Nothing compares to Grace Jones and her hoola hoop; but dancing in a field with other shiny, happy Londoners to the legendary Madness isn’t a bad way to spend a Sunday evening.
Suggs and co were on top form, headlining On Blackheath last weekend, taking us all on a rollick down memory lane as they filled the common with hits like Our House and Wings of a Dove.
The second On Blackheath family friendly festival also saw Kelis, Laura Mvula, Seun Kuti on stage, along with chef demos and banquet, kids zone, alternative music stages and DJ tents.
Sadly we couldn’t make Saturday’s line-up starring Elbow, Manic Street Preachers, Anna Calvi and Jack Savoretti. And it was disappointing to arrive at the tail end of Laura Mvula’s performance (she was spellbinding at Camp Bestival last year). But we still packed plenty of fun into our Sunday outing.
On Blackheath has such a warm and up-for-it vibe — I kept stopping to ‘whine it up’ with strangers to David Rodigan’s set. One of the best ideas the babes had was to bring a football that kept them busy between acts, passing and dribbling through the crowds. ‘I nutmegged a policeman,’ Ezra told me later.
While the boys played footie, I could relax with a drink and people watch. It was great to see so many hula hoopers getting their whirl on to a bumping Prince soundtrack. And I absolutely loved the Lindy hoppers and jive bunnies from Swing Patrol — sign me up!
My favourite act was a heavily pregnant, utterly glowing Kelis who impressed us with her vocal range and cracked us up with her stage banter.
Her reworking of Milkshake with live backing band had everybody and their grandpa shaking what our mamas gave us.
It’s such a joy having this festival in the heart of east London and although it’s a wee schlep from N1, it’s certainly worth the ride. We took the long way to Greenwich just so we could board the Emirates cable car (more on this in another post).
What really sent us flying at On Blackheath was Gilles Peterson’s world music DJ session. He took us on a journey from Afrobeats to French disco house in an effortless set that got me and the babes doing a mock dance floor battle, before heading home to bed. Good times.
Thanks again to On Blackheath festival for inviting us to cover** another brilliant event, we can’t wait to see what’s in store for 2016!
Visit www.onblackheath.com and sign up to be the first to learn about early bird tickets for next year