OnBlackheath festival sees numerous complaints from punters

Thanks for the image from memoirsofametrogirl blog

OnBlackheath festival has seen some scathing reviews across social media after apparent changes were made for this year’s event.

Queues for food and drink were extremely long – even by festival standards. Long queues seem the norm at UK festivals compared to those in the continent. However, even by those low standards seasoned festivals goers were complaining of waits up to 90 minutes a time.

And compounding the issue, many stalls ran out of food and drink early in the day.

Other complaints include not being able to leave the site as allowed previously. It appears that rule was then overturned as food and drink ran out.

Much of the site has this year been given over to a funfair meaning music stages have been apparently been squeezed into a compact area. It didn’t go down well.

This all seems a great shame. Many other corners of London have long enjoyed great live music events and festivals on their doorstep. SE London lacked similar for many years until OnBlackheath. I recall having to travel for hours to Victoria Park, Hyde Park, Gunnersbury Park and more (some before Woolwich DLR opened and made things easier) and would have killed for something local.

On the flipside there are some on social media praising the event. Did you go? Was the criticism overblown or was it really that bad?


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    8 thoughts on “OnBlackheath festival sees numerous complaints from punters

    • Criticism factual, not overblown – much worse than previous years – I’ve gone every year since it started. Music still great but sad that’s it’s being overshadowed by the rest.

    • It was a shambles. Poor quality. Huge queues. Felt like a downmarket playground/funfair Unbelievably expensive. Food ran out. Lack of choice on drinks. Took two hours to be served food and by that time they had run out of what we wanted.

      They have ruined this event

    • Overzealous security at the entrance – they were making women empty out perfume and contraceptive pills from their handbags, and were not allowed to take them in.

      Food queue for me was 90mins which soured the atmosphere. Especially when the card reader stopped working meaning even longer waiting times.

      The drinks servers insisted on opening every can of lager bought, which meant you couldn’t buy a few at a time and keep them in your bag for later, which of course meant more queuing throughout the day.

      The tickets were expensive for what the festival provided.

    • I have queued in some hideous queues at festivals and these definitely were some of the worst. However this irritation was compounded by the following issues:

      1. When you got to the front of the bar, the drinks were such poor quality in comparison to past years. What happened to Meantime? The only cider they had was strongbow! They ran out of cider entirely by about 7pm. A double rum and coke was £10….

      2. They removed one of the usual 3 stages down to 2 stages to replace it with the funfair rides. I have nothing against the rides, it is a family orientated festival after all but you are literally getting less music for the same expensive ticket price.

      3. I am a very local resident. I actually can’t hear my tv properly whilst the festival is on because of the noise. In the past we have been provided free tickets or at the very least a residents discount. This year we received nothing. This feels rather discourteous considering how much it affects us. Maybe next year we will just plan to be away for the entire weekend!

      All in all, we had fun still but it’s definitely lost some of its charm and uniqueness as a festival. I hope they take on board the criticisms they are receiving and make some changes for next years instalment.

    • Saturday was a nightmare. They didn’t introduce any acts, I queued for over an hour for drinks and food. I went last year and it was fine queue for 15 minutes. I wished I known that I could leave and come back to get food.
      Hopefully they will listen to the comments and improve for next year.

    • It was a shambles. The funfair was unnecessary and I think that’s what made the main stage very squashed. To be honest the sound wasn’t up to much either. I’ve been for the last 5 years and this time I didn’t even bother going on Sunday it was that unpleasant. It was organised by Festival Republic this year. Just take a look at reviews of their Finsbury Park gigs in 2018 (Queens of the Stone Age and Liam Gallagher) – exactly the same complaints, I was at the QOTSA gig. I would never attend an event they organise again. An absolute insult.

    • Personally, I didn’t go to On Blackheath to get drunk or stoned but I had to put up with plenty of people who were!

      I got something to eat outside the venue so I didn’t have to pay the exuberant prices inside – that said I don’t know if the prices were much different to Hide Park BST this year?

      I do think however, if you want to ‘pat yourself on the back’ for being the best family orientated event you shouldn’t be charging an average of £10 per meal or £2.50 for a can of Coke!

      As an avid live music fan this has been the greatest line up of artists originating from London I have seen:

      Incognito, Jamiroquai, Brand New Heavies, MF Robots, Morcheeba, Soul 2 Soul, Aswad, Jacob Collier and last but not least, new soul sensation Laville!

      Main stage acts also included UB40, Grace Jones and Brighton’s finest: Rag ‘n’ Bone Man & Yakul (on stage 2) and Swing Out Sister – all for a £75 weekend ticket – absolutely priceless!

      My main criticism was the lack of accurate stage times made available, in advance, on the On Blackheath website – which allowed them to charge £5 for a stage times lanyard, the blow-up sacks that should not have been allowed in the main stage areas – and were quite frankly dangerous as It got dark with people tripping over them and finally the fact that no one actively handed out ear defenders to children as the came through the main gates with their parents!

    • Overpriced and pretentious is how Blackheath is best described most of the year when it is freely accessible. Why anyone would buy tickets to a fenced off celebration of that fact is beyond me.


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