Winston Salem Visitor Guide - 2020 - 43

Opposite page: 9th Wonder

W

hen Richard Emmett, Andy Tennille,
and Brian Ledbetter opened The Ramkat
in 2017, they breathed new life into
Winston-Salem's music scene. The Industry Hill location's
former legendary venue, Ziggy's, had closed its doors in
2016, and local music lovers were hungry for a new haunt.
But the owners' vision extended far beyond the typical
downtown rock club.
Sure, their city needed a destination for well-known
national acts - but from experience, the trio knew that
Winston-Salem also needed a home and a launchpad for
the talented musicians in their own backyard.
"Music has played an important role in all of our lives,"
says Tennille, whose experience includes journalist, music
promoter, and photographer for Tom Petty's last concert
tour - three skills that lend themselves to promotions in
the music industry. "The desire to create a local community
arts space where we could collaborate with local nonprofits
and educational institutions, like the UNC School of the
Arts - even with visual and craft artists - was desirable
on everyone's part."
That diversity extends to Ramkat's events lineup, which
includes the likes of Grandmaster Flash, Gillian Welch,
and Ben Folds alongside the Branford Marsalis Quartet
and UNCSA's Jazz Ensemble. The Ramkat even hosts a
monthly Yogamunnity, where, for $10, anybody can come
for exercise and a beer.
"We try to keep it wide open," says Emmett. "It's not just
what we like but what the community likes. It's a big room,
with a capacity of a thousand." On a typical Saturday night,
the room might be filled with high school and college kids,
all the way up to retirees.
Like his partners, Emmett isn't new to Winston-Salem's
music scene; back in 1999, he opened the Garage, at the time
one of the city's few downtown nightspots. "When I came to
Winston, I fell into the developing art scene on Trade Street.
I got to be a part of the downtown music program in the late
90s, charged with putting fans on the street," he says.
"I've always known Winston-Salem to have many great
visual and musical artists in our community, and I always
wanted to merge the two."
Maybe that's why he recognized the promise of Industry
Hill. "It's a burgeoning neighborhood filled with lots of
like-minded people - entrepreneurs and creatives who
are interested in adding something new to the city. This
energy was enticing for all of us," he says. "Plus, there
are great breweries. It's the next iteration of creative space
in Winston-Salem."

learn more about our music scene and
upcoming events at visitwinstonsalem.com/music

VISITWINSTONSALEM.COM | 43


http://www.visitwinstonsalem.com/music http://www.VISITWINSTONSALEM.COM

Winston Salem Visitor Guide - 2020

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