The Revolt always looks forward to the Christmas lights being switched on in the village, and are veterans of many such occasions. And over the years the event has got bigger and more organised so that yesterday we had ‘Blackheath Village Day’ on a scale never before seen. And overall it was great success.
This year there was a proper stage on Montpellier Green which was surrounded by stalls from the likes of Everest Inn and Chapters. And as in previous years there was also a stage outside The Crown and events at Blackheath Halls and throughout the village. Dozens of performers provided the entertainment with everything from gospel choirs, Nepalese dancers and Morris Men to lantern making and a board game workshop (which we thought best to avoid so as to avoid one Radical’s board game competitiveness emerging in a potential awkward manner).
Seriously though, we really are lucky to have a day like this which brings together such an eclectic mix of cultural experiences set against the beautiful backdrop of our very own village. So, a huge thanks to all those who gave their time to entertain us and to everyone who helped organise the event. Our favourite, though it’s invidious of course to single anyone out, were the Blackheath Morris Men – who really went for it with their sticks and handkerchiefs, not to mention some classic ‘cracker jokes’, and in the process seemed to leave the crowd feeling as jolly as the dancers themselves.
Spending the day in the village, starting with the excellent Royal Horse Artillery in the morning, it’s quite clear that the event generates lots more footfall and that the local traders were benefitting from this. Which is great and hopefully continues through the festive period, if not at the same levels as they day itself. [Though for those around, the Morris Men will be back on Boxing Day!]. And the advantage of taking a more systematic approach to the day, with a programme, branding, and an ever expanding set of ‘draws’, is that the day itself will become better known and hopefully even people will start to come along and spread the word about Blackheath and all it has to offer.
But there’s always a trade-off. As we said last year, the big lights switch-on being at Montpellier Green rather than in the middle of the village is a mistake. A number of people were heard to say that once the count-down had reached its climax it wasn’t actually possible to see the lights (apart from the really nice ones around the nearby trees, which were already on) from where everyone was gathered. Talk about an anti-climax. Keep the stage, keep the procession to it, expand the events and who performs, but have the switch-on itself back in the village! Oh, and the ‘Blackheath Santa’ may have done a good job in leading the kiddies and their lanterns through the village, but as a master of ceremonies for the highlight of the day, he was pretty underwhelming. Apparently local favourite Nick Ferrari was busy this year.
What did you think? As usual the Revolt enjoyed proceedings, more and more as the mulled wine flowed in fact, and came away feeling very glad to live in such a jolly place with such great people.