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 50th anniversary on 14 August.
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.
Three stages will feature at Southmere Park on Saturday 14 August — showcasing an eclectic mix of hip-hop, R&B, rap, indie, dance, spoken word, fitness classes — and even laughing yoga.
Appearances from local acts include Thamesmead Community Gospel Choir, rapper and singer Jae Juelz, actor and writer Kwame Augustine, and young street dance group Dynamixx.
As well as on stage events, there's a carnival procession weaving its way through Thamesmead's streets led by Kinetika Bloco; a 24-metre long artwork — The Thamesmead Codex — by Bob and Roberta Smith; vibrantly muralled underpasses; and "eye-popping" installations from local artists (judging by photos from previous years, these will be something to look forward to).
There's also street food in the form of dumplings from Himalayan Tiffin, jerk chicken from Back-a-Yard Grill, and freshly made smoothies from DB Catering.
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 is at Southmere Park, Thamesmead on Saturday 14 August, 12pm-7pm. Entry is free. It's a 15-minute walk from Abbey Wood station.