Sister Midnight, the first community-owned venue in Lewisham, launched its offshoot radio station yesterday, on August 3. Like the venue, the station shall be dedicated to uplifting South East London’s talented voices under an umbrella of inclusivity and a dedication to benefitting the local community.
The venue will offer a 250 capacity live music venue, a community café space, rehearsal, recording and artist studios that will be available to hire at affordable prices, community events and a private outdoor garden.
This year the group's two year campaign to secure a cultural community hub for Lewisham's thriving creative scene came into fruition. Sister Midnight were granted a 10 year lease to occupy an old working men's club called The Brookdale in Catford.
Lottie Pendlebury, Lenny Watson and Sophie Farrell, the women behind Sister Midnight, previously had plans to buy a disused former pub. Though these plans fell through due to slight financial disagreements between the group and the pubs former owners, Sister Midnight was able to secure a new location under a “Meanwhile Space” agreement backed by Lewisham City council with the support of London’s Night Czar and the Community Spaces at Risk Team.
Before the venue is opened to the public, they plan to build studio space that grows and develops with the venue itself, and will be the venue's focal point.
Lenny Watson says “Sister Midnight FM opens up a whole new world of possibilities for engaging and growing the Sister Midnight community - both in the present while we’re still working on opening our new music venue, and in the future once we’re up and running."
“We’re so excited to see how the station grows and to have a way for local people to get creatively involved with our work!” she continued.
Though the building is owned by a subsidiary of the Lewisham Council and is expected to be fully renovated by 2030, the 10 year peppercorn lease offers Sister Midnight a good amount of time and some financial breathing room to get their activities started and established.
Sister Midnight FM is (SMFM) is part of SM’s plans to form a community-focused incubator for the local area, in which the station serves as a platform pushing artistic expression, talent development and the promotion of involvement within the local creative community.
By providing an alternative means of involvement for those with physical access barriers, the station hopes to be an environment where work can be shared freely, and involvement with grassroots music spaces can be encouraged.
The radio slots will feature a varied array of musicians, community groups, DJ’s, historians and activists, amongst others. Anyone is able to apply for a broadcast slot or join the radio team, and SMFM asks the local community to voice their hopes for the station and offer general opinions and comments.
Tiffanie Ibe is Mixmag’s Digital Intern, follow her on Instagram