A social history project in East London has produced a map showing the exact location of the area’s pirate radio stations between 1989 and 1994.

Sweet Harmony: Radio, Rave & Waltham Forest, 1989-1994’ is a National Lottery Heritage Fund project that sets out to document and celebrate the history of pirate radio and rave in the East London borough of Waltham Forest during the height of the rave movement.

The idea behind the project is that the pirate radio stations, DJs, producers, promoters, sound systems, dancers and clubbers of the borough of Waltham Forest all played an important role in the emergence of hardcore rave, jungle, drum & bass and UK garage. The ‘Sweet Harmony…’ website details how the borough’s young residents helped in the “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.”

The map and booklet are part of a larger creative and social history project that has interviewed the likes of Linden C, Bizzy B, Gordon Mac, Slipmatt, Warlock, DJ Rap and many more dance music figures from the neighbourhood. ‘Sweet Harmony…’ has also produced 30 oral histories, an archive of flyers, audio and video files and have put on a special screening of Winstan Whitter’s excellent history of Hackney’s seminal 4 Aces club, ‘Legacy In The Dust’.

Their website states that “Waltham Forest’s role in this scene happened because of the cultural mix of the borough, its location and architecture… 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.”

More details about the Sweet Harmony: Radio, Rave and Waltham Forest 1989 – 1994 project can be found on their website.

23rd June, 2020

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