Fact: in London you’re never more than three metres away from an new boutique music festival. It’s a crowded field (pun definitely intended), but OnBlackheath has managed to carve out a niche as a relaxed weekender that mixes up music, food and family fun. It’s back for a third year in September and we’ve got an exclusive first look at the line-up.
Saturday’s bill includes Primal Scream, Hot Chip, Roisín Murphy and Lonelady. On Sunday it’s time for local boys-done-good Squeeze (see our interview below), James and Belle & Sebastian. The festival’s edgy second stage is booked by Heavenly Records and NTS Radio so it’ll be a cracker. Away from the music there’ll be foodie antics and cool new kids’ areas. So trust us: once you go Blackheath, you never go backheath.
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Squeeze on playing Blackheath and socking it to Cameron
Squeeze © Rob O'Connor
Founded in Deptford in the 1970s by Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook, Squeeze are one of the quintessential London bands. We asked Difford how it’ll feel for the group to bring their kitchen-sink pop hits – ‘Up the Junction’, ‘Cool for Cats’ and the rest – home to south-east London when they play OnBlackheath festival in September.
How does it feel to be gigging on your old stomping ground?
‘It’s wonderful to be able to walk to work. It’s literally a two-minute walk. And we haven’t played on Blackheath Common since 1988.’
What was the occasion then?
‘It was a one-off – a Labour party thing [against the poll tax]. Tony Benn and a few other people spoke, and there was some music.’
When you did ‘The Andrew Marr Show’ recently, Glenn Tilbrook changed his lyrics to attack Tory housing policy in front of David Cameron. Did you know beforehand?
‘He had a glint in his eye like something was going to happen, and he was on his iPad for quite some time before we went on. I wasn’t 100 percent on board, but that’s the way we are. It was just a genius moment, really. He did it much better than I could ever have done it.’
What was your instant reaction?
‘I went boss-eyed. I wasn’t sure what to make of it. Then I thought: Well, there goes the knighthood.’