Keiron Marshall was thinking of shutting down his recording studio in Colliers Wood when his wife and fellow musician Hannah White suggested creating a performance space. ‘We installed a tiny bar, built a little stage and invited artists to perform,’ says White. ‘It was magical from the start.’
The venue was a success, but as it could only hold 30 people, they realised they needed somewhere bigger. After raising £15,000 through a crowdfunding campaign, they opened The Sound Lounge in Tooting in 2015. ‘We transformed a derelict site into a 250-capacity grassroots music venue. People fell in love with the space, the music and the inclusive atmosphere,’ says White.
It wasn’t just about live music, explains White. ‘We ran workshops for young people, hosted socials with free hot drinks for anyone suffering from social isolation and offered sound-engineering training for vulnerable groups.’
Sadly, the venue closed in 2017 when developers bought the site. ‘It was traumatic,’ says White, ‘but the amazing thing that came out of it was all the support from locals and the music community. It demonstrated how much impact
a space like this has.’
Since The Sound Lounge closed down, White and Marshall have been hosting pop-up events and they hope to reopen with a permanent site. As White says: ‘We are so much more than a stage.’
Nominated by: Dianne Hawthorne, Time Out reader
‘The Sound Lounge was a cosy place to enjoy gigs and encourage new artists, and a place for locals to meet. It’s good to see that they are on the lookout for other venues to grow the independent music scene.’