My extended festival season finally came to a close as I headed down to the sea side resort of Margate for the 3rd By the Sea festival.
The coastal town dubbed Shoreditch-on-Sea, has had large investment in recent years to enhances it’s event facilities with the likes of Gorillaz and Slaves already playing sold out shows earlier this summer. The Libertines ( who we will get to later ) even recently purchasing a townhouse on the Eastern Esplanade with plans to redevelop it into a studio/hotel.
With last year being a rather damp affair, it was nice to be able to explore the cobbled streets and vintage stores of Old Town this weekend, talking a walk and sitting by waterfront whilst planning out my schedule for the day ( as giant seagulls gather eying up my tasty fish and chips ). “By the Sea” has expanded to a 3 day event this year with Olbys Soul Café added alongside Margate Museum as afternoon venues. Rozi Plain and Denai Moore playing out two excellent sets in a Museum function room ( formerly a Magistrates Court ).. It’s all very laid back and hugely enjoyable way to discover new artists.
Back downstairs at Olbys Cafe, Jen Closer provided one of my highlights of the weekend… A wonderfully raw set that that had me captivated from the opening bars backed up with Courtney Barnett on guitar duties ( happily hiding in the shadows).
The recently revamped Dreamland amusement park now boasts a much improved outdoor performance area ( unfortunately not used this weekend) and refurnished classic fairground rides which festival goers could enjoy in-between all the music. The Dodgems again proved popular against a backdrop of DJs spinning records. Anna from Metronomy filling the Guest Dj slot this year before dashing back up to the other side of the park to join the rest of the band to close the Saturday night.. Their catchy indie pop tunes and dazzling light show going down a treat with the crowd gathered in the Hall by the Sea. 24 hours earlier, Friday night headliner Everything Everything had excelled with their branch of arty dance pop tunes..
Just a short walk across from the stage, the neon illuminated Roller Disco hosted the likes of Snapped Ankles, Girlray and Flamingods.. It was also the setting of the loudest and most raucous performance of the weekend from South London punk band HMLTD. Frontman Henry Spychalski prowling the stage and engaging the audience at every opportunity. Throughly chaotic, throughly exciting
Sunday evenings music entertainment moved up the road to the historic Margate Winter Gardens venue… Dream Wife and Blaenavon high energy sets warmed the crowds up nicely before The Libertines took to the stage. Carl, Pete, John and Gary on top form beneath the giant stage curtains and chandeliers as they journeyed through a career spanning back catalogue, with obvious highlights from Up the Bracket era and ending with Don’t Look Back at the Sun.
A glorious end to close By the Sea Festival 2017.