Madness OnBlackheath

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With considerably less fanfare than last year, OnBlackheath returned for its second outing last weekend (12/13th) and, perhaps with some inevitable exceptions, a good time seems to have been had by all.

First impressions of this year’s festival were favourable.  Compared to last year there were more, and much better, food offerings; the venue was better organised; and, though not experts on the matter, the entertainment for kiddies seemed even more fun and well thought out (including a branch of Waterstones dedicated to books for the nippers).  That said, on Saturday especially, the queues for food were at times huge and it was nigh-on impossible to get a drink from the Meantime trucks (the only serving ale) meaning your Radicals had to spend most of the first evening supping the London Lager – more easily available from the large beer tents – but flat and dull after a while.  Sunday was much better.

iPhone 281As for the acts, the organisers had once again done a great job of mixing up-and-coming talent with established stars, despite still not securing the booking of Sir Cliff for which the event is surely crying out.  No?  Up first on the main stage was Kyle Riabko from the Burt Bacharach musical in the West End, who proved an early popular choice with the parental unit that were accompanying one Radical for part of the day.  Harvey Goldsmith, event producer, provided information and amusement between acts, including where to charge mobile ‘phones and find lost children…

iPhone 284Alongside the main stage there were three other tents for all manner of music and performances, including by local band Bruise whom we enjoyed listening to and subsequently discovered were very local – being based in the Standard as it happens.  Once again there were cookery demonstrations and then the opportunity to sample what had just been cooked courtesy of the Chef’s Club, which we didn’t take advantage of this year but which looked incredibly popular.  John Lewis, main sponsors of the event, had their members area (complete with complimentary teas and coffees and, apparently, rather nice loos), there was a champagne bar courtesy of the Greenwich Hotel and, adding a surreal touch to the occasion, numerous performing artists roaming the event, including people with what can only be described as hanging baskets for heads…

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Pot head...

Pot head…

Back to the main stage, or should that be back stage of the main stage as, yes, the Radicals this year had ‘press passes’ which meant we could roam freely behind the scenes.  Can you imagine – this is what constitutes journalism these days…But before anyone asks (oh, actually, a popular local pressure group already has…) we paid for our tickets for the event and the passes got us nothing but access to the behind the scenes operation; so no favours offered and none gained.  Truth be told it was all rather strange backstage; nobody quite seemed to know where we could and couldn’t go and in all honesty it was not natural territory for the Revolt.  That said, we persevered for the sake of reporting, and it was a lot of fun really – the view from front of stage left was, in particular,  quite excellent.  And we managed one or two backstage ‘paps’ of some of the stars.FullSizeRender 3



Saturday was headlined by Elbow, whom a barman has earlier described to us as being ‘those guys that did the Olympics’, which didn’t help much really.  They had their moments and the crowd seemed to really get in to some of the songs.  For us the highlight was the lead singer’s attempt at rhyming-slang, pairing ‘OnBlackheath’ with ‘Penelope Keith’.  Te he he.  Before them, the Manic Street Preachers were really rather good, belting out track after track and genuinely seeming to enjoy it all.

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We didn’t know our Elbow from our…

To Sunday, where Kellis rightly won all the plaudits for apparently participating in a cookery demonstration before taking to the main stage.  Later on and the entertaining DJ David Rodigan who at one point was heard to complain at the lack of volume available to him.   On the subject of the sound, it’s was no doubt reassuring to everyone who passed it to see the not-so-covert sound monitoring van of the Blackheath Society poised for action each day.  More seriously, do fill in their survey if you have a moment:

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Suggs needs the Revolt

Finally, to finish of proceedings, and to the delight of the many fez wearers in the crowd, we had a bit of Madness.  Now, even we had heard of Madness and, though not being fans, rather enjoyed the set.  Almost as entertaining was the Twitter banter on local-Madness related puns, such as ‘Quaggy Trousers’ and ‘Our house in the middle of our heath’…yeah, you had to be there.

In all another successful year. Hopefully the hysteria of the first year has died down and our village was busier than normal over the weekend, which can only be good. The event is well managed (and thanks also to Lewisham’s Finest, Sgt Biddle et al.) and is good for the area – something the whole family can enjoy, be it the entertainment in the children’s area or decent loos in the John Lewis area. Yes, we were not familiar with all the bands, but the atmosphere and experience was truly tremendous. Now, will One Direction be around next year…

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2 thoughts on “Madness OnBlackheath

  1. i am interested to see what level of repair work OnBlackheath will carry out to the massively damaged grass following the site clear up. It look disgusting and is totally unusable by the residents around it… perhaps one legacy of the festival that is unacceptable.

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