In case you haven’t heard the fantastic news about Ventnor Exchange check out the news here, but briefly it is a new record shop and studio theatre opening in the next few months as a cultural hub for the Island.
One question it would be fair to ask is: “Why Ventnor?” It’s right at the bottom (or south, to be proper) of the Island and is nowhere near the main town centres of Newport, Cowes and Ryde. The bus services to that half of the Island are less frequent and often complained about, and there isn’t exactly much there for young people in particular to do.
However, Ventnor Fringe has already shown the town’s potential. The August festival, which will this year grow from four to six days long, mixes genres and venues to create an eclectic atmosphere where you can wander around and see what’s on – chances are, you’ll have plenty to choose from at any given time.
The seaside town is perfect to cultivate such a relaxed feel that welcomes anyone and everyone, from parties on the seafront to converting at least two churches into top class gig venues.
If the team can use the same spirit and originality that attracts people from the north of the Island and much further afield, then their next project should be another welcome addition to a cultural scene that is growing and growing.
Here’s what others think:
Jack Whitewood, director of Ventnor Fringe and Exchange, said: “Some people may well question the decision to open the space in Ventnor, but we’re truly passionate about the town and the support we’ve received from the community with the Fringe over the past four years has been phenomenal and inspiring.
“There’s something really exciting happening in Ventnor at the moment, it really feels like the town is reinventing itself and has found a new lease of life and we want to be a part of that.”
Emily Scotcher, an actress, musician, and writer from Shorwell, said: “It being in Ventnor doesn’t put me off…minus that bloody hill, of course!”
Dom Kureen, a writer from Newport, said: “Being in Ventnor means it’s a bit out of my way as an everyday venue, but it makes sense as artists are flocking there en masse.”
Hazel Saunders, from Cowes, said: “Maybe, if it is a success, they could have a pop up thing in other towns once a month as Ventnor is quite far for some people – but an excellent place for Sandown and Shanklin people as a lot of young people live there and Ventnor is easy to get to from there.”
Katt Wilkie, a media studies student from Godshill, said: “The venue being in Ventnor actually pleases me as it’s one of the most underrated towns on the island (plus it’s a nice excuse to have a stroll along the seafront and end up in The Spyglass!)”