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Festival, fair or regatta – the choice is yours in Gravesend this weekend

Boredom is definitely OFF the agenda this weekend with the Gravesend Town Regatta, fun fair, strong man competition and Fusion Festival all taking place at the Prom.

The Fusion Festival is on Saturday between noon and 4pm.

It aims to showcase new and emerging culturally diverse artists and to celebrate music and dance from around the world.

Scenes from the river for Gravesend's regatta. Pictures by Jason Arthur.
Scenes from the river for Gravesend's regatta. Pictures by Jason Arthur.

The stage programme will feature Phase 5 Steel Band, local singers Gemma Moore and Ryan Bennett, the Cullen Academy of Irish Dance and Piwnica pod Aniolami a Polish cabaret act.

The event will also see the first performance of Cohesion Plus-produced Afro-Bhangra Fusion featuring Four by Four Bhangra and Uzambezi Arts.

Alongside all of this will be the 168th Gravesend Town Regatta, a fun fair, the summer queen crowning in Fort Gardens and heats for England’s Most Powerful Man.

The regatta, staged on the river near Golden Promenade, runs on Saturday and Sunday between 10am and 6pm.

Comedians Danny and Dan
Comedians Danny and Dan

The first definite records of properly organised rowing matches in Gravesend date back to 1698, but it was in 1846 that the regatta officially began. In the 1890s, prizes for the races reached £50 and it was a big draw for residents.

The boat crews always raced in Gravesend skiffs, 21ft long oak replicas of clinker-built boats. The summer regatta takes place on August 16 and 17.

Kent Equality Cohesion Council chief executive Gurvinder Sandher, who has organised the Fusion Festival, said: “We hope that the local community will come along and support the festival.

“The Fusion Festival captures all that we are about, namely using the arts to bring diverse communities together and to showcase new and emerging talent.

“With all the other activities taking place at the Prom at the same time this promises to be a great day out for the communities of Gravesham.”

Ying Tao Chinese dancing group
Ying Tao Chinese dancing group

The Port of London Authority is asking vessel owners on the Thames to take part in long blast of their horns at 6pm on Saturday to mark the centenary of the First World War.

Line up:

Noon: Phase 5 Steel Band
12.55pm: Gemma Moore
1.10pm: Ying Tang Chinese Association
1.30pm: Piwnica pod Aniolami
2.10pm: Cullen Academy of Irish Dance
2.30pm: Danny & Dan (comedy)
2.50pm: Afro-Bhangra Fusion
3.30pm: Ryan Bennett

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