Thamesmead Festival: Outrageously Fun Party In South London This August

Will Noble
By Will Noble Last edited 8 months ago

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Thamesmead Festival: Outrageously Fun Party In South London This August
Thamesmead Festival 2023: Two women dance in the afternoon sun at a fete in front of the brutalist towers of Thamesmead
A riot of colour and hijinks comes to Thamesmead this August.

In the summer of 1971, the first Thamesmead Town Festival took place, featuring a 'throw the sponge at the vicar' stall. That particular stall's long gone, but the festival remains — celebrating its 51st anniversary on 12 August 2023.

These days, the Thamesmead Festival is a riot of colour, expressing the artistic roots — and great diversity — of the south east London town's inhabitants.

Four stages pitch up at Southmere Park on Saturday 12 August — showcasing an eclectic mix of hip-hop, R&B, rap, indie, dance, spoken word and fitness classes:

  • Park Stage: Acts include House Gospel Choir, singing club anthems and gospel classics; the retro stylings of Logan J Parker; and UNCSS, bringing the Afro-infused energy.
  • Unplugged Stage: Set in a wooded grove at the top of the hill, this is where to chill out to acoustic sets from folk-pop singer-songwriter Sam Winston, and the poetry of local Andrew Livingstone-Boyd.
  • Southmere Stage: Where all the best dance is kicking off, feat. Utopia Cheer's competitive cheerleading; Thamesmead-born TikTok dance sensation Dancer Ras; and Dynamix with Afrobeat and street dance.
  • Wanderlust Hill Stage: New for 2023, this stage is programmed and co-produced by local youth collective The South East Way, and uses an Alice in Wonderland theme to reflect 'the magic behind the concrete'.
Thamesmead Festival 2023: a parade of people in fantastical fancy dress
The Thamesmead community prides itself on its artistic roots

Elsewhere, there's a scattering of community stalls (including Crossness River Action Group, UK Latin Community and Greenwich Domestic Abuse Service), free workshops for kids, and lashings of locally-made food and drink to fuel your free day of fun.

Thamesmead Festival 2023:  an explosion of red ticker tape with people celebrating beneath
Looks fun, no?

No excuses, then, not to make a day of it — getting to know the vivacious side of an overlooked and often misunderstood part of London.

Thamesmead Festival 2023: Two swans on a mural painted onto a brick wall
Look our for six new murals

Oh, and while you're in the area, look out for six new murals — slathered everywhere on lift shafts, tower vents and garage doors. The commissions — mainly by women — take their cue from Thamesmead itself, from its urban environment to its majestic swans.

Thamesmead Festival is at Southmere Park, Thamesmead on Saturday 12 August, 12pm-7pm. Entry is free. It's a 15-minute walk from Abbey Wood station.

Last Updated 02 August 2023

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