Down To Margate – By The Sea Festival

Down to Margate - Chas And Dave

You can keep the Costa Brava and all that palava, going no farther, me i’d rather have me a day down Margate with all me family

Launched three years ago, By the Sea Festival is part of Margate’s facelift from shabby, run-down resort to rapidly gentrifying, hipster-friendly destination. Building on an expanded live music programme designed to lure Londoners to Kent for weekend breaks, the festival is centred on the revamped Dreamland amusement park, which still has a fresh-paint feel after its £25 million refurbishment. There was noticeably more finished infrastructure in place this year than at last year’s festival according to this Source

Bands & Singers at By The Sea 2017

Spread over three days, a little thinly in places, the 2017 festival offered a mix-tape menu of mostly youthful, up-and-coming talent of singers and live bands including a pleasingly high ratio of female artists. Among this year’s offbeat charmers were the lo-fi north London trio Girl Ray, who clothed their bittersweet teen-romance confessionals in zingy guitar melodies, and Dream Wife, a kind of fresh-faced riot-girl quartet from Iceland via Brighton. Yet, once again, the top prize for high-voltage performance went to HMLTD, the peacock-haired electro-punk provocateurs whose raucous set crackled with knowing nods to vintage Bowie, Iggy and Nick Cave.

The Saturday headliners, Metronomy, have made great strides in recent years, beefing up their streamlined groove-pop sound to suit bigger stages and brighter, bouncier shows. Their crammed set in Dreamland’s hangar-like main ballroom was a high-energy spectacular of shiny, effusive, syncopated synth-funk.

On Sunday the festival moved across town to the Winter Gardens, a grand music hall opened in 1911, and seemingly not redecorated since. This cavernous, chandelier-hung pleasure palace has hosted Danny La Rue, Tommy Cooper, Ronnie Corbett and their like. It was truly a shame that the festival didn’t search for new comedians available to book and looking for gigs to fill in the yawning gaps between sets.

Another faded comedy act long past their prime, the Libertines drew a huge crowd to their stand-alone headline show, rolling out the barrel for a two-hour knees-up of boorishly blokey mockney-rock. This was Brexit in musical form, the ramshackle soundtrack to a monochrome retro-fantasy of kiss-me-quick, warm-beer, nicotine-stained Englishness. Incorporating Carl Barât and Pete Doherty, the Rodney and Del Boy of pop, into By the Sea made solid commercial sense, but they were still an oddly staid choice to close such an eclectic, forward-looking festival.

Down To Margate

Down to Margate, don’t forget your buckets and spades and cossies and all
Down to Margate, we’ll have a pill of jellied eels at the cockle stall
Down to Margate, we’ll go on the pier and we’ll have a beer aside of the sea
You can keep the Costa Brava and all that palava, going no farther, me i’d rather have me a day down Margate with all me family