As a brand new festival, I was excited to see what On Blackheath would have to offer its audience. Word has it that the southeast London-based festival has been planned, cancelled and rearranged for three years now, so it was exciting to be there to see the first one come to fruition.
The USP of Blackheath is that it’s not just a music festival – it’s also designed as a massive foodie haven. I’m not sure as to how far this worked – going to a chef demo by Rick Stein’s son hadn’t been exactly what I’d been planning on doing with my lunchtime but it was interesting. They catered well to families as well with a big children’s entertainment area. It was a bit of a variation from Reading though where I’d been just weeks before – I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many camping chairs at a non-camping festival before.
The line up was fantastic. A lot of the crowd (myself included) I suspect were only there to see the headliner, Frank Turner. But there were lots of other great acts too, like Tom Hickox who opened and Athlete, who kept the crowd going despite the rain. I liked that Blackheath made all the sets quite long so that every act had a proper chance to showcase their music, as I don’t like when you go to an early set and the band only has time for five songs.
I’m in the bad habit of being quite a lazy live music listener; if I don’t know something then I tend to just switch off. But the Levellers and Imelda May were both very energetic and had everyone dancing along, which made the day really fun. Frank Turner arrived fresh from the Invictus Games and did a brilliant 90 minute set covering a lot of his hits as well as debuting some new material. It was fantastic to see so many people singing along with all the songs – although the audience was the mildest I’ve ever seen at a Frank Turner show.
Conclusion: On Blackheath was fun. If you’re looking to take your mum to a festival, pop this on your shortlist.