Stoke Newington’s local librarian once managed the English punk band Buzzcocks, Marc Bolan of T. Rex fame grew up in the area, and this weekend Stokey Music Festival is encouraging a younger generation to continue this local legacy.
Across the weekend restaurants and cafes will be playing traditional jazz, while bars and pubs such as Mascara Bar, Ryan’s Bar, Stereo 92, and The White Hart will be pumping out a mixture of rock, reggae and hip-hop, with DJs playing late into the night.
Hackney’s two historic churches will be transformed into music venues with St Paul’s Church on Stoke Newington High Street becoming a young people’s venue produced by and for under-18s.
Kevin Lennon, an education and training practitioner at Brook charity and member of the band Love Buzzard hopes the festival will challenge preconceptions people might have about Stoke Newington: “There is an outside perception [of Stoke Newington] that it is full of yuppies and push chairs,” Lennon says, “and hopefully the festival will bring people into the area to see what it is really like.”
“Although,” he adds, “there probably will be lots of pushchairs.”
Alongside supporting local business and emerging talent the festival aims to raise money for Brook, the UK’s largest sexual health charity for young people.
Lennon, who is co-organising the event with Maggie Ryan of Mascara Bar and Jenny Leighton from Hackney Council, said: “the festival will raise awareness and help fund the gaps created from ever increasing cuts. Hopefully it will also reduce the health inequalities that are prevalent in the borough.”
For 50 years Brook has been providing sexual health services, support and advice for under-25s across the UK. It is especially active in Hackney where it distributes free condoms to young people at over 80 locations through the Come Correct scheme.
Jonathan McShane, cabinet member for Health, Social Care and Culture for Hackney Council said: “With support from local businesses, the festival will be something truly special in supporting not only the great local acts, but the next generation of performers and music organisers while also raising money for a great charity.”
Stoke Newington Music Festival takes place 23-25 October and is free to attend. It will raise money through donation buckets placed at participating venues. Alternatively, the public can make donations by texting ‘SNMF £5’ to 70070