We are delighted to announce an exciting summer of events.
This summer the council is teaming up with local organisations to celebrate Medway’s culture and communities, past, present and future.
From the River Medway to Fort Amherst, artists, drag queens, musicians, scientists and of course, Dickens will fill Medway’s high streets and parks with colour and noise creating a brilliant summer of live and online entertainment for residents and visitors.
There will be something for everyone with a mix of creative, historical, scientific, and above all, fun, festivals which will be held between August and October. The festivals can be made COVID-19 safe, if needed.
These events are for residents and visitors of all ages, and there will be plenty of activities on offer for children and young people which supports Medway’s aspirations to become a Child-Friendly City, putting young people at the heart of everything it does.
With 2021 pegged to be the year of the staycation there is so much for residents to enjoy and discover on their own doorsteps. Medway Council’s #WhoKnew campaign aims to highlight Medway’s unique attractions, hidden gems, independent shops, fantastic restaurants, stunning landscapes and encourage visitors and residents to enjoy what Medway has to offer.
Fantastic festival line-up
Cllr Howard Doe, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Community Services, said: “Medway has a fantastic festival line-up planned for the summer and we are looking forward to welcoming residents and visitors to our wide range of events. Medway is aspiring to become UK City of Culture 2025 and I am pleased that Medway’s community, history and creativity is at the very heart of our summer festival programme. Becoming City of Culture would bring significant benefits to Medway, including more opportunities for young people, and will help showcase all we have to offer. I would encourage residents to find out more about the innovative events on their doorstep and we look forward to seeing you later this summer.”
Festival at the Fort
Saturday and Sunday, 14 and 15 August 2021
This free outdoor arts festival celebrates the diverse culture and talents of Medway’s performing artists, companies and communities. There will be performances from national and international street theatre acts and there’s plenty of space for all the family to enjoy food and music.
For more information about Fort Amherst, visit the event website.
Rochester Riverside Walk, Doust Way
Saturday, 21 August, 11am-8pm
Medway Pride will be a colourful fun-filled event, where families can come together and celebrate diversity and support equality.
For more information about Medway Pride, visit the event website or follow #MPFestival2021 on social media.
Medway Festival of Literature
Various locations across Medway
Saturday, 21 August to Saturday, 28 August
This literature-based festival will include the best that literacy and writing has to offer, including poetry, creative writing, workshops, storytelling and more. More information will be released in due course.
Various locations across Medway
Saturday, 21 to Monday, 30 August
Electric Medway returns this summer after a fantastic virtual festival last year. The 10-day festival aims to celebrate digital creativity, in all forms.
For more information about Electric Medway, visit the event website.
Gillingham High Street
Saturday, 28 August to Sunday, 31 October
Gillingham POW!, an arts trail through Gillingham High Street, will showcase specially commissioned artworks which depict local heroes, places and stories that make Gillingham special.
For more information about Gillingham POW! visit the event website.
Welcome to Cloisterham
Rochester Castle Gardens
Monday, 30 August, 11am-4pm
This event is a celebration of Charles Dickens’ life and work with a 21st Century twist. Different Dickens inspired zones, which use drama and poetry, storytelling and music making, will be created in the castle gardens to entertain the whole family.
For more information about Welcome to Cloisterham, visit the event website.
Festival of Chatham Reach
Sun Pier to Upnor
Saturday and Sunday, 18 and 19 September 2021
This festival will celebrate the history of the river Medway and Sun Pier in Chatham as a hub of river life. With historic vessels open to explore, free have-a-go stalls, history walks, and interactive activities this is a great way for the whole family to view and learn about Medway.
For more information about Festival of Chatham Reach, visit the event website.
Chatham Waterfront, outside Chatham Library
Friday, 24 September to Sunday, 10 October
Together is a new touring, interactive artwork by Lucid Creates which includes an immersive soundscape which has been produced in collaboration with Canadian artis Exist Strategy, in collaboration with the public. The installation celebrates unsung heroes, and residents and visitors will be able to digitally contribute the names of loved ones, heroes, neighbours and family.
For more information about Together, visit the event website.
Medway Fun Palace
The Pentagon Shopping Centre, Chatham
Saturday, 2 October 2021
Medway Fun Palace is part of the national Fun Palaces programme which create events that bring together arts, sciences and people. Science shows, hands on activities, stalls and stands, art workshops, interactive installations, theatre, flash mobs, choirs, dance troops will all be included in the fun, exciting and mix of activities, which will showcase Medway at its best.
For more information about Medway Fun Place, visit the event website.
Celebrate the diversity of Medway
Hilary Cooke, Chair of Medway Pride CIC, said: “This will be the first person to person, live Medway Pride Event in Medway. We produced an 8-day virtual festival with Gravesham Pride Last year, and Medway Pride 2021 on 21st August will complete this year’s Pride Week of events that begin with Gravesham Pride on 14th August. We are welcoming all communities to come along to Medway Pride, and celebrate the diversity of Medway, it will be a fun and colourful event with entertainment, food and refreshments. It’s a Festival for Everyone, to Be You and Make Some Friends.”
Communities coming together
Helen Swan, director of TOGETHER, said: “TOGETHER was created as a reaction to the isolation of lockdown, from this we have imagined an artwork which is a huge pavilion-like open space in which communities can come together to celebrate their unity, something we feel is more important now than ever. As Kent-based artists, we are incredibly excited to be debuting the piece in Medway - and to be be able to collaborate with our community in recognising Medway's uniqueness."
Artists from Medway and Kent
Kevin Grist, Co-Director SparkedEcho for Electric Medway, said: “We chose Synchronised as this year’s creative focus so artists and groups could tell stories that we can all relate to; of life moving in, and out, of sync. People can expect to find digital artworks that use sound, projection, augmented reality and light. Some will be accessible via your mobile. Look out for the VR films showing at Medway libraries and the launch of a hack play-space for those who want to dabble with creative tech! While vast majority of artists are from Medway and Kent, we are delighted to see international collaborations this year, from as far as Vancouver. We can’t wait to share the full programme.”
There’s lots more happening across Medway this summer. Medway is home to a wide range of events, including independently run experiences, and those supported by us. Past much loved events will be continuing such as Rochester Castle Concerts, Salute the 40’s and more.