‘rider friendly’ touring package for the HBTS venue and I recommended d&b audiotechnik as I have been selling their systems for over 13 years and know they will provide the necessary SPL, intelligibility and reliability.”

While the installation was straight forward, Codron comments there was some uncertainty about the layout of the venue – as the stage was going to be used in different positions at either end of the room.

“So a quick and easy system to rig/derig was necessary to hang from their ground supported truss. Again d&b’s systems can easily be rigged/derigged, which is a real benefit, and the client also has full remote control of the system through d&b’s R1 remote software. The system design was produced using d&b’s ArrayCalc software and they are also running the V system with Array Processing.”

He adds: “The install was completed in three days, plus a further day for commissioning. They are very happy with the system, although they still have to complete some minor acoustic treatment for the venue. I expect the first gig to go well – sometime late May. We did a test gig there last September to prove that the V series was the correct system to use.”

Dreamland Margate’s director of events, Rebecca Ellis, considers the venue to be a unique proposition. “Having a venue attached to an amusement park that is creatively led with a beautiful aesthetic and a rich heritage, as well as the infrastructure to support live events, makes it completely unique. It’s also different to academy venues and venues that have headline sponsors. They all have fantastic venue infrastructure but perhaps feel a little bit more like chains,” she says.

One-day festivals are part of the plan for the venue, as well as working collaboratively with artists, promoters and agents to generate content that could support an album release or a different type of show, she explains. “But we are also looking at lifestyle events, such as car shows, outdoor markets and separate attraction,” she adds.

Codron is also excited about the future plans for the venue. “Obviously, it is very nice to be involved in the Dreamland upgrade as they have big plans for the next few years to expand the user experience with a cinema, nightclub and large conference room – hopefully we will be involved with these too,” he says.