Floating boats and singing notes at The Festival of Chatham Reach

A group of members of the public and Ideas Test staff under a blue Gazebo. To the left are two tables covered in ocean patterned tablecloths. The Idea Test team are wearing striped shirts and have paper hats on in bright colours.

This past weekend (18th/19th September 2021), Sun Pier in Chatham celebrated its maritime heritage with The Festival of Chatham Reach – and we were there too!

The event was blessed with wonderful sunshine and saw people from around Medway come and take trips on the River Medway on boats and barges such as The Edith May and Medway 2025‘s flagship – The Jacob Marley.


A blue and white boat with passengers on it. It is moving right to left. It is decorated in pink and orange Medway 2025 logos.
Medway 2025’s flagship – The Jacob Marley – out with passengers at The Festival of Chatham Reach. Photo Ramona Giles


Local artist Xtina Lamb from Intra Arts – and our Hopes and Dreams project and upcoming Fun Palaces event – was creating a mural with the help from the public. There were also many stalls from local organisations, artists and makers and some wonderful food vendors.

There was even a coconut shy – courtesy of The Mess Room!



We were there with a stall where you could ‘Float Your Boat’ – a chance for you to make a paper boat and decorate it with things that you like to do or see in Medway. You could then put your boat in our pools and see it set sail with everyone else’s.


A group people sitting on chairs and on the ground at Sun Pier House. They are looking up at performances. To the right is a stall with a gazebo over it. It is a bright and sunny day
Some of the audience enjoying the music at The Festival of Chatham Reach. Photo by Ramona Giles


A group of five people singing on a balcony.
The Sea Folk Sing Choir singing on the balcony of Sun Pier House. Photo: Ramona Giles

On Saturday we also brought Sea Folk Sing to perform songs that were last sung live in late 2019. It was great to see some of the original choir back together and even a few newer faces.

If you missed the Festival of Chatham Reach performances you can listen to of Sea Folk Sing 2019 at The Glassbox Theatre below.



Many thanks to Sun Pier House and Tiller & Wheel for organising the event, Wendy and Chris at The Mess Room, Debbie Sowter, Bob Carling, all the Sea Folk Sing choir who came along to perform, Ramona Giles for taking photographs, and anyone who came to make a paper boat or say hello to us.