By The Sea @ Dreamland, Margate. 30 September – 1 October
Margate’s cultural renaissance is gathering pace with the recent arrival of two-day seaside shindig By The Sea. Now in its second year and with an expanded capacity of 2,500, the fest attracts trainloads of London-based punters, together with a hefty proportion of locals, and has two big plus points: it’s bang in the middle of Margate with easy access to the town’s quaint and contemporary cultural highlights, and – perhaps more importantly – it’s based at Dreamland, a retro theme park at which all the rides are free.
Although the bands play indoors, you couldn’t quite describe this as an indoor festival – with the two stages separated by Dreamland, studded with food stalls and bars under the Kentish sky, it has the feel of something quite different. Quirkiness is this event’s USP – from wooden rollercoasters and mermaids being pushed around in shopping trolleys, to Jarvis Cocker manoeuvering himself into a booth to play a DJ set at the dodgems, By The Sea is nothing if not characterful.