Family travel, London days out

5 things we loved about On Blackheath festival

Earlier in the month we trotted off from West London to South East London, to the On Blackheath festival. We were given free family press passes by good old John Lewis, who sponsor the festival – thanks John Lewis. 

Here are the top 5 things we liked about the festival. But first, as with all my posts, a bit of a personal ramble….As you know if you read my blog we are festival fans, but really only go to one festival – One World Camp, where we camp for a week and I teach improv, and my partner directs the camp panto.

Back in the days of BC (before children)I went to lots more festivals, particularly in my wild sixth form days when I should have been studying but was discovering drinking and music instead. I saw Nirvana at Reading, I saw Babes in Toyland at Glastonbury. I saw Iggy Pop at either Reading or Glastonbury, I can’t remember which.

But I’ve never taken my son to a music-based festival. I keep on meaning to buy tickets for Glastonbury, or head off to Camp Bestival – but never get my act together (and balk at the cost of tickets…)

So all this is a bit of a preamble to say that therefore – when John Lewis got in touch to see if we’d like tickets to On Blackheath, and I saw that there would be lots of live music over three stages, plus lots of family friendly entertainment, I said yes!


Here’s the top 5 things we did there!


  1. Went down the Helter Skelter – twice

    On Blackheath Helter Skelter

    2. Spent £60 on two self-inflating Chill Sac Laybags

    Yes, let’s face it – the benefits of going to festivals as a grown up is that you now have expendable income to spend on frivolities like self-inflating sofas. When I first went to Reading festival I survived on cold tins of spicy kidney beans all weekend because I had zero funds. Now I’m spending £60 on indulgent lounge-y inflatable furniture.

    I had never seen self-inflating lounge-y sacs before, but apparently they are all the rage. The stall was doing a roaring trade, and we bought one in black and one in bright green – they are so easy to put up (with practice, there was a bit of a crowd gathering around us as a red faced Chiswick Daddy first tried to inflate one) and soooo comfortable, and fold up really small with a carrying bag and strap.

    I wanted to link to the website but it seems to have gone down. Maybe the owners have emigrated with all the money they made at the festival…!

3. Saw the fantastic Kate Tempest

(Photo credit: On Blackheath festival)

What I really wanted to get out of the day was expose Chiswick Boy to some live music, and the powerful poet-cum-rapper-cum-vocals of Kate Tempest were the highlight of the day. There was an F word, so that might not have gone down well with the afternoon family crowds, but I suppose it’s par for the course at a festival?

I was pleased that Chiswick Boy got to hear the great word play, poetry and proud passion of a young performer – and I hope it was inspirational.


4. Saw Lister from Red Dwarf spinning the decks

Okay, technically we saw Craig Charles spinning the decks. But we’ve been box setting Red Dwarf with Chiswick Boy so when I saw it was his favourite character Lister up on stage I couldn’t believe it!

And who knew that Craig Charles spun the decks? He did an amazing set – that had the crowd on their feet, including Chiswick Boy of course (not me – I was lazing in the sun on a chill sac!)


5. Ate great food

Okay, I’ve illustrated this point with a lolly – but they have to count as one of the food groups, right?

Trust me when I say that foodies will not be disappointed at this festival. There was every kind of food imaginable – I had a great veggie wrap, and Chiswick Boy and Chiswick Daddy had lovely hot dogs. By which I mean proper sausages, and generous portions of onions (not for Chiswick Boy – what is it about kids and onions? They will have them in pasta but hate the look of them in hot dogs. Whereas I love them any time, any place…but I digress.)

One of the best things about the food is that prices were reasonable. Much cheaper than at food festivals (in my experience anyway).

And if you wanted the full on foodie experience you could also head to the foodie section for cooking demos, talks and more.


So there are the top 5 things we loved about On Blackheath – a proper festival feeling, but in London.

Thanks to John Lewis for sending my family and me there!

For the purposes of doubt, we were given free family passes to On Blackheath. Rambling thoughts, words and images (apart from the Kate Tempest photo) are my own: you wouldn’t want it any other way and nor would I. 









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