On the evening of Wednesday 6th June, Ashford College invited an exclusive guest list of press and industry to the commercial launch of Elwick Road Studios, the College’s brand new state-of-the-art recording studio.
The Mayor of Ashford, Cllr Jessamy Blanford, was in attendance, and guests included supporters and representatives from local arts and community organisations, businesses, music venues and the media, such as ViolaFilms, BBC Television and Radio, Revelation, Ashford Arts Centre, Create Festival, Radio Ashford, Theatretrain, Chapel Down, Tenterden Folk Festival and Sk8side CIC.
Guests enjoyed a drinks reception and buffet, and Clare Roach, the College’s head of faculty for creative arts, studio manager Mark Rowden and actor Shaun Williamson, whose radio play Eden’s End was recorded at the facility, all gave speeches.
Shaun said: “For those of you who have never been in a recording studio before, it can initially seem like a sterile, inert space. That space is brought to life when you inject human intelligence, life and passion. That wonderful room becomes a pub in a Kent village, a hop field in 1939 Britain, a farmhouse, a police station. It becomes a place where dreams can be fulfilled – which is what it’s all about for the students here.
“I didn’t know about this facility, I met Mark Rowden and was amazed by his professionalism and enthusiasm, and knew he was the man for the job. The studio and staff were wonderful: reception, canteen, everyone, they couldn’t do enough. It’s not just the studio - the whole building is a very welcoming space.
“I’m sure great things are going to happen in that studio under Mark’s directorship.”
Guests then gathered outside the studio to witness Shaun and The Mayor cut the ribbon and formally declare it open. Tours of the studio were then conducted, showcasing its latest high-spec analogue and digital equipment. The 40-channel digital/analogue hybrid facility is at the cutting-edge of what is being offered in both commercial studios and educational facilities across the county. The studio was designed and built to the highest specification by the same team who installed Abbey Road Studios, Sony Studios and studios for U2 and Coldplay.
Boasting a large range of professional equipment, including a wide variety of high quality microphones, synths, guitars and amps and drum-kits, the studio is available for external hire for as little as £120 per day for large scale and a wide range of commercial projects led by Mark Rowden and £10 per hour for smaller projects run by the trainee student engineers.
Chris Dixon, Ashford Borough Council’s Arts & Cultural Industries Manager commented: “Having such a high quality, state-of-the-art studio right in the heart of Ashford Town Centre not only supports the growth of the developing arts scene here, but more importantly will develop the skills and produce the industry professionals of the future. We may never know the true impact of this facility, but what is for sure, the experience for artists and engineers alike will be second to none.”
Anyone interested in hiring the facility can call Mark Rowden on 01233 743091 or email ElwickRoadStudios@ashford.ac.uk.
For more information on the Music Technology courses and Audio production evening courses offered at the College, visit: https://www.ashford.ac.uk/courses/music-technology