I didn’t know it until a week before, but Friday the 30th of August would be a memorable day for me, filled with wonderful bands and people that had travelled from all over the country to visit Dreamland, Margate’s well known theme park. Why you ask? Well it was for the seaside town’s very own By The Sea Festival, which had a stellar line-up of music and entertainment planned for the whole weekend!
Before I go any further, I would like to say especially as an amateur photographer who is still finding her feet in some ways, I was absolutely honoured to be given the chance to work at this festival. It was great to be able to photograph bands big and small, although it’s not usually my type of music, it had an indie-esque feel to it and I loved every minute.
The atmosphere for one was amazing, each stage was packed out for each band, people were clearly enjoying themselves. The two venues had their own bars which served different kinds of drinks, the cider stall being my choice. Organisation was not perfect, however I had to admire the way that none of the bands clashed giving festival goers the chance to see every band if they wished, being that the two venues were in close distance of each other.
The staff and security were wonderful, extremely friendly and accommodating. I also got the chance to talk to several of those visiting between bands. Two girls I had spoken to from France said how much they loved it, another group of people told us they came to see one band and although they missed their set due to delays in their journey they had thoroughly enjoyed themselves. However, I didn’t get too much time to talk, as work had to be done and I am somewhat of a perfectionist.
The bands, I honestly don’t know where to begin. They were outstanding, my day begun with a female fronted band called Tokyo Tea Room, and the singer’s voice was amazing, the music was well written and so well put together, it was almost orgasmic.
Next I headed down to the roller arena for The Big Moon, an all female band who absolutely stunned me with their music. Throughout the day I went between the two venues, watching bands I never would have if I hadn’t been working.
Although I have to say one of my favourites was a band I have never heard of in my life called Wild Beasts. They had so much energy, they absolutely stole the show with members constantly switching instruments, one moment one member was playing guitar, the next minute he was on the keyboard, all of them kept moving, one of the band members even squatting down on the floor during a brief pause before the music kicked back in.
There were a few more bands to see, that night. Super Furry Animals, a well known band who came out in hazmat suits, although odd and somewhat intriguing, it really wasn’t my type of music but by christ it was enjoyable and they really put on a show.
After what I thought was the end of the festival I headed back to the roller arena to enjoy some music from DJ’s such as a friend of mine Dean Thatcher, only to discover to my surprise there was one more band Ibibio Sound Machine and oh my god did they blow me away, with bright, beautiful and outlandish outfits and some wonderful West African funk, electro mash-up. What a wonderful end to a wonderful day.
Dreamland & By the Sea event organisers, security and staff, not to mention the bands – If I had a hat I would drop it off to you. You all did an amazing job and I cannot wait to see what next year brings for Margate. Hopefully an event just as brilliant as this one.
Words and photography by Annie Harris of Pixography