Music, food and culture as crowds flock to festival for first time post-pandemic

One of South London’s biggest community festivals attracted huge crowds in a celebration of local musicians, food and culture on Saturday.

Organised by Lewisham landlord Phoenix Community Housing, the Phoenix Festival returned to Forster Memorial Park, Whitefoot Lane, Bellingham, after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, and was headlined by the Little Mix tribute act LMX.

Known for their high-energy tribute show performed across the country at a number of large venues and festivals, including an appearance at Tribfest, LMX used their performance to entrain the crowd.

More than 4,000 attendees enjoyed music from other local acts including Sienna, Level 23, Xfade, Brent Knoll School, South London Samba and the drumming group Taru.

Crowds flocked to the festival for the first time since before the pandemic (Picture: Phoenix Community Housing)

Other attractions included archery, a dog show competition, a mini zoo, a funfair, donkey rides, a graffiti workshop, a soft play area for the under-fives and a massage zone.

Labour MP and former Phoenix Board Member, Janet Daby, who attended with her son, said: “It’s so wonderful that everyone can come out post-pandemic on such a beautiful day.

“It’s clear to see that the Phoenix Festival keeps getting bigger and bigger, which is fantastic.”

Denise Fowler, chief executive of Phoenix, said: “After a tough past two years it was wonderful to see our little corner of south London come together again to enjoy the sunshine and thrills.

“Each year we have a theme and this year’s was in partnership with Lewisham Borough of Culture – Strength Through Diversity.

“This year’s theme certainly celebrated our community and what makes it so great – the people and the culture. I can’t wait for everything else we have in store this year.”

Crowds flocked to the festival for the first time since before the pandemic (Picture: Phoenix Community Housing)

South London families can continue the fun at Phoenix’s Summer Fun events over the school holidays.

Young people will be able to enjoy bouncy castles, face-painting and much more in parks and play areas every Thursday from July 28, with full details to be available at

The festival was made possible by the support of local organisations.

Pictured top: Little Mix tribute act LMX (Picture: Phoenix Community Housing)





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