Thamesmead Festival Park Stage
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Thamesmead turned out to celebrate its vibrant creative community — with performances ranging from international stars to local legends

Residents and visitors alike swanned into Southmere Park for the Thamesmead Festival on Saturday (20 August), organised by the Festival production Group made up of 14 Thamesmead residents in collaboration with live event producers Serious.

The festival programme featured a line-up of home-grown talent, with live musicdanceperformance, food and family activities.

Highlights from the Park Stage – compèred by charismatic host Fusion and with a view of the ‘Fields of EveryWhen’ hot air balloon – included local street dance group Dynamix, rapper and singer Jules, and a carnival procession led by TARU Arts, which featured the Samba band, next due to appear at the Notting Hill Carnival, as well as children’s miniature moving models of the Fields of EveryWhen balloon.

Ahead of his Park Stage set, internationally acclaimed trumpeter Byron Wallen captivated the audience at the Unplugged Stage, playing a collection of sea shells and conches, and using a loop pedal to create a hypnotic soundscape. Meanwhile, Austrian multi-instrumentalist Prinz Leo played songs embracing male vulnerability. Over on the Southmere StageShaker (aka Jerusha Ujanga) performed songs including her upcoming new single I Love It.

Thamesmead’s very own Samm Henshaw soundtracked the golden hour with a sublime and soulful set, accompanied simply by acoustic guitar, encouraging the crowd to sing along with him to soul classic My Girl. The day culminated with a fun-packed performance by Britain’s Got Talent champions Twist and Pulse who got the audience cheering to their unique dance routines performed to a montaged soundtrack of RnB, pop music, TV theme tunes and mobile ringtones. The duo commented, “we’re back in our local town and we’re proper nervous – more nervous than when we did Britain’s Got Talent” with Ashley (aka Twist), going on to say “I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing now if it wasn’t for my upbringing here.”

The Dog Show — a festival favourite — was hosted by the sharply-attired Bunty and Bob, who invited festival-goers to enter their canine companions of all shapes and sizes into a series of categories including ‘best treat catchers’ and ‘dog most resembling its owner’.

Throughout the afternoon, festival-goers were able to wander between the stages browsing community stalls run by local groups and charities and sample the mouth-watering menu of locally-produced global cuisine and drink, with this year’s offering including tasty Jamaican eats from The Caribbean Hut, Nigerian cuisine from Yeti’s Authentic Kitchen and Bexley Mixology who provided a refreshing selection of handcrafted mocktails.

The Festival Production Group is: Manny Adeneye, Samuel Aribisala, Joanne Bernard, Adedapo Dalley, Deborah Frimpong, Jules, Carolyn Long, Whitney Manassian, Pastor Bunmi Omidiran, Anne Poole, Ian Tyson, Jerusha Ujanga, Kim Vale and Jamie Zubairi.

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