Saturday 20 August, 12 – 7pm

Free and open to all!

This community-powered London festival returns to the iconic urban setting of Southmere Park this August, bringing together residents and visitors alike for a free celebration of all things Thamesmead. Organised by local people and with a programme packed full of home-grown talent, the day features live music, dance, performance, food and family activities as well as the much-anticipated annual dog show. Attracting more than 6000 attendees in 2021, this unique festival is fast-becoming a staple in the London cultural calendar and with the newly opened Elizabeth Line making transport to Abbey Wood that bit easier, Londoners are invited to come and see what Thamesmead has to offer.

 

With confirmed acts including south London-raised singer Samm Henshaw and Britain’s Got Talent champions Twist and Pulse, this year’s event will see the return of its three main stages – the Park Stage, up on the hill; the Southmere Stage on Southmere Square and the more informal Unplugged Stage among the trees in Southmere Park – showcasing music, spoken word, dance, magic and comedy.

 

The entire festival is programmed and led by the Festival Production Group, a committee of 14 residents representative of Thamesmead’s diverse cultures and neighbourhoods. Together with acclaimed cultural event producers Serious, they are working to deliver an ambitious showcase of local talent, having issued an open call that will serve as the basis for selecting the full line-up, scheduled to be announced later in the summer. The 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.

 

As part of a stellar line-up of talent, the festival will welcome back Thamesmead-based street dance group Dynamix for a special performance and Greenwich Dance, who recently relocated to The Nest community building, for their debut festival appearance. Vitally expressing the ethos and background of the Festival Production Group, dance forms an integral element of the programme, a medium through which many young people in the community have been able to tell their stories, with globally renowned Thamesmead-raised rapper ENNY recently describing how joining a local street dance group at just seven years of age helped shape an early interest in music.

 

The festival will also feature community stalls run by local groups and charities, providing information about their work in the community, free workshops and activities for children and adults, and a mouth-watering menu of food and drink from across the world. This year’s offering includes Peter’s Panas serving the best Venezualan gluten-free arepas in London, tasty Jamaican eats from The Caribbean Hut, Nigerian cuisine from Yeti’s Authentic Kitchen and Bexley Mixology providing a refreshing selection of handcrafted mocktails. Other stalls include hand blended holistic pink Himalayan salt products from Pink Salt UK, Cool-Caricatures by local artist Femi and Deluxe Bubbles, selling bath bombs, soaps, scrubs and balms fit to pamper a king.

 

As part of the day, a spectacular 25m high hot air balloon tapestried with stories from Thamesmead will be inflated and tethered on the festival site. The winning proposal for the Thamesmead Open competition, Fields of EveryWhen is a collaborative artwork by artists Neil Musson and Jono Retallick and the Thamesmead community. Created over the last two years, it weaves together stories by and about the people and places of Thamesmead, which have been converted into embroideries, textile collages and illustrations, then digitally enlarged onto the fabric of the hot air balloon to form a ‘floating gallery’ celebrating Thamesmead’s rich history, community and creative talent.

 

Adriana Marques, Peabody’s Head of Thamesmead Cultural Strategy, said:

“We’re delighted to be returning for another edition of the Thamesmead Festival, our flagship community celebration. This event showcases community leadership at its best, with 14 local residents programming a fantastic day of music, arts, community groups and markets that reflect Thamesmead’s unique spirit. With its thriving creative community and its improved transport links thanks to the new Elizabeth Line, now is an exciting time to be in Thamesmead. The festival is an annual moment to celebrate this wonderful town and invite visitors in to witness it in all its vibrant glory.”

 

Mrs Deborah Frimpong, a Festival Production Group member and Chair of the Moorings Neighbourhood Forum (MNF) said:

“What an opportunity to see Thamesmead recognised for all the good things that are happening here. The festival is a unique and special showcase that not only brings the four areas of Thamesmead together but also draws in the wider community. Stretching across Southmere Park, the festival lends itself to being a sensational experience each year. I’m really looking forward to an exceptional time celebrating, sharing and basking in the company of friends, family and local talents.”

 

Carolyn Long, a resident and member of the Festival Production Group said:

"Last year’s festival was a revelation for me. Until then I hadn’t actually reflected much on its effect on people, the feeling of togetherness and strong sense of community. Going to the festival had a hugely positive impact on my mental health after the difficulties of pandemic isolation. It provided a sense of relaxation, enjoyment and re-connection with my community."

 

Jules, a resident and poet/spoken word artist performing at the festival, said:

Thamesmead Festival is the heart of the community, celebrating and showcasing the various aspects that make Thamesmead what it is today. Whether you’re local or passing through on the day, it's a guarantee that you'll instantly fall in love with our town.”