The Isle of Thanet hosts a year-round programme of exciting events and festivals themed around music, arts, food and drink and more. Many are free and, with the Isle’s fast transport links, make a perfect day out or ideal focus for a short break.
Broadstairs Blues Bash – Friday 17 to Sunday 19 February
Broadstairs Blues Bash is the biggest free blues festival in Kent. It features 100 bands playing in more than 20 venues over the weekend. There is one ticketed event at Broadstairs Pavilion, featuring the famous Nine Below Zero.
Dreamland, Margate – from Saturday 1 April
This year, Dreamland will play host to its biggest ever lineup of gigs. The most exciting array of acts on the south coast includes Annie Mac’s latest club night offering, Before Midnight in Hall By the Sea and open air concerts on the Scenic Stage from Kool and the Gang, Tom Jones, Will Young, Bastille, Chase and Status and Shy FX, McFly, Hacienda Classical, N-Dubz, The Human League with special guest star Marc Almond, Primal Scream and Happy Mondays on the same bill and Olly Murs. Further acts to be announced soon.
A full line up of gigs can be found at www.dreamland.co.uk
Broadstairs Easter Food Festival – Friday 7 to Sunday 9 April
Combining great food and drink from some of the Garden of England’s most loved producers, the Broadstairs Easter Food Festival provides the opportunity to enjoy some special family time together.
The event will include 100 stalls with produce and street food; children’s cookery and chocolate making sessions and the chance to make your own Easter crown. Plus an eclectic mix of live music at the bandstand. A perfect foodie weekend!
New for 2023
Hands on cookery led by The Chequers Kitchen, Deal (Friday 7 April)
Chocolate making workshops (Saturday 8 April)
Making Easter crowns (Sunday 9 April)
Ramsgate Through the Senses – Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 April
Ramsgate Through the Senses is returning to celebrate World Earth Day (Saturday 22 April), with a programme of events that tap into the five senses to inspire the mind, body and spirit.
The weekend will feature delicious and immersive wild food experiences, bespoke
tours and workshops and rejuvenating therapies.
MDC+ Comic-Con, Quex Park, Birchington – Sunday 21 May
Expect celebrities from hit series Stranger Things and House of The Dragon, film props, famous cars, comic book artists, a live music stage, cosplayers, Titan The Robot and much more!
Prices: Standard adult £16.95, child (6-16) £12.95, child (3-5) £3.95. Children aged two and under go free.
Opening times: 10am – 5pm
Broadstairs Dickens Festival – Friday 16 to Sunday 18 June
Broadstairs Dickens Festival celebrates the works and characters created by one of England’s best-loved authors, with events throughout the town.
Charles Dickens visited Broadstairs regularly from 1837 until 1859 and immortalised the town as “Our English Watering Place”.
The first festival took place in 1937, to commemorate the centenary of the author’s first visit and, with the exception of the years of WWII, has been held annually ever since.
This year the festival celebrates 86 years. The festival play is Great Expectations, the Dickensian Beach Parties will be back at Viking Bay with Dickensian Mini Golf at Lillyputt Mini Golf. Additional festival events to be confirmed.
Monsterslam, Quex Park, Birchington – Sunday 23 July
Four giant monster trucks come smashing into Quex Park on Sunday 3 July for more car-crushing, caravan-smashing carnage, joined by the UK’s top FMX stunt team – Squibb Freestyle, and Stuntworld International – who’ll be performing some breath-taking, quad-rolling, fire-jumping stunts for the crowds!
NEW for 2023 – Monster Truck ride Pandamonium will be offering visitors the chance to feel what it’s like to ride in the back of a real monster truck and crush real cars under their giant wheels. Height restrictions apply for this optional, chargeable activity.
Standard adult £17.50, child (6-16 years) £12.95, child (3-5 years) £3.95, under 2s go free.
Open 10am-7pm, with morning and afternoon show options.
Margate Soul Festival – Friday 4 to Sunday 6 August
Now in its 21st year, Margate Soul Festival is a massive date on the soul, funk and reggae music calendar. The festival provides a combination of large-scale live shows, DJ-led carnival street parties, beachside programming and an eclectic mix of nighttime club life.
This year the main gigs will be held at Dreamland’s Hall By The Sea and Ballroom. Other spots include Olby’s Soul Cafe, the Imperial Bar, plus The Sun Deck on the promenade overlooking Margate Main Sands.
Tickets, from £55, go on sale at 8am on Friday 24 February, when a number of acts will also be announced.
Broadstairs Folk Week – Friday 11 to Saturday 18 August
A week-long festival of music, song and dance from around the world, in a beautiful seaside town with seven sandy beaches. Top quality concerts, ceilidhs, workshops, family events, a festival campsite, craft and music fair and free acoustic sessions in every available venue around the town – the bandstand, the jetty, pubs and more.
The headline act this year is West Country folk singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Seth Lakeman. Seth will be accompanied by singer-songwriter Alex Hart who is proving to be an important addition to the UK’s current crop of country and roots artists.
Other confirmed artists include Lady Maisery, Home Service, Harmonia and Dan Sealey.
See website for full confirmed listing – www.broadstairsfolkweek.org.uk
Margate Pride – Saturday 12 August
An arts-and-culture-led Pride, the Margate Pride Festival will see multiple exhibitions, events, workshops and more across Margate, culminating in a day of performance and activities at the Oval Bandstand before a seafront parade and a headline gig at Dreamland.
Broadstairs Autumn Food Festival – Friday 29 September to Sunday 1 October
Back for the fifteenth year, the free-to-visit Broadstairs Food Festival continues to bring together the finest of the region’s food and drink producers. Expect great things in the ‘Chefs in the Kitchen’ theatre, street food offering meat, fish and vegan choices and a refreshment marquee serving Kentish wine and beers. Foodie heaven!
New for 2023
Regional and local Chefs in the Kitchen:
Lucy Cuflin, recipe book writer and founder of Chiswick Cheese Market
Cath Phipps (Pressure Cooker Cooking), author of several recipe books
Further event and festival information and accommodation listings can be found at www.visitthanet.co.uk