The Blackheath Festival organisers

853blog has an interview with the organisers of the proposed festival on the heath, now provisionally branded as “On Blackeath”. They have a website too, where you can sign up for more info, or send a comment. It’s good that they’re providing more info. I still wish it was a freebie though. Maybe I’ll take my mandolin and start an illegal rave down at the other end of the heath…


Filed under blackheath, events

16 responses to “The Blackheath Festival organisers

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention The Blackheath Festival organisers | The Blackheath Bugle --

  2. Dr Nick

    Interesting. I don’t think it’s very balanced (more of a puff piece!) but then that’s what interviews are, so no tears here.

    I’m not a member of the Blackheath Society, mainly because I don’t agree with some of their activities. However, there’s been some unwarranted insults of them in various comments on NIMBY-festival postings (particularly the ageist ones, which are inexcusable).

    Perhaps Bugle could interview some of them by way of balance?

    FWIW, I think BSoc’s main contentions aren’t actually around stopping people having fun. It’s more about the management, and in particular, transport arrangements. (One aspect of the management planning is whether local – Lewisham – taxpayers will end up footing the policing bill. Anyone who goes on about “money into local businesses” is only looking at one side of the equation).

    Nice to finally see these people’s faces though. The question I’d have asked though is: “Why have you approached this whole thing in such a cloak-and-dagger way?”

    If they’d engaged in the beginning with the various (now-)nay-sayers, they might have been able to get to a compromise which would have guaranteed (or at least maximised) success.

    • I assume that its my comments that you think are ageist?

      As I have said, I think that the Blackheath Society does do some good work. But I think it is fair comment to say that whenever I have visited their offices or had dealings with them I have never seen a person younger than 60 in any connection with the Society. Most are a great deal older. (I’m sure there must be a few younger, but I have never met them.) I think the age of the people running the Society is quite likely a contributing factor to their objections to it. Especially as they did not ballot their members on if the gig should be opposed or not.

  3. It’s an excellent feature over at 853. Good to see that they are local folks doing the organising. A great shame that the Blackheath Society has had the knee-jerk reaction to spend their money opposing the gig. I’ve been a member of the Blackheath Society for a decade and they did not consult their members or offer a vote on the issue of IF they should oppose the gigs. They assumed that everyone would be against it as they are. Sad. I hope it goes ahead anyway.

  4. John

    I think it’s a great idea . If all the worst case scenarios happen (v unlikely) then simply will not be another event .

  5. scared of chives

    @ Dr Nick Do you honestly think transport will be a problem? There’s Blackheath/Lewisham/Greenwich stations. The river boats, the DLR, myriad buses, people can walk – it’s the summer. How do the 1000s of runners – and their suppoters – make it to Blackheath for the marathon?

    There are talented, hard-working people quite capable of planning and managing an event like this – they happen all the time – in cities, in the countryside, every year.

    The Blackheath Society, instead of looking at the positives, have jumped in scaremongering. Little Britain’s sketch of two ladies vomiting at the sight of two Asian children at the village fete probably isn’t far off.

    I sincerely hope their bid fails. I will be a great thing for the area.

    • Dr Nick

      Yes, I think transport could be a major problem. Don’t forget that the marathon runners turn up often in special coaches and specially time-timetabled trains/DLRs, stay in hotels and with friends across London the night before, and it requires mammoth logistical planning!
      Now take about the same number of people without the same single-mindedness, same level of (very costly) train/DLR co-operation, add alcohol and make it finish late at night and I do think it’ll be a problem.
      Have you ever been to an urban music festival? Hyde Park does OK, but Wembley struggles, and it’s designed for those kind of events.
      Remember, there’s 1 nearby station, and 1 main road. I’ve seen the A2 at a standstill on the odd occasion. (Sun-Mon, morning and evening).
      I’d support it if SlothEastern would put back the 50% of rush-hour services they cut though…

      • I really don’t think that there’s a lack of transport in this area. And maybe some bright spark will put on ‘special coaches’ for punters from Kent or similar as they do the for runners?

  6. scared of chives

    There were 35,000+ runners last year (not including supporters) who may have made up another 5,000(?). I think the festival has 25,000.

    Wembley struggles because the roads around it get closed and most people head for the tube.

    With Blackheath – people can go to Lewisham (trains), down to Greenwich (for the boats/DLR), east towards Charlton/Woolwich (trains/DLR). Clearly some roads will be closed but that’s the small price you pay.

    Man…the Olympics means most of Greenwich Park is out of bounds to people for weeks. That’s worth complaining about.

  7. Dan

    It’s worth considering that not everyone who attends a festival turns up at the same time, so the influx of people will be spread out through the day, unlike the marathon where everyone needs to be there for roughly the same time.

    The organisers have stated that they will be pointing people towards Lewisham station rather than Blackheath. Also, there’s bound to be a lot of demand for tickets from people who live locally and won’t need to use public transport.

    • NickS

      Good points both.
      @scared of chives: my point is really the amount of logistical planning that goes in for the Marathon, i.e Lots! I imagine it’s every expensive and time-consuming. And it would need to be similar for the festival, which probably hasn’t been thought of terribly much, based on the £1 share capital company that’s currently doing the bidding.
      @Dan: you’re right on local (or local-ish) attendees, and I hadn’t thought about that too much – I can’t guess what the effect would be.
      @Dan (again): re the Lewisham station vs Blackheath station thing – that’s a Curate’s Egg. Although Lewisham is a much bigger hub (several mainlines, DLR, plus lotsa buses), it’s also further away, and there’s no short direct route. You either go up windy narrow streets (Eliot Hill), narrow main-ish roads (Belmont Hill then through the Village) or right out to the A2 then up the big hill past 4 lanes of heavy traffic.
      Obviously, it’s all do-able, but there *will* be people in wheelchairs, children in pushchairs, and others needing better access. Those hills are big when you’re pushing other people.

      Let’s face it, the reason Blackheath has retained a nice villagey character for so long is ‘cos it’s so blooming difficult to get in and out of!

      Compared with the fireworks, of course, 25,000 is low (fireworks was reported as circa 100,000 this year). Don’t forget that all the adjoining roads are closed for about 6 hours, buses diverted, pubs/cafes/restaurants… completely overwhelmed, and it only lasts for an hour.

      Oh, and loads of people park in my road and sometimes even on our lawns. And occasionally knock big concrete bollards over (hehe – and sneak off with a red face and a very bent car). That’s all *with* the extensive police controls, too.

      Not everyone in Blackheath will be at the festival, but they’ll all be affected by it. And they won’t generally get any kind of enjoyment or compensation/pay-back.

      There will be more local residents inconvenienced and not attending than will be attending. It’s not just one or two rich/privileged/elderly people. Just because twenty people have shown their support on here, doesn’t actually prove there’s universal approval. (I accept that works both ways too).

      So – here’s my suggestion: the festival goes ahead as a means of financing the permanent full retention of our library. That way, it *does* benefit lots of people, and we can also be sure it’s not just cynical exploitation.

  8. Olly Knight

    Secretly filmed footage from inside the Blackheath Society’s last meeting.

  9. Ed

    The festival organiser’s have just released this promo video

  10. The so called “Blackheath Society” actually represents a minority, and particular demographic. Conduct a door to door survey of ALL residents, think you’ll find and overwhelming YES! in favour to go ahead.

    Will put Blackheath on the map, bring new visitors, home buyers, tourists, commerce, energy…

    Oh and who knows could be a great way to spend a weekend on your doorstep.

    • Anonymous

      I don’t want people spending a weekend on my doorstep. But if you are volunteering to have them on yours, then go for it!

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