Blackheath music festival approved

New music festival 'On Blackheath' will go ahead next year after an appeal by the Blackheath Society was thrown out by Bromley magistrates.

The promoters tempted fate by calling their company Nimby, but a festival on the heath - which after all recently swallowed a Climate Camp whole without anyone noticing and which regularly hosts depressing fun fairs and an entire marathon - has the potential to be fantastic.


Bromley magistrates dismissed the appeal brought by the Blackheath Society against Lewisham Council, which granted a 10-year licence to Nimby Events Ltd last year.

The society now faces an £80,000 legal bill following the seven day hearing, the longest appeal ever heard under current licensing laws.

This year’s festival, due to attract 50,000 people over two days, was abandoned because of the lengthy court case, but organisers are now planning to hold the first On Blackheath festival in September 2012.

853 also notes that Lewisham Council got a telling off for failing to consult properly in the first place.

53 comments:

Charlie said...

A festival on Blackheath? We may laugh but wait til Nimby Ltd suggests the same for Hilly Fields. What a nightmare.

Brockley Nick said...

Rubbish. We had a free music festival on Hilly Fields and everyone loved it - it was called the Brockley MAX.

Not to mention, Blackheath is many times the size.

Charlie said...

A festival with people kipping on the heath in tents is not quite the same thing. Nick.

Anonymous said...

Heaven forbid that there should be live entertainment on public space. Bring. It. On.

Lizzie said...

Both sound good to me - and I live just round the corner from Hilly Fields Charlie. :-)

Brockley Nick said...

Charlie, there's no camping involved with this festival.

Brockley First said...

Blackheath ain't Brockley.

Anonymous said...

Whats the big deal, blackheath is huge and what is a few days once a year? Live music has been on blackheath before. I saw Courteny Pine there years and years ago! Come on guys - when will people realise we live in a society that isn't all about tories, families and middle aged fuddy duddies!

Lou Baker said...

Great news - so long as consideration is shown to local residents.

Max will be disappointed though.

He think fun is only fun if it's state organised and subsidised.

Anonymous said...

You find fairs depressing Nick? What is it, the smiles on peoples faces or the honesty of the fare? (Or indeed fair?)

max said...

Lou, I'm not disappointed by either the Festival or by you, the master of logic-defying conclusions.

Doesn't object to people's day equals must object to private initiative.
You skipped that day at year two?

local yokel said...

so is it true or is it urban legend that the victims of the bubonic plague are buried in blackheath?

Anonymous said...

Brockley Max is a mere speck of a festival compared to other neighbouring parks...more like a gathering so the 'organisers' can tick another box in their life goals. Complete rubbish this year as with every other year so far!

Howson Road said...

Blackheath is just a boring, empty heath the rest of the time...would be glad to have it used to host a music festival for two days of the year!

Mb said...

Anon @00:04. Rubbish, last year the max on hilly fields was fantastic. Just the organisers went? There were at least hundreds there at any one time. It had local acts, the words "community" is over used but it can be attached to that with plenty of justification.

kolp said...

But this is the issue so called boring, can be a welcome relief, for the hyper hectic lifestyle in London. I don't see anything wrong in having a green space just be a green space sometimes no flats, festivals, parks or pop up resturants.

Anonymous said...

Cant see why they were complaining about it,the shops in Blackheath will make a fortune.

Mb said...

What problem? We live in London, it's a world city with a variety of people who like a variety of things. Blackheath is quiet most of the year, this an alternative for a short period of time for people who want something different. I'm not a fan of marching bands, flower shows, dog shows, etc, etc, but I'm glad they are happening. Vibrancy and a spot of chaos. it's why I live here as opposed to some anonymous new town in surrey.

Anonymous said...

So glib.

Brockley Nick said...

There is of course a happy medium that needs to be struck - Blackheath's vast emptiness is delightful, but likewise, so are many of the things that it should host. I'd hate to see it used for events all the time, but it's also a resource for fun and entertainment.

If it's really such a problem to spoil the isolation of the heath, then it would be better to campaign to reduce the number of fun fairs it holds - about three a year it seems - covering the heath with lorries and cars for days at a time.

Anonymous said...

Nick could you clarify why "it should" host events?

Anonymous said...

i have heard the 'organisers'are an ex school teacher and a sports marketer that know nothing about music or running events. not to mention the fact that where they are putting the arena is quite possibly the worst place on the heath for residential disruption. im all for a festival up there but only if its done by people who know what they are doing, otherwise it will be a complete shambles...

Brockley Nick said...

According to 853, they organised Blur in Hyde Park.

Other anon, it "should" because it's a communal resuorce and a very many people like that sort of thing and their interests "should" be accommodted. It will be a nice, fun thing for lots of people. Our parks and green spaces are leisure spaces.

Anonymous said...

Well they must have put together a good plan or it wouldn't have been accepted.

Mb said...

To one of the various anons, why "shouldn't" it? It's an outdoor space for use by everyone (that's "everyone"). Not sure why you think this is so damaging, a damn site less disruptive than the marathon.

mk said...

So does anyone know what kind of bands they're likely to book for this festival? Are we talking Take That or Tuneyards here?

Guy Fawkes said...

The amount of people who go up on firework night doesn't do that much damage.

Anonymous said...

I am delighted.

Perhaps the legal costs faced by the Blackheath Society will give some of the other nimbies round here cause to pause before they trash any and every local public realm proposal in this area.

(Seriously, can anyone think of a single recent scheme round here, of any significance, that has not been slagged off by the usual suspects?)

Let's see if their wallets can pay for the costs their mouths have rung up.

darryl said...

The line-up would be comparable to Latitude, the organisers said earlier this year.

Charlie said...

Actually I did come in a bit hard on this. I did think it was a form of Glastonbury style festival on Blackheath with tents and hippies & things given The Blackheath Societys vociferous concerns but the event sounds a lot more low key.

So given the enthusiasm shown in this thread maybe Hilly Fields should prepare itself to host a commercially organised festival.

Loads of people are trying to make money out of Hilly Fields already be it, fitness classes, cafes, etc.

I like this bit from the guys behind On Blackheath: "We’ve always seen the heath as an opportunity" so maybe fields & heaths are the new financial frontier. Kerching

Mb said...

Charlie, where do you stand on Fun Fairs or a Circus (both make miney and have been for generations)? you're right. A large event every week throughout the Summer would be too much, but that can be restricted or are you anti just music?

Anonymous said...

Id rather music than a fun fair any day

kolp said...

I spent a lovely leisurely day with many others on Blackheath, picnicing, watching kite flyers & playing rounders.

It just goes to show people can have their own commercial free fun.

Anonymous said...

Kolp, excellent. What's your point? It's also quiet possible to enjoy yourself watching professional musicians outside on OUR heath as well.

Good eh?

Anonymous said...

A chance to wind up the naysayers and nimbys of this world whilst doing something people might actually enjoy? Bring it on.

Or we could just open yet another deli and sit here twitching our curtains until the end.

Which would you prefer?

kolp said...

The point is that Blackheath is used and loved as 'boring' as it supposedly is.

People have fun for FREE on Blackheath quite adequately already and without rubbing up the local residents with loads of noise or too much disruption and I noticed that a few of the picnicers had food from the local shops Costa, Starbucks and the Pizza Express.

Anonymous said...

Urban myth 'local yokel'! Bring it on, and I think Squeeze should headline the first Blackheath Festival

Bread and Circuses said...

Kolp, that's not really a point. No one is suggesting that its imposible to enjoy the heath without spending money. It is also possible that many locals, and indeed others, can enjoy other activities. It's a public space.

I almost got garroted by a soneone whizing along on those kite powered trolly things. Anoying but I accept that others have a different idea of what is fun and occasionally there is a clash. Again, we live in a diverse city of 7.5m. You need to be a little more accepting. A few local residents view is of course important but are not the only voice that is relevent.

Headhunter said...

I love the idea of a festival on Blackheath! It's big enough that there will still be quiet space somewhere, Blackheath is enormous, and in any case is criss crossed by main roads which would make it impossible for the festival to encompass the entire space. Parks all over London have festivals/concerts on them, Clapham Common, Hampstead Heath, Hyde Park and others. Why not Blackheath?

Brockley Ian said...

Blackheath is perfect for holding events like this.

Personally, I find Blackheath slightly bleak. I certainly wouldn't choose to picnic there over Greenwich park. There are too many roads to make a stress free environment with kids. If it wasn't for the 'things to do' I'd rarely go there. The circus was great last year, the fairs are obviously popular, the fireworks are amazing, I'm a regular at the Donkey rides at the weekend and you see hundreds training there each week.

If we're not going to use for this type if thing then what? Widen the road?

local yokel said...

Anon 23:14
Anonymous said...
Urban myth 'local yokel'!


I agree - bring it on -
but where did Blackheath get it's name then?

Monkeyboy said...

Wikipeadia says..

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackheath,_London

So according to that the name goes back to 1160. Also hoasted international rugby, as well as cricket and golf. A range of uses of varying annoyance to locals. The exploitative bastards.

local yokel said...

Monkeyboy

thanks for that
http://blackheathbugle.wordpress.com/2008/08/10/are-people-buried-beneath-blackheath/

kipper said...

I just think this is yet again about middle class pushiness. The same old, there aren't delis or waitroses, or pizza expresses etc. 'There SHOULD be activities for us on the heath. 'We don't like fun fairs.' cut those activities and put stuff for US. We want to have to exclusive pay upon entry so we can show our good taste.

bread & circuses said...

kipper....balls. A picnic on the heath could be twisted to describe middle class indulgence if you liked, that would be rubbish of course. Working class sons of toil pay to go to gigs whether outside or in. 'middle class pushiness' is a rather desperate argument.

You don't want the disruption on your doorstep, thats an understandable feeling...except it's no more 'yours' as any other park except that you are lucky enough to live by it. It's the penalty of living in the great, electric city. Be happy that for 40+ weeks of the year you can drink your slowly warming chardonay on the heath and rage against anyone else using the space for something different.

Try again.

Brockley Nick said...

@Kipper - that is truly twisted logic.

The story is about a group of middle class residents who tried to have Lewisham Council's decision to allow a music event that would be attended by a relatively diverse crowd of 50,000. That is the middle class pushiness if you want to make a tiresome class war out of it.

As for my use of "should", I said we should try to cater for as many different interests as possible. Lots of people want a music concert, we should try to accommodate that if possible. And as for the fun fairs, I'm not campaigning for them to be cut, merely making the point that if you're so concerned about keeping the heath as a pure wilderness, then cutting the number of fairs, which are on several times a year for 4-5 days at a time. But I don't mind, go to as many godawful fairs as you like, and as you fork out £4 for 30 second go on a ride that smells of puke you can congraulate yourself on being a man of the people. Except I bet you don't ever go to the funfair either.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, cos the middle classes are really starved of things to do in Blackheath at the moment Kipper. Have you ever been? Try the Pizza Express or one of the many delis.

Anonymous said...

I have never really understood people's issue with class on this site. People from all walks of life will want the festival just as those from all walks of life don't. Why do you have to bring it down to class all the time? There are more important issues to worry about than what views people from different classes have or if there are too many delis.

I am pleased that there is a festival going ahead, maybe it will bring people together on the heath who wouldn't normally meet. I also believe that people have the right to appeal if they wish - as long as they are not speaking on behalf of other people without their full support.

People should celebrate diversity in all forms. It seems to me they will all have a lot to learn from each other if some of the comments on this post and others on this site are anything to go by.

Looking forward to seeing you at the festival next year.

air guitar said...

Class is always brought up by some herbert who can barely explain what they are on about, let alone why class is of relevance to the topic at hand. It's best ignored.

Paddyom said...

There is always some Kipper on here who tries to stir up a divisive 'them n us' slant to threads on this blog, based on peoples earnings.

I am sure not all rich people think the same way and share opinions, and likewise not all lower-earners are for or against the same things. So Kipper why suggest they do? Everyone has their own opinion as individuals.

Looking down on people for earning more than you and implying they should feel guilty for it is jealousy plain and simple - you inverted snob.

Anonymous said...

I remember on of the Nimby guys behind this festival putting on bands when I was at Goldsmiths. I heard he went on to work in the music industry so will hopefully know a bit about this sort of stuff. Nice to see he's still a local at heart too.

Charlie said...

Where do I stand on Fun Fairs or a Circus? Preferably at the front o stalls to get a good view. I love the circus!

paulie said...

I think you should be aware that this is not a camping event, so disruption will be at a minimum. It is a two day, separate concert each day.

There is no panic on people turning up to camp, it just isn't like that - see Finsbury Park and Victoria parks for example.
It is also worth noting there are not enough bands to go round the existing festivals so it will be a brave man to think there is two headline acts out there.

As regards Hillyfields if there was an outdoor show it would be in the 5000 capacity region, because of the public transport or lack of.

Bands will always play where the money is, and 5000, or even 25,000 sometimes is not enough.

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