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​Lewisham’s first-ever community-owned music venue Sister Midnight to open this year

today26/04/2023 23

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A brand new not-for-profit community-owned music venue is moving into Catford, Lewisham, by the end of 2023.

Sister Midnight is set to become Lewisham’s first-ever community-owned music space, taking over the former Brookdale Club, a disused working men’s club in the heart of Catford, following a campaign to take over the freehold.

The team behind Sister Midnight were able to secure a seven-year lease of the freehold following a two year mission to find a suitable home for the venue. In 2021, they raised £260,000 through community investment and donations to acquire former pub The Ravensbourne Arms, but were outbid.

Read this next: Music Venue Trust has raised nearly £2.5 million to bring grassroots venues under public ownership

The first photos of Sister Midnight have been shared with the local community along with sketches of the planned venue layout. Renovations are currently being done to have the space ready by the end of the year.

The grassroots venue is set to feature a private outdoor garden, a 250-capacity live music space, a community café, space for rehearsals, recording, and artist studios on the upper floors, and more.

Sister Midnight will also allow “all of the social benefits” that a community space can offer including multidisciplinary music and arts programming championing local talent, affordable studio spaces, community events, and a stock of local produce at the café.

“We’ve been working tirelessly on our plans to bring this building back into use as a trailblazing community owned music venue, and it’s starting to feel more and more real with every passing day,” co-founder Lenny Watson tells Mixmag.

Read this next: Bristol music non-profit and record label Saffron is fundraising for its survival

“We want this venue to be an incubator of culture, where we encourage creative risk taking and support emerging talent, and give artists a high quality space in which to nurture their creative pursuits,” she adds.

The Sister Midnight team are now asking the local community to invest in the venue to make all necessary renovations, which could see the venue open by the end of the year. All profit made by the venue will be reinvested into the space itself.

“The biggest challenge for us now is raising the funds we need to do this, and that’s why we’re asking music lovers in South London and beyond to invest in shares and be part of what we’re doing,” explains Watson.

“We’re so excited about the amount of potential this space has to offer, and the opportunity it gives us to radically rethink what a music venue is, and who it’s owned by.”

Find out how to invest in Sister Midnight here.

Gemma Ross is Mixmag’s Assistant Editor, follow her on Twitter

Written by: Tim Hopkins

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