The team behind skate company, Roller Nation talks to TCP about their move to Bruce Grove
By Luchia Robinson
“It’s very far from the one in Vauxhall, but it’s worth the travel. In Tottenham, I’m meeting different people.
“It’s a whole new vibe,” says Millie Voyce, superviser at skate hire.
The vibe at Roller Nation is one of fun, where new and experienced skaters take to the rink, as a roster of DJs set the tone each evening. Millie travels from South London to work alongside her colleagues, half of whom are local employees, to ensure good times are had at the new venue.
The journey to Tottenham, however, has been a long one. Roller Nation moved from its original home at Bagleys, Kings Cross to its previous spot at the Renaissance Rooms, Vauxhall, because of regeneration, it was then uprooted from this venue for the same reasons in 2015.
On this occasion, though, regeneration is what brings the skating company to Bruce Grove.
“We’ve come to Tottenham because it was a welcoming environment for us and it’s an area that we see is on the up,” said David French, General Manager.
“New event spaces have emerged, and it’s always those cutting edge, more avant-garde events that are the vanguard for when an area is redeveloping. For me that was the indicator that Tottenham is the right place to be. It’s getting in at the right point so we can establish ourselves as the area re-establishes itself.
“And as much as anything else, Tottenham chose us because the building suited our purposes.”
Having acquired the right tenure for the site, the former cinema was then completely stripped back and repurposed.
“We’re pleased to be here and we’re just dying to get going.
“The area is new to us, but I think it’s much the same as when we started in Vauxhall- we didn’t know the area and we filled it,” said Tony Askew, Managing Director.
The Roller Nation team have many plans for the venue, ranging from providing space for Strictly style ballroom dancing, to engaging with the local youth.
“We are going to be able to provide a facility for young people to come and do something positive with their free time, because I know the youth groups and community centres have fallen by the wayside over the last five to ten years with the cuts, post austerity,” said David.
“Financially, night times allow us to run, but when we have a venue which is empty from 9.00am till 7.00pm at night, we can do other things- we can make use of the space and provide a facility for the community, and that’s what we’re planning to do.”
With plans to arrange school visits and programmes for holiday periods, catering to the night time skaters is just as much of a priority. Promotor, Kris Jay’s skate night, Rollout sees resident DJs, including Ruff N Tuff, bring Hip-Hop, Soca, Reggae, Bashment and Afrobeats to Sunday nights.
With Rollout pre-sale tickets selling out, Kris says his main focus is “safety, good DJs, a good atmosphere and making sure that the clientele that come in, have the best time.”
He added: “People are happy Roller Nation is back because there’s nothing on this level or on this scale in London.
“I think that anybody that goes anywhere else and then ventures into coming to Roller Nation will think that it’s a very different product- it’s a night club on wheels essentially.”
Kris wants to build on the success already established back at Bagleys and the Renaissance Rooms. “We hope we can carry this off and give Tottenham a slice, because north London has been an epicentre for roller skating, going back to the days of Roller Express, down on Lea Valley,” said Kris.
“…We’re back over to the north-side of the river!”