Community festival planned in Margate for autumn to support artists and independent venues


A new community festival in Margate has been announced, by a group of artists, designers and game-makers who say they can “see a storm coming and need something to look forward to.”

Back & Fill is billed as ‘a one-off festival for interesting times, inspired by the currents of seaside life’. It’s being co-ordinated by Marine Studios, which was established in Margate in 2009. Marine Studios set up the popular GEEK festival, created the food murals outside Arlington House, and have hosted over 100 First Friday events at their Albert Terrace home.

Back & Fill festival will happen after the summer season, which already looks to be badly hit by the coronavirus crisis, and just as Turner Contemporary closes for five months. The festival will support artists and makers, and use independent shops, small arts venues and seaside tourism businesses to host a range of exhibitions, talks, and workshops across the town.

“It’s called Back & Fill after a sailing term, for using the advantage of the tide being with you when the wind is not,” explains Marine Studios director Kate Kneale. “It felt about right for Margate, where we’ve been moving in the right direction but might be about to lose the wind from our sails!”

The organisers of Back & Fill will also create an open source toolkit as they develop the festival, which will be available to any seaside town wanting to create their own event. It will provide a framework, tools to engage audiences, logos and branding, and deliver some online training films based on the team’s combined 50 years of programming seaside festivals in Margate and Worthing (including things like GEEK, Worthing Art Trail and Open Houses, and Pushing Print).

Back & Fill will happen in the autumn school holiday, between October 23 and November 1, with a backup date in February 2021, in case the country is still in coronavirus lockdown.

Organisers are asking people to contact them and tell them what you have programmed or planned for that week, or what they’re postponing now and might want to reschedule. Or what they’d like to make just for Back & Fill. Contact them at [email protected]