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Ramsgate Festival 2017 preview

Ramsgate Festival poster

This week we went to an event in Ramsgate to meet some Russian artists called Cardboardia who are going to be at Ramsgate Festival. The event was called a Hi! level meeting with the Tyran of Cardboardia which was quite a title, too intriguing to miss – and we thought it was to find out a bit more about them and maybe to have the chance to make something out of cardboard.

Cardboardia is an imaginary country which exists all over the world and it’s made of cardboard. The things they make – and get local people to help them make,  where ever they go – are generally massive and very silly. So it’s exciting that they will be at something called Jimmy’s Boatyard at the Festival. The plan is for giant cardboard boats to be made then sailed in the harbour and through the town every day. We think this sounds like brilliant fun and something that everyone will want to get involved with.

Their whole ethos is about encouraging everyone to join in and feel like they can make whatever they want to make, both out of cardboard and in their lives generally. The challenge set to Ramsgate for the Festival events is for everyone to help build their ideal world.

If you’re visiting Thanet at the end of July you will have the chance to meet these guys in Ramsgate and also to dip into the rest of the Ramsgate Festival programme which is incredibly varied and will be much bigger this year than ever before thanks to some incredible fundraising by Ramsgate Arts who are determined to put on a massive extravaganza.

Suffice to say that by the end of our Hi! level meeting with the Tyran, we were dancing through the streets of Ramsgate with cardboard fish on our heads – and there was no alcohol involved!

Here’s a video of the cardboard shoal of fish we made and ended up wearing – do watch this with the sound turned on so you can hear the music.

Also at the Festival this year, which takes place 22 – 30 July:

There’s a full day and evening of opera on the beach – including lots of activities for people who may think opera is not something they fancy, to give them a taste of it, whether it’s opera-oke, hearing the story of the opera being shown – which is a brand new production of Handel’s Semele from Garsington Opera, or seeing a pop up opera flash mob.Activities will be family friendly and in the evening the whole opera is being screened on a large screen. That’s on 22nd

Lots of parades, stalls and live music – especially at the weekends.

Walks and talks including seashore safaris and a full heritage programme, Ramsgate Reflections with talks about a 1740 shipwreck currently being mapped on the Goodwin Sands, Dame Janet the Clifftop Amazon, the town in film and television and much more .

Ramsgate Seadogs, Festival within the Festival is also 22nd July and Pirate Day (come dressed as a pirate) is on 26th.

‘Ramsgate Meridian 5.41’ installation by artist Theresa Smith will mark Ramsgate Time which is 5.41 minutes ahead of Greenwich.

illustration of Ramsgate Meridian 5.41 by artist Theresa Smith

Littoral Light II, an illuminated twilight art installation by over 40 artists, including from Japan and France. Following the success of the inaugural Littoral Light last year, this years event, will be even more magical with more artists taking part. the exhibition lasts just 90 minutes, at the point where the sea is furthest from the shore and the sun goes down.

A Fire Finale on the evening of 30 July and if they can raise the funds to cover the costs they will be putting a giant water slide down Royal Parade above the harbour that same day. The Ramsgate Slide isbased on an installation by UK artist Luke Jerram who did something similar in Bristol called Park and Slide.  Opportunities to slide will be allocated by a free ballot system. We are so hoping this will go ahead – it will be amazing!

We hope you will be with us at the end of July and will be able to see for yourself how the whole thing pans out. We predict there will be a lot of smiling faces inspired by the Festival’s theme, Dream Marine, celebrating the towns unique maritime location.

Ramsgate is just a short walk, drive, bus ride or cycle from our holiday lets in the next door town of Broadstairs (you can walk along the seafront from Broadstairs beach to Ramsgate Harbour in 40 minutes and if the tide’s out you can do the whole walk on the sands).

Find out more about the festival on

Check availability of our Broadstairs holiday lets via the form on our homepage.

photo shows Bristol Park and Slide by Luke Jerram
photo shows Bristol Park and Slide by Luke Jerram

Cardboardia Pirate Ship