WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – The warehouse building on 170 W Ninth Street in Winston-Salem will once again be opening its doors to musicians big and small and their fans, this time as The Ramkat.
Ziggy’s was the former venue in the space, which brought in popular bands like the Dave Matthews Band, 30 Seconds to Mars, Slipknot and Ben Folds Five.
Richard Emmett, Andy Tennille are both veteran promoters of the Winston-Salem music scene and will co-own and co-manage The Ramkat.
Bryan Ledbetter, owner of Airtype Studios and Camel City Goods, will also partner and invest in the new live music venue.
“We all have a long history of working in Winston-Salem and wanting to see the music scene develop here and continue forward in a positive way,” Emmett said in an interview.
According to Tennille, the venue’s name comes from the neighborhood where it is located, formerly filled with tobacco warehouses.
“This neighborhood in general in the late 1800s, early 1900s was referred to as the Ramkat by the folks who founded and established Winston-Salem,” he said.
With the closing of The Garage last New Year's Eve, the community felt that local bands would see a deep hit in their success and promotion.
Ledbetter, who played for the local yet nationally-touring band Evoka, believes The Ramkat will be a great opportunity for local artists to have a shot at playing bigger shows and getting their name out.
“Something I’m really looking forward here is getting locals back on stage, getting them to play in front of a room, working out kinks, all that kind of stuff, so they can go on and continue and grow,” Ledbetter added.
Tucker Tharpe, the most recent owner of The Garage after Emmett, says that The Ramkat will be an opportunity for The Garage's name to evolve into a new project to push local artists and help them break into the industry.
"Our brand name brings along an aesthetic that's very niche-y, and so people understand what we at The Garage do," Tharpe said. "Now with the opening and news of Ramkat, I'll be able to bring them here and talk with Richard."
The opening of The Ramkat could not only make an impact in the lives of local musicians, but also in the county’s economy.
“For every ticket purchased a patron actually spends an additional 20 dollars with other surrounding businesses,” said Catherine Heitz New, Deputy Director of the Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, based on data collected in a recent study by the organization.
“If that patron actually comes from outside of Forsyth County then that extra spending increases by 14% and we actually know that arts and entertainment are driving Forsyth County,” she added.
Heitz New also noted that 85% of people who are visiting Winston-Salem are coming to the city specifically for an arts or entertainment event.
Emmet says that playing music is how musicians make a living and that he and his partners are proud to provide a space for them to do so.
“That’s what we’ve always done as individuals in our other endeavors in the community and we’re gonna continue to do that with The Ramkat,” he said.
The Ramkat will be an 11,670 square-foot venue with a 1,000-person capacity set to open this March.
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