Campaigners have confirmed the location where they are going to open Lewisham’s first community-owned concert venue.
Sister Midnight launched a campaign, supported in 2021 by Fontaines DC, Porridge Radio, Goat Girl, London Night Czar and DJ Amy Lame and Jools Holland, to save the London pub The Ravensbourne Arms and turn it into local live music. a place for all ages.
The Lewisham pub has been boarded up since 2016, but the collective has applied to raise 500,000 pounds, offering community fans the opportunity to get a share in a non-profit mass pub with live music.
According to Sister Midnight, despite the fact that £260,000 was raised through public investment and donations, and more than 800 investors were attracted, the owners of the Ravensbourne Arms did not want to sell.
Todays the day that we’re able to announce our plans for a community owned music venue in Lewisham
We met with the Mayor @damienegan this morning to discuss the site which is situated in the heart of Catford, all the details will be revealed tonight at our community meeting 🧡 pic.twitter.com/NastwOJpf4
— Sister Midnight (@sistermidnightt) January 25, 2023
But the collective that previously ran the site in Deptford has now received plans for an abandoned former workers’ club, The Brookdale Club in Catford Centre.
“We’ve run into some pretty serious problems with this project, but we’re determined to see it through. Securing space has always been the biggest hurdle, but with the support of Lewisham Council we have managed to achieve more than we expected; securing a 7-year free rental of a space that meets all our needs and even more,” said Lenny Watson of the collective in a press release.
“The new site has huge potential to become a transformative cultural space for our local community. We can’t wait to start using this building again,” added Sophie Farrell from Sister Midnight.
According to the team, the new site has its own outdoor courtyard, a 250-seat live music venue, a public cafe and rehearsal rooms, recording studios and artists’ studios on the upper floors.
It will also offer “multidisciplinary music and art programs featuring local talent, accessible rehearsal and studio spaces, community events, and a community cafe filled with local produce, from beer to pastries.”
According to Sister Midnight, the profits will also be reinvested in the venue.
The collective previously explained how the pandemic-induced closure of the sites was “a catalyst for realizing that we need to create a new space that will be sustainable in the long term” without having to pay private rent.
“Our mission is to create a space for live music that can be accessible, inexpensive and inclusive, as well as a space that can be more resilient to the threats that may present themselves to venues,” Watson told NME at the time. “The pandemic was big. People may object that now is not the best time to do this, but I would say that there really is no better time to protect the future of our massive music venues from such threats.”
Watson explained that one of the biggest threats to mass establishments long before the pandemic was private property.
“The fact that [places] don’t own their buildings doesn’t give them the necessary level of control over them,” she said. “We really want to have a place that belongs not to us, but to the community. This ensures that the future of the venue will be secure and in the hands of the community so that they can use it and benefit from it.”