The Blackheath festival mystery

Only in SE London could a major event be planned, spark controversy, but not a word about it appears outside a small circle of people for months until a local blog picks it up. The Blackheath Bugle‘s discovered a curious tale of a planned music festival for Blackheath; to be held on 10/11 September on Hare and Billet Road, roughly where Climate Camp appeared 18 months ago.

Lewisham Council’s given the nod to a booze licence for the 25,000-strong event, which the amusingly-named NIMBY Events Ltd says will would be aimed at 30-50 year olds with the kind of music heard on Radio 1 and Radio 2. (Like Guilfest, I can only imagine, but without the camping.)

The Blackheath Society is furious, and is busying itself distributing leaflets to raise funds for an appeal, which will be heard by magistrates in March. Other than the fact that this has gone completely unreported since October (bloody bloggers, eh, revealing all these secrets!) what amazes me is that nobody seems to have tried having a festival on Blackheath before. I certainly can’t remember anything in the past – surely some old hippy beards in the 1960s must have tried something on the heath?

Could the heath sustain a festival? In London, Clapham Common, Hyde Park and Finsbury Park are established sites for music events, although all are shielded by trees in a way that Blackheath isn’t. Attracting 25,000 people seems a squeeze on that side of the heath too, even if you close Hare and Billet Road, and it’ll be bloody miserable if it rains.

Then again, it’s a big open space that doesn’t get much use beyond fairs and circuses – so why not? Just so long as they get some decent bands in – it sounds a bit middle-of-the-road to these ears at the moment…


  1. Agree, I’m smack in the middle of the 30 to 50 demographics but if they bring James Blunt I’ll be also objecting next year. Fingers crossed for the line up.

  2. Got to laugh when the promoter is NIMBY.Presumably they were thinking one-step ahead of the The Blackheath High Society. I remember Squeeze doing a gig on the heath. Wat Tyler and Jack Cade managed decent turn-outs although the music wasn’t too good by all accounts.

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