OnBlackheath returns to the South London common this September for the third edition of its weekend celebration of music, art and food. Boasting a lineup that includes Primal Scream and Hot Chip alongside its diverse selection of local pop-ups and breweries, such as Greenwich based Meantime, the festival has become a champion of the local community and Londoners after a festival that's a little more refined.
With this year's edition barely two weeks away, we caught up with the festival's promoter Harvey Goldsmith to find out what we can get up to over the weekend.
What was the inspiration behind OnBlackheath? And why Blackheath?
We wanted to create a different kind off festival for everyone incorporating incredible live music, food and family fun. Blackheath Common was the perfect location for this as there has never been large scale festival in South East London before.
"it's important to bring in different elements to create a unique experience so that there is something for everyone."
I get the impression the local community is a big part of the festival – Meantime Brewery provide the beers for example. Is that connection something you're going for?
Getting the community involved is something we encourage whether it be them coming to the festival for fun or being involved within the festival itself.
What local organisations have you got involved this year?
This year we have local band Squeeze performing on the Main Stage on Sunday 11th September as well as local choir the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Choir. This is a first for them and us and we can't wait. We are lucky to have some of the best local street food traders from the area be part of our John Lewis Food Village. The Nunhead Gardeners are generously sponsoring our Chef’s Banquet with legendary chef Theo Randall. The London Early Years Foundation Nursery’s are sponsoring our baby changing area ‘Healthy Lungs’, a new campaign launching which we have an activation onsite for. Volunteers are coming to help support us over the weekend as well getting to enjoy the festival.
"Getting the community involved is something we encourage"
The music is just a small part of the festival. Tell us about what else will be going on, particularly for families?
For the first time ever, Puffin Books will be bringing their World of Stories to OnBlackheath. This is an immersive zone bringing to life some of Puffin’s best-loved characters and suitable for children of all ages. We will have a Magical Storytelling Stage, home to a host of Puffin shows and live readings from authors. A Roald Dahl talking maze, circus workshops, craft area and many more surprises for all the family.
There seems to be a growing emphasis of extra activities at music festivals, especially food and drink. How important do you think it is to have more than just the music?
Music is a large feature of festival but it's important to bring in different elements to create a unique experience so that there is something for everyone. In terms of our food offering, this year in the John Lewis Food Village, we have Theo Randall cooking at our fine dining Chef’s Banquet as well as the Chefs’ Stage with demonstrations from 12 award-winning and celebrity chefs. To top it off we have a Cookery School and the best Street Food from all over the world.
That said, you've also got huge names such as Primal Scream, Hot Chip, James and Craig Charles on the bill. Would you say that more refined, 6 Music taste is a deliberate move?
We have always looked for a unique line up with artists that compliment each other as well as not having the same standard lineup that a lot of other festivals follow.
And finally, what do you want festival-goers to take away from OnBlackheath 2016?
The memory of a fantastic weekend and cant wait for OnBlackheath 2017
OnBlackheath will take place on the 10th and 11th September 2016. Find out more on our guide, and book your tickets and packages below.
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