Squeeze and Paloma Faith to headline as ONBlackheath festival returns

Music and food lovers are set to descend on the big end-of-summer party, ONBlackheath, when it returns with a stellar line-up of stars on September 8 and 9.
On Blackheath Festival, Bristol. 2017. Credit: paulbox© framedogsOn Blackheath Festival, Bristol. 2017. Credit: paulbox© framedogs
On Blackheath Festival, Bristol. 2017. Credit: paulbox© framedogs

The huge two-day event will take place on the beautiful green spaces of Blackheath, close to Greenwich.

South London’s own living legends Squeeze will headline Saturday, with Platinum-selling British artist and fellow Londoner Paloma Faith top of the bill for Sunday. Billy Bragg, The Divine Comedy, Corinne Bailey Rae, Lightning Seeds, De La Soul, Craig Charles Funk and Soul and Huey Morgan are just some of the acts announced in the first round of confirmed artists.

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Gordon Mac, founder of Kiss FM and the man behind Mi-Soul Radio, the home of soul, R&B, reggae, drum n’ bass and funk, is putting together a cracking line up for Stage Three at ONBlackheath, with Jumping Jack Frost, Paul Trouble Anderson, Ronnie Herel, Terry Jones, Brandon Block, Matt White and Bob Masters just a few of the artists who will keep the grooves going across the weekend with MCs Shaq D and Craig Williams presiding.

Stage Three will also be home to the Soulhouse Music Review featuring, among others, Michelle John, Vanessa Freeman and Hill Street Soul.

And if that wasn’t enough, Farringdon’s hottest nightspot and London’s only non-stop music venue, The Piano Works, will be bringing their unique style of music to Stage Four at ONBlackheath, meaning there will be non-stop requests on offer all weekend.

Squeeze brought the house down when playing the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in 2016, and OnBlackheath offers the chance to see these British icons in their home city as they make a welcome return to an event they played that same year.

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When Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook formed the band in 1973 just a short distance from Blackheath in Deptford, it sparked a career which has produced 16 albums, fame on both sides of The Atlantic and instantly recognisable songs like Cool For Cats, Up The Junction and Labelled With Love.

Some of the best and most enduring songwriters to take the sound of London to the rest of the world, Squeeze’s ability to charm a crowd is still strong and their ONBlackheath appearance is set to be a superb homecoming gig.

With her acclaimed No 1 album The Architect one of the best-selling albums of 2017 and a BRIT nomination for Best Female Artist, Paloma Faith is embarking on a huge UK tour, culminating in her appearance on the Main Stage at ONBlackheath.

The Architect showed the full range of her talent, with singles Crybaby, Guilty and ‘Til I’m Done joining her impressive list of hits which include Picking Up the Pieces, Never Tear Us Apart and Only Love Can Hurt Like This. With a voice capable of the sort of soulful power which deserves the biggest of stages and the ability to write hit after hit, her Sunday set will be the perfect soundtrack to a late summer London evening.

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Preparing the way for Squeeze’s headline set on Saturday will be The Divine Comedy and Billy Bragg, with plenty more artists to be announced. Few can match the longevity of Neil Hannon’s songwriting. Since The Divine Comedy burst into the mainstream in the 1990s heyday of Britpop, his lyrical genius and talent for crafting infectious melodies like National Express, Generation Sex and Something For the Weekend and have resulted in 11 albums, including 2016’s welcome return Foreverland.

Britain’s finest political singer-songwriter Billy Bragg left the army in 1981 to follow his passion for making music, and we’ve been all the better for it as a country. He’s not only kept the rebellious spirit of British music, forged in the punk days of the late 1970s, alive with his firebrand lyrics but has proved plenty of times he can create a pop anthem with songs like Sexuality and Waiting for the Great Leap Forward.

The strong line-up theme continues into Sunday at ONBlackheath 2018 with De La Soul, Corinne Bailey Rae, The Lightning Seeds and London Astrobeat Orchestra entertaining the crowds ahead of Paloma Faith. De La Soul remain hip hop royalty, nearly 30 years after 1989’s hugely important debut 3 Feet High and Rising. Still revered by their peers and the industry as one of the pillars of a genre which has seen many bands come and go, they remain a live force to be reckoned with.

There are few summer anthems to match Corinne Bailey Rae’s Put Your Records On, from her self- title debut album. Since her smooth vocals and epic music propelled her to international fame, she’s received two Grammy Awards, two MOBO honours and written film soundtracks and collaborated with some of the best in the business including Al Green, Mary J Blige and Paul McCartney.

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Liverpool’s indie pop pioneers Lightning Seeds possess that rare ability to capture the feeling of long summer nights and distil it into music, with songs like Life of Riley, Sense and Pure establishing them as the friendly face of British music in the early 1990s. Having enjoyed a No 1 hit with their Euro 96 anthem Three Lions and seen their music used widely in TV soundtracks, this is a band who still bring plenty to their regular festival appearances.

Combining the finest West African musicians on the planet with one of the most critically acclaimed bands of the 20 th Century, the London Astrobeat Orchestra will bring their unique interpretation of the music of Talking Heads to OnBlackheath. Talking Heads’ music was rich with afrobeat rhythms, and tracks from cult releases such as Remain In The Light and Speaking In Tongues will be recreated by this hugely talented ensemble.

Away from the Main Stage, ONBlackheath’s Stage Two will be the place to see some of the best festival DJs in the land and crowd-pleasing acts.

Huey Morgan, frontman of Fun Lovin’ Criminals, has done more than most to champion funk music that makes you move on his award-winning BBC 6 Music show, and has taken his ability to put together a storming setlist into his now legendary DJ sets.

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Along with Huey, Craig Charles will return to ONBlackheath with his Funk and Soul experience, a live experience that has helped shake the earth at festivals across the UK and Europe. This is a man who knows how to put the fun in funk.

Jazz-funk specialists James Taylor Quartet are rightly famous for their foot-stomping, dance floor- shaking live performances. Expect to get drawn in by their impossible-to-resist grooves.

Putting a smile on everybody’s faces will be The Mariachis, the Mexican musical magicians who take pop classics and add a heavy dose of Latino love. If you’ve not yet heard their version of Bon Jovi’s Livin’ On a Prayer or Human League’s Don’t You Want Me Baby then you haven’t lived.

Steve Davis rose to fame with a snooker cue in his hand, winning multiple titles, but now stands at the decks with collaborator Kavus Torabi, a partnership that intrigued and then delighted festival audiences, including at Glastonbury last year.

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Firmly established as the event which brings the London summer to a joyful close, ONBlackheath has previously welcomed some of the biggest names in British music including The Libertines, Massive Attack, Manic Street Preachers, Travis, Primal Scream, Elbow, Grace Jones and Madness, all of whom have played to tens of thousands of fans in one of South London’s most beautiful green spaces.

It’s not just about music either, ONBlackheath offers festival goers a weekend of great street food and family entertainment. There’s plenty more news to come as the summer builds towards the festival weekend!

If you would like to keep up with the latest information on the festival, follow @ONBlackheath on Twitter and @ONBlackheathFestival on Facebook and Instagram, or visit the website www.onblackheath.com