Category Archives: festival

Festival not OnBlackheath this year

Looks like the John Lewis / OnBlackheath music festival on the heath has now been postponed until September 2014, according to this comment from councillor Kevin Bonavia:

Lewisham Council has just been notified by OnBlackheath that they have decided not to go ahead with the event this year. I understand that OnBlackheath are now working on plans for September 2014, which we are likely to hear more about towards the end of this year.

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John Lewis Music Festival plans for Blackheath

UPDATE: OnBlackheath have decided to postpone the event, and are now thinking of September 2014 as the likely date. See post here.

The plan to host a music festival on the Heath has reappeared. OnBlackheath have applied to host a festival in September, sponsored by John Lewis.

See the email sent by the Blackheath Society earlier today:

We have received confirmation that OnBlackheath (previously NIMBY) has applied, at this late stage, to Lewisham Council for permission to hold a two day pop festival on the Heath on September 7th/8th. The event is apparently to be sponsored by John Lewis and called “John Lewis on Blackheath”. Little further information is currently available.

Members will recall that the Society lost its appeal against the granting of the Premises Licence for this event (in perpetuity) in 2011. However, we are fortunate that this current application takes place in the context of an Events Policy for the Heath agreed as a result of the earlier controversy, and with procedures well defined. Any such application has to be considered by the Blackheath Joint Working Party, and a detailed Event Management Plan has to be submitted and agreed before Lewisham issue any final permission.

We expect to play a full part in this process, and will keep members fully informed. The issues which caused serious concern last time will be re-examined in this exercise.

Members views and feedback are always welcome, at any stage.

Please play nicely in the comments…

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Pop music for old people

Podcast interview with Tom Waites, one of the organisers of the proposed pop festival here.

You can subscribe to the whole “In The Meantime” Podcast about Greenwich here (iTunes link).

Desperately needs compressing, normalising, and the interviewer to be nearer the mic or about 6 dB louder, but apart from that, it’s great to have a local podcast.

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BBC London News on the Festival Announcement

Spotted by @i_am_softlad

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Blackheath Bike and Kite Festival Cancelled

Blackheath Bike and Kite Festival
From the Blackheath Society’s website:

Bike & Kite Festival abandoned for 2011

The Society understands that this very successful event held in June will not take place this year as a result of the cuts. The Society is writing to Lewisham to request that the event be re-instated for 2012 – an important Jubilee year.

Such a shame. One of the best things about living in Blackheath. A really spectacular event. Ticks all the right boxes too – family friendly, encourages healthy lifestyles, etc. It’s something that was unique to the area. Maybe a rogue flash-mob festival should be organised regardless… Get the amazing Flying Squad kite flyers to come of their own accord (I’ve seen them practicing on the heath enough times), tell the organic chicken-burger-man from the farmer’s market to park his van by the side of the heath, and ask the crazy sound-system-on-a-morris-minor to provide the tunes.

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Blackheath Festival Abandoned for 2011

Michelle O’Brien writes that Nimby won’t go ahead with the On Blackheath festival this year:

Organisers of the planned OnBlackheath pop festival this summer said on Monday (May 16th) that they will almost certainly now have to abandon it after Bromley Magistrates ordered yet another adjournment in hearing Blackheath Society’s appeal against the event.

“We are desperately disappointed,” NIMBY Events Ltd. director Tom Wates said after the Magistrates adjourned the hearing of the Society’s appeal, this time until 29 June.

Monday was the 5th day of the hearings. They began on the 3rd of March.

But Mr. Wates said on Monday that if the Magistrates did finally throw out the Society’s appeal, NIMBY would be back again with a new bid to stage the open-air two-day festival on the Heath in September 2012.

Among the class of stars NIMBY had been looking to feature at the festival this Sept. 10 and 11 year were Adele and Mumford & Sons. NIMBY had been planning on attracting audiences of 25,000 on each of the planned festival’s two days, charging £45 per ticket per day.

Mr. Wates and his wife own the Noa Noa dress shop in Blackheath Village.

Earlier on Monday, Peter Gadsdon, head of Lewisham Council’s Strategy and Performance department and chairman of the Council’s Safety Advisory Group, had told the two Magistrates hearing the appeal: “Mr. Wates indicated that the event would not go ahead unless there was a decision today.”

Fellow NIMBY director Alex Wicks said that as a result of the Society’s legal bid to block the festival the three parties involved – NIMBY, the Society and Lewisham Council – had together been involved in spending “a ridiculous amount of money, far too much” on legal fees. Each of the three is represented in court by a barrister.

Mr. Wicks said a guesstimate for the total for the three would be £200,000. “It’s a significant amount of money which could have been put to better use than this”.

He said NIMBY has financial backing from a venture capital group. Blackheath Society, meanwhile, has appealed to its
members to dig into their pockets to help fund its legal costs. As a Council, Lewisham’s legal costs are met by local council tax payers.

The presiding Magistrate, Mr. Roger Mills, told the court on Monday: “This appeal was originally listed for two days” (March 3rd and 4th). “But here we are half way through Day 5 and Day 6 is looming.”

But he said that because of “the enormous amount of evidence” from the hearings that the two Magistrates would have to plough through there could be no final decision in the case until some unspecified time after June 29th.

At an earlier hearing, Mr. Wates had indicated continuing uncertainty over the outcome of the Society’s appeal was causing NIMBY major headaches, including booking artists. He said neither artists nor some of the contractors NIMBY wanted to use would enter into discussions until they knew for certain that the festival was going ahead.

Recognised as one of the most powerful local groups of its kind in the country, Blackheath Society bills itself as the “Guardians of the Heath.” But local blogs show overwhelming support for OnBlackheath especially among younger people.

The Society’s appeal is against a ruling by Lewisham Council’s licensing sub-committee that gave the go-ahead for NIMBY to stage the festival annually this year and in perpetuity, with sale of alcohol.

Many thanks to Michelle for sending this in. I’ve always been in two minds about the festival to be honest – never quite decided which side of the fence to land… But it is clear that many people commenting here and on other local blogs (such as the excellent 853blog), feel strongly that the Society may have mis-judged the local mood this time.

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Blackheath Festival – leaflets appearing

Anti OnBlackheath music festival leaflet
Just received a copy of a leaflet that is being delivered near to the festival:

Why we are asking you to write to your MP about the OnBIackheath Festival due to be held very near here in September

Dear Neighbour,
We live nearby – at the top of Lewisham Hill, and are writing to you as neighbours. We don’t belong to any group.

On the 10th and 11th September a company cailed NIMBY Events are planning to hold a festival on the same part of the Heath that was used forthe Climate Camp last year.

There is nothing wrong with people having fun, or people making money.

But, festival organisers usuaily try to avoid disrupting local residents, especially young children. Like you, we live here and we think that the views of local peopie should be considered.

We are concemed about the OnBlackheath Festival for the following reasons:

  • It is being held in the first two weeks of the new September school term – keeping nursery and primary school children awake when they need to be resting for school
  • The event is licensed all weekend for all-day drinking until 10.30pm on Sunday night
  • Once the music and drinking stops, late on Sunday night, up to 25,000 people will be encouraged to head down Lewisham Hill to the station. Many will presumably hang around until later.

We do not have assurance that the organisers will have managed to clean up by the next momlng, when children walk across the heath to get to school. At other festivals it is not unknown for broken bottles, drug paraphernalia and other detritus to be found the next day.

The reason we’re writing to you is that the alcohol licence – which was granted for this and every subsequent year – has been challenged in court, and the festival might also need ministerial approval. So there is a short window of opportunity between now and the hearing on April for local people to make their views known. This may make all the difference, as the local MP, Heidi Alexander, says the letters she has received so far have been roughly half in favour, half against.

At the recent public meeting we asked the organisers if they would consider moving the Festival out of school term time to the summer holidays. They said no, because it might reduce attendance numbers.

You can email Heidi Alexander MP, at heidi.alexander.mp@parliament.uk or write to her at Heidi Alexander, MP for Lewisham East, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA.

The best way of making your views known directly to the licensing appeal is to write to the magistrates at the following address: The Presiding Judge, Reg Case No: 011003910186, Greenwich Magistrates Court, The Court House, London Rd, Bromley, BR1 1RA

If you can, please do it before 15th April while there is still chance to influence the decision.

Thank you,
Simon and Abigail, local residents (simonandabigail at gmail.com)

It will be interesting to see how this plays out… I suspect the festival will go ahead regardless.

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onBlackheath meeting: Bad Tempered Bongo Drums

Below are a tonne of interesting tweets from yesterday’s onBlackheath meeting (which I couldn’t attend). Mostly from BitOClass and Darryl1974 who write the SE13zure and 853blog blogs respectively.

I wish I’d managed to get there, looks like it was an interesting night. Regardless of your opinion on whether the festival should go ahead, I think it’s worth pointing out a few aspects of sound perception:

Sound pressure levels decay over an inverse square law with distance. So if you are very near to the source of a sound, and move a few metres away, the sound gets dramatically quieter. However, if you are a hundred metres away, and move another few metres back, the level barely changes. Another point to make is that decibel readings are fairly pointless as way of describing irritation from unwanted sound. For example, a continuous sine tone or burglar alarm can be very irritating even if it is at a low level, whilst a spread spectrum of pink noise at an equivalent total energy level might be barely noticeable. Music is in the ear of the beholder, so sits somewhere between the two. Finally, anyone who thinks that erecting a few soft temporary walls in the free field will make any difference frequencies below about 1kHz should really think again.

Tweets are below in chronological order. Don’t miss the bit about bongo drums.
Continue reading

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Blackheath Music Festival – details emerge

Blackheath Music Fesitval map
onBlackheath, the organisers of what was previously referred to as the Nimby Music Festival, have just released a PDF, with more details of the proposed festival.

The PDF can be found here.

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Blackheath Music Festival – public meeting

As pointed out in the comments here, the organisers of the proposed music festival on Blackheath are holding a public meeting to discuss it on Friday.

The organisers of the OnBlackheath music festival will be holding a public information evening on Friday 18th March.
This will give a chance to hear from the team behind the event, as well as an opportunity to ask any questions.

This meeting will be held at Hollyhedge House (TA Building) on Wat Tyler Road at 7.30pm on Friday 18th March 2011.

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