Sweet Harmony: Radio, Rave & Waltham Forest, 1989-1994

Sweet Harmony: Radio, Rave & Waltham Forest, 1989-1994

About the project

About the project

Sweet Harmony: Radio, Rave & Waltham Forest, 1989-1994 is a project which documents and celebrates the history of pirate radio and rave in the borough during the period 1989-1994.

The first phase of the project started in April 2019 and was funded by National Lottery Heritage Fund. A new phase 'Retuning the Airwaves' was funded by Waltham Forest Council in 2020-21 and included workshops with young people in the borough. This phase will culminate in an exhibition at Vestry House Museum in November 2021, and a series of audio pieces made available at locations relevant to the project.

In the lead up to the exhibition, a music event is being held at new venue Patchworks on Church Road E10, featuring some of the DJs who were interviewed for the project.

Oral history interviews conducted in 2019 include: Bizzy B, Roy Balfourth, Chelsea-Louise Berlin, Linden C, Andy Clockwork, Merry Collins, Dlux, DJ Louise, DJ Rap, Nicky Dungeons, Vicki Edwards, Adrian Hall, Joel Harrison, Kier Hawkins, Stephen Hebditch, Claire Henderson, Ronnie Herel, Marlon Guildford, Gordon Mac, MC Navigator, Jessie Grace Mellor, Chris Pilling, Roger the Doctor, Slipmatt, Steve B, Adam S, Ian S, Mike Stone, Tim Strudwick and Warlock. These can be listened to in full by appointment at Waltham Forest Archives and Local Studies Library at Vestry House Museum.

Limited edition publication

As a result of this first phase of the project, we've produced a limited edition booklet and map showing the location of former radio stations and including oral history extracts to tell their history.
 
The booklet is 24 pages, A5, printed in one colour, and saddle stitched with a folded full colour B2 size map as jacket.
 
Sweet Harmony publication showing map in the background map
Currently out of stock, reprint coming soon!
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Background

1989 – 1994 was a distinct period in music history; at the end of the acid house scene; garage, hardcore, jungle and drum and bass all emerged in quick succession. Waltham Forest played an important role in the development and dissemination of these musical genres, influencing a generation of musicians and young people which few people are aware of, and being pre digital, has not been well documented or collected.

Waltham Forest’s role in this scene happened because of the cultural mix of the borough, its location and architecture. The aim of this project is to share with the public just how influential the borough residents have been, and whilst some of the scene was unlicensed at the time, it is important to recognise the creative and entrepreneurial young people who contributed to this scene, and to acknowledge what a huge creative catalyst it was, inspiring graphic artists, projectionists, photographers, writers and musicians.

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Outcomes

  • 30 oral histories recorded and transcribed will be deposited at the Local Studies Library at Vesty House Museum.
  • An archive of flyers and photographs collected.
  • 25 volunteers took part in the project receiving training and opportunities to contribute, take part and learn. 
  • An event at Leyton Technical, screening 'Legacy in the Dust' by Winstan Whitter. 
  • A publication and map, available to pre-order. 
  • An archive of audio and video files. 

Funders, partners and credits

This project was led and managed by Katherine Green, with Lucy Harrison of Rendezvous Projects. The following people generously volunteered their time to assist in the research: Toby Bennett, Kyra Borella, Lewis Brooker, Simon Busby, Stephen Christian, Alice Clapperton, Peder Clark, Tané Kinch, Alex Kirby, Alice Lloyd, Holly McGratten, Linda Mezaks, Elisa Miglionico, Clive Njoroge, Alex O’Sullivan, Rob Parton, Nathaniel Pearn, Jack Savidge, Lorna Seymour, Matt Turner and Henry Walter.