Music, open studios, late trading and surprises for the return of Margate’s First Friday event

Bus Cafe co-owner Jodie Ellena-Lindley

By Dan Thompson

Shops opening late, buskers and DJs, open studios, and a few surprises are planned when Margate’s First Friday returns  in July. The free event is a showcase for the town’s creative community.

The 2021 version will add local, independent shops to the mix, with many staying open a little later and some organising extra events in store. It’s being organised by The Bus Cafe, Old Town shop Little Bit, Dan Thompson Studio and Marine Studios. It happens from 5pm-8pm, on Friday, July 2.

First Friday was founded by Marine Studios in 2010, and happens on the first Friday every month. The last one was held just before lockdown in March 2020, and it brought together projects looking at marine plastic. Traditionally, First Friday is the day for galleries to open new shows, for talks and workshops connected to exhibitions, and for the town’s arts community to show off what they do best.

For July’s event, the Sun Deck at Nayland Rock will be open, with DJs easing guests into the weekend. Little Bit, Margate Bookshop, and other shops in the Old Town will be open until 8pm. Whisky & Beards will hold a poetry meetup in the Nayland Rock shelter, where TS Eliot wrote part of The Waste Land. On Northdown Road, Cliffs cafe and record store will be open late, with DJs playing music. And a few surprises are promised on the prom, too.

“Any independent shop, art studio, or local cafe can take part – they just have to agree to open at that time, and ideally do something a bit more fun than usual!” said co-organiser Jodie Ellena-Lindley, one of the founders of the Bus Cafe at Nayland Rock.

“First Friday is a way to bring the local community together to celebrate this wonderful town and all the creativity within it. It’s a special something extra for local shoppers and art audiences, and a great excuse for visitors to come down to Margate on a Friday afternoon,” said Polly Chromatic, owner of Little Bit.

First Friday returns to Margate on Friday, July 2, and happens in venues across the town. All the events are free. If you’re a shop, cafe, or venue that would like to take part, email [email protected]

To find all the venues taking part, visit


  1. Good idea, but I really wish big business chains (The Works, Savers, Poundland, etc) would be invited/involved. That way it would encourage more people to independent businesses that wouldn’t normally. The Us versus Them mentality does no-one any good.

    • Well they might’ve done 60 years ago! I don’t even go there in the day time anymore.

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