Jam-packed programme as Margate Soul Festival gets ready to mark 20th anniversary

Margate Soul Festival fun

It is nearly time for the talent-packed Margate Soul Festival which is marking its 20th anniversary at this year’s event from August 5-7.

The festival attracts some 20,000 people per day to its variety of stages. Over the years it has grown steadily and in 2015 its partnership with Gordon Mac and the team at Mi-Soul Radio turned it into a worldwide phenomenon.

The main outdoor arena ‘The Sunset Stage’ overlooking the sea, provides the backdrop to 3 days of live music, DJ’s and dancing, whilst The Margate Winter Gardens and Olby’s Soul Cafe offer 6 rooms of music for thousands of people throughout the weekend. There are also free stages placed around the Old Town and the Imperial Lounge and Lighthouse Bar make up the third and fourth official venues. This year there are numerous other venues around Margate hosting scores of acts.

The huge line-up include headliner Emeli Sande who, in January, released her latest single ‘Brighter Days’.

Emeli Sandé heading to Margate Soul Festival Photo Ciaran Fredrick

There will also be stalls, street food, fairground attractions and more.

The festival will also mark the 100th anniversary of Caribbean food and drink supplier Grace Foods UK, and 60 years of Jamaican independence. Grace Foods is sponsoring the Sunset Stage at the festival.

The Sunset Stage will be renamed the Grace Special Edition Jamaican Style Jerk Sunset Stage, and on 6 August, it will host a day-long celebration to mark the 60th anniversary of Jamaican independence. Grace Foods UK originates from Jamaica, with parent company Grace Kennedy’s global HQ based in Kingston.

Margate Soul Festival is the brainchild of resident Eli Thompson, who is also the owner of Olby’s Creative Hub and soul café, which has three recording studios, a studio for film recording and exhibition space.

The Jamaican Independence Day session of the festival starts at 4.30pm on the Saturday with DJ Natty B who runs the reggae show on Mi-Soul, followed by performances from Vivian Jones, a heritage reggae act, Calvin Francis DJ, and Kofi from Brown Sugar and Soul II Soul.

Ten City

Other performers over the weekend include: US singer Melba Moore; “Native New Yorkers” Odyssey; 90s Chicago House Legends Ten City; ‘Defected Records’ Julie McKnight; The Brand New Heavies; Loose Ends; and ‘Lovers Rock Queen’ Carroll Thompson.

Singer-songwriter, house, jazz and soul vocalist, Juliet Roberts will curate an exclusive performance, celebrating the life of Aretha Franklin, and there will be music by new UK modern soul band SouLutions headed by Louise Mehan.

Vandu Patel, Marketing Manager for Grace Foods UK, said:: “With Margate Soul Festival celebrating its 20th anniversary and Jamaica, the original home of Grace, marking 60 years of independence, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to bring Grace’s iconic jerk sauces and seasoning to festival-goers at Margate.

“To mark 100 years of Grace, we launched gold-label, special-edition bottles of Grace Jamaican-style Jerk BBQ Sauce and Dunn’s River Special Edition Jamaican Jerk Seasoning, which will be available at the Margate festival.

“Sponsoring the Sunset Stage also gives us the opportunity to celebrate 60 years of Jamaican independence by bringing artists from Jamaica to the Margate festival. Grace will be handing out sachets of authentic Jamaican jerk paste across the festival site and the wider Margate town for three days.

“Food concessions in the festival site will be using Grace Jerk sauces and seasonings, and as well as being the headline sponsor for the Sunset Stage, we will also have a brand presence in the broadcast studio, wider festival site and the VIP launch party on the Friday night. The festival will be broadcast live on the UK’s leading soul music station Mi-Soul. It’s going to be a great weekend and Grace will be bringing a taste of Jamaica to Margate for the three-day festival.

“Margate Soul Festival is unique, being the only town centre festival in the UK, offering both ticketed and non-ticketed events attracting more than 20,000 per day and we are truly honoured to be part of this, the UK’s number one soul festival.”

The festival features more than 70 DJs, 10 major live acts, 4 stages and 8 themed venues.


Friday 5th August from 2pm : Opening Parties

Melba Moore


Saturday 6th August:

Ten City

Julie Mcknight

Juliet Roberts

Sunday 7th August:

Emeli Sande

The Brand New Heavies

Loose Ends

Carroll Thompson


Tickets: VIP £175 | Weekend Ticket £99 | Friday Day Pass £45 | Saturday Day Pass £55 | Sunday Day Pass £55. For Group Bookings of 10+ £891 Booking fees apply

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  1. When planning dates for future annual events, it would be good if the organisers of Broadstairs Folk Week and Soul Festival could liaise and avoid the same weekends. That would be of great benefit to everyone – those attending, providers of local accommodation, restaurants as well as the population of Thanet with all the extra traffic, parking etc. And gives us the chance to attend both rather than having to choose.

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