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Turn The Tide Festival kicks off in Dymchurch as fake news hits the agenda

By Matt Leclere

A new festival celebrating cultures from around the world and highlighting issues of fake news kicked off at the weekend.

Turn The Tide Festival was held in Dymchurch in venues around the village and was organised to support community spirit on the Marsh.

It was organised by Tim Shephard and Coz Crawford to welcome villagers and residents from the Marsh to come together and celebrate the arts, culture and diversity in the area.

There were 23 events held on Saturday and Sunday with acts ranging from belly dancing, Tai Chi and African drumming to a Bulgarian choir, Bhangra dancing and pottery making workshops.

Mr Shephard said: “The essence of the festival was using villagers and local people as much as possible.

“It’s the first time we have ever run a festival.

“It was feeling how I was hoping for in year three or four. It’s all very good.”

The weekend was put on for free with funding from Dymchurch Parish Council, Magnox, the Roger De Haan Charitable Trust and other donors and volunteers.

A fake news bulletin was premiered as part of the festival and since it was uploaded to YouTube on Monday has been drawing attention on social media.

It features many recognisable faces from Dymchurch and around the Marsh.

The 10-minute “bulletin” features “stories" including campaigners against a high speed bullet train planned on the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway, building a multi-storey car park on the seafront next to the Ocean Inn and a bobsleigh track on Romney

Mr Shephard said: “Fake news is an issue at the moment and creativity keeps minds broader to other things.

“There been a lot of problems with people believing what they read or see because they’ve not got the tools to tell. A lot of people were saying it looks real but that’s the point.”

People on social media commented that it at least answered the question about why filming had been taking place around Dymchurch.

Mr Shephard added: “It was a lot of fun and an interesting day. Some of them were drinking in the pub and we said can you come out and help us.”

Find out more at www.facebook.com/TurnTheTideFest or turnthetidefestival.org

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