On Blackheath is a new music and food festival which took place on a green area in South-East London, Blackheath Common, over two days, Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th September.
The festival had been in the pipeline for a few years, but due to licensing issues only had its inaugural staging this year.
On Blackheath does not include camping options but the area is well connected with the rest of London by public transport, making it an easy day out for the all family. We visited the festival on the Sunday and indeed, On Blackheath attracted people of literally all ages and had a very relaxed atmosphere.
On Blackheath comprised three music stages: the main stage, the Heavenly and Friends stage, and finally the Village stage, which featured local talents like The Chris Holland All Star Band. A fourth food stage hosted demonstrations by professional chefs. Food played a strong role at the festival and the market stall offered good quality food and drinks (beer was £5 a pint or more though).
The festival also included entertainment for children like face painting, hula hoop classes and storytelling, and also vintage swing dancing for adults and children alike.
All the stages and market stalls were arranged on a flat field and were separated by a short walking distance. This made it very easy to move from one event to the other, but caused a persistent sound clash everywhere in between the stages, mainly because of the music played by some market stalls, like the Barbers' stall. It would have been nicer to hear one single tune at the time when lounging on the grass.
The massive main stage was headlined by Frank Turner and The Sleeping Souls and hosted indie bands like Athlete as well as more established bands like the Levellers. And the Levellers supported by Stephen Boakes on didgeridoo seemed to really entertain the crowd and made everybody dance in the big field.
Jeff Barrett's Heavenly recordings curated the Heavenly and Friends stage featuring powerful and fresh music by bands they produce but also other guests. Bands on stage included The Voyeurs (formerly known as Charlie Boyer and The Voyeurs), who have just started their European tour, Stealing Sheep, Steve Mason, and Jagwar Ma. Listening to Jagwar Ma felt like going back in time and we could not help thinking about Happy Mondays, nonetheless Jagwar Ma’s dance rock was great and made people raving. Liverpool based all-female trio Stealing Sheep was definitely the most original band at this festival with their dreamy psych-folk, they presented new songs and closed with their hypnotic ’Shut Eye’.
On Blackheath was an interesting day out both for music and food, a bit on the expensive side for punters.
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