The charity Ramsgate Arts launched in August 2009 with Love: Hate: Hope: Ramsgate, a beautifully realised film installation in one of the town centre’s empty shops, daring to ask the public what they thought of their town and whether the arts held an interest for them.
The responses gained encouraged the charity to set up a new summer festival for Ramsgate, which has continued since then, celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2019. It is still the largest cultural event in the town. Starting as A Summer Squall in 2010, changing its name to the Ramsgate Festival in 2015 and for the last two years becoming the Ramsgate Festival of Sound, the event has become a highlight in the town’s calendar, supported by Ramsgate Town Council, Arts Council England and Thanet District Council, with the help of many other businesses and individual donors.
Maintaining a major festival as a group of volunteers becomes increasingly difficult as time goes by; the charity’s trustees have been instrumental in its operation since day one. In recent years a paid producer was engaged and now, after its 10 successful years, the charity has decided to hand over the baton to producer Andrew Gibson and his new organisation the Ramsgate Festival of Sound CIC.
Andrew was employed by Ramsgate Arts as festival producer for three years and he brought the concept of a Festival of Sound to the charity. Andrew says:
“We are proud and excited to continue the tradition of Ramsgate’s summer arts festival. This year’s event will be full of world class talent with a week-long programme of performances, talks, workshops and screenings. An open call will be made in February inviting artists to submit works to take part in our Sonic Trail which is bringing visitors from all over the world to our town. Please watch local press and our website www.ramsgatefestival.org for more information
Andrew will be working jointly with Gemma Dempsey, who many will know, being a key member of the festival team since 2018.
Ramsgate Arts wishes Andrew and Gemma every success and will be around to offer support, knowing what a hard job it is to run a large event. And for Ramsgate Arts it is an opportunity to begin a new decade of work. We are proud to announce, following the dismay of the Ramsgate Slide in 2017, that the charity has been awarded its case against Adam Barclay-Faulkner of Bloon, the person responsible for making and installing the slide. Mr Faulkner did not contest the case as it was obvious to Ramsgate Arts that the equipment was not made and the charity was the subject of a rogue trader. The charity hopes it may receive some of the lost costs.
Ramsgate Arts is glad to survive with its great record for creating many successful projects for Ramsgate and Thanet, including Looping the Loop, Thanet Open Studios, Garsington Opera with Opera For All, Pavement Paradise, Take Art Take Pride and the regular Handmade & Vintage Fair. Now the organisation will work alongside other local groups and initiatives to continue to provoke and present culture in the public domain – art for all, even if you don’t know you need it! Here’s to the next decade.