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OnBlackheath festival review: child friendly fun in East London

The Young Londoner team spent the weekend raving it up at ONBlackheath festival where we enjoyed child friendly fun and good tunes in the July sunshine.

ONBlackheath had the ingredients for a perfect festival cocktail at the ready: a great musical line-up, loads of child friendly activities and a July date with promises of warm weather. Add to that sprinklings of glitter and loads of bubbles and hey presto the little ones are whey on their way to staying entertained.

The Family Playground was exactly what you would expect AND more with loads of different areas to keep the children occupied with child friendly shows, crafts, circus acts, games and activities.

At the entrance of the family playground there is the Bubble Inc stall and there’s lots and lots of bubbles; large, tiny, bubbles with smoke inside them, bubbles that are blue, green or purple – every king of bubble imaginable can be found, played with (and of course purchased!).

Once inside, we were welcomed by the Children’s Stage, which had shows throughout the day with the main attraction (for us) remaining the explosive Science Museum experiments followed by Andy and the Odd Socks on the Saturday. There was also Mister Maker (which was on during the brief shower on the Sunday!) and lots of other shows that we were too busy to see.

As we moved around we came across the crafting teepee. Surrounded by interesting (and highly instagrammable) artworks, we sat inside and tried to make a flower (the toddlers enjoyed playing with the scissors and the ribbon!)

Next up the pottery tent where we wanted to make a sculpture. Perhaps an elephant, a butterfly or some sort of woodland creatures? But no! The toddler loves abstract and we spent a good hour creating the masterpiece above. 

The Flying Seagull Project were simply amazing. For the Circus skills we learnt to walk on stilts, dressed up as clowns, attempted to juggle and looked a little like a dolphins out of water when trying to use the hoola hoops. We danced like pirates to hard rock music, jumped on and off the stage, sung into the microphone and giggled at the Kids Comedy show. Parents also got involved in a dance-off and disappointingly our party didn’t win.

After a rest and a couple of over-priced ice creams (£4 for a 99 cone) and we were ready for more toddling. We played lots of outdoor games (pac man went over the toddler’s heads but they enjoyed Space Invaders, and knocking down bricks with a ping pong ball) and we followed this with yet more crafting.

The outdoor soft play area kept us entertained as we bounced on the ground, fell down and jumped and jumped around. 

We love long summer afternoons outdoors and the line-up of child friendly activities at ONBlackheath kept the little ones happy. The music line-up was also something to shout about. Jamiroquai headlined on the Saturday and it didn’t disappoint (plus it was an exclusive UK performance!) and the crowd – including us – loved him.

On Sunday we saw Morcheeba, with Skye Edwards giving a stellar performance (plus our toddlers were playing with her family after the performance which meant we got to meet her and get a fan pic!), UB40 featuring Ali Campbell & Astro brought out all the reggae classic tunes and got us and the toddlers breaking some moves on the dance floor.

Rag and Bone Man followed with a surprise performance from Professor Green and unfortunately we didn’t make it for Grace Jones as we had two very tired toddlers after the day’s activities. We thoroughly enjoyed the festival over the two days, especially as it is on our doorstep and we can take the kids along combining adult entertainment with child friendly fun. We were very much impressed at how friendly the crowd was (people didn’t mind the tots exploring and adventuring everywhere!) 

Sure the queues were a little long when it came to buying food, and yes some of the items were overpriced (and the alcohol ran out pretty early on Saturday!). But it’s the same at most festivals these days. The kids had fun – and we loved being out in the sun listening to good music and jiving alongside them. In fact we have already decided to make it a tradition and attend each year.

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