Created in pure celebration for South East London’s much loved community radio station, record label and hub, AJAA, turning five years old – Lewisham-based co-founders, Samuel Willott and Owen Howells have joined with local friends to create the brand-spanking-new Creekside Festival. The unique, day to night gathering will take place on Saturday September 2, and will cover ten different independent venues in fashionable Deptford.
The venues in question include AAJA’s very own and brand new location – The AAJA Snake Pit and the debut of their new branch, AAJA Basement. Joining them will be their local venue neighbours Artworks Courtyard, Buster Mantis, Endeavour, Isla Ray, Stocktons, The Birds Nest, and Villagers and Little Faith breweries too.
Each venue, an intimate space, will play host to a set of crews thoughtfully curated by AAJA including party hosts themselves. Acts on the roster include Threads Radio – who previously used to broadcast out of beloved nightclub The Cause – Cheeky Soundsystem, house aficionados WOLF Music, and vinyl masters No Boundaries. Add in techno maestros Subsidance, D&B label Devon’s Road Recordings and disco legends For the Record and you can see why we’re so excited for this one. Plus, headliners come in the form of none other than Wookie and Jossy Mitsu, so this is definitely gonna be a good’un!
The festival is a natural progression from what AAJA has strived for and achieved over the past five years – championing local artists and nurturing homegrown collectives. Following AAJA’s huge story of resilience following the global pandemic and displacement from their first home, the need to gather couldn’t come sooner. Here’s a few words from the founders Samuel and Owen themselves:
What does it mean to be ‘community radio station’ ?
“AAJA’s foundations were built on its community. Unique in the fact that our radio shows are experienced live in an immersive bar environment, as well as being available to listen to online. Our main focus was to bring people together through our shared passion for underground music and culture. Over the past 5 years it’s been an absolute pleasure to grow AAJA to where it is today, as well as the amazing support we’ve received along the way. So to sum up your question “what does it mean to be ‘community radio station’ – we would have to say it means community, creativity, music and family“.
How can you actually involve the whole, very diverse community?
“Good question. For Creekside this year it was impossible to include everyone from the AAJA community, there’s just too many artists now. Although we have managed to include around 50 Aaja residents to perform or work with us for this event. Throughout the year we also run our own parties, so we always book AAJA residents to play alongside and support headliners. We also have many opportunities to play at UK festivals like Boomtown and Queens Yard Summer Party so we have a very detailed, boring spreadsheet to help us make sure everyone gets the opportunity to play at some point at Creekside!”
What do you make of the South East London creative scene right now?
“South East London has always been a thriving environment for creativity and art, and with the recent property developments around the immediate area, the public’s gaze is now drawn more enticingly to the South! There are a multitude of burgeoning and established SE London businesses and venues coming out from the other side of COVID-19 including New Cross-based Planet Wax (record shop, bar and dubplate cutting house), Buster Mantis (music venue and restaurant), The Birds Nest (local legendary music venue) and warehouse club Venue MOT in Bermondsey“.