The front of Sister Midnight before renovation

New community owned music venue to open in Lewisham by the end of 2023

A community owned music venue is set to open in Lewisham once renovations have been completed at the end of this year. 

Sister Midnight will occupy what was once The Brookdale Club in Catford town centre, comprising a 300 capacity performance space and a relaxed bar area downstairs, with rehearsal and meeting spaces upstairs. 

Sophie Farrel, one of the three directors of the project said: “This is an opportunity to do business differently. 

“There’s a lot of strength in the power of community owned businesses. Not only does investing in a local enterprise bring people together, it can also be a way to make cultural activity more sustainable. 

“We live in an era where large organisations aren’t looking out for communities, so we need to look out for each other instead. 

“Initiatives like this one may not be the whole answer, but they are definitely a step in the right direction.” 

A sign which says 'the brookdale club private club members only' on a brick wall.
The Brookdale Club in Catford

The programming for the venue will reflect the diversity of the Lewisham music scene, including genres as diverse as punk, jazz, grime and hip-hop, as well as electronic nights and DJs. 

The organisers also intend to use the bar area as a performance space for emerging artists who suit a more intimate setting. 

This is not the first such project the team have undertaken, having run Sister Midnight Records in Deptford which closed during the pandemic. 

Originally, the directors planned to open the venue on the site of the Ravensbourne Arms in Lewisham. 

The initial campaign had backers like music legend Jools Holland, musician and performer Amy Lamé, Mark Davyd, CEO of the Music Venue Trust, plus 800 local people who invested an average of £250 each. 

During the campaign, the organisers were supported by the Mayor of Lewisham, and it was this connection which meant the trio could continue their dream of creating a community owned music space in south east London. 

After the owners of the Ravensbourne Arms refused to sell, Lewisham Council stepped in and offered the organisers The Brookdale Club on a rent free basis, the only cost left to them being the renovations. 

Despite the change of location, over 98% of investors decided to continue to support the project, and since the share option has reopened they have received an additional £50,000 investment from record label Beggars Group.

Each shareholder, regardless of how much they invested, will have one vote in meetings about the running of the venue, meaning that this isn’t just a community project in spirit but in structure too. 

Ongoing investments are welcome, with details available on the Sister Midnight website

There are also concerts and events organised by the directors which intend to raise awareness about the project, the next one is on the 9th June headlined by BAD WITH PHONES.

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