The Rats Bay Shindig – a weekend of arts, culture and river trips. Plus, good news from the Coastal Communities Fund.

A new family friendly extravaganza of festivities is taking place on Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th April, when the area surrounding Sun Pier in Chatham will come alive with arts and culture between 11am and 5pm each day.

rats bay

Overlooking the pier, Sun Pier House is opening the doors to the new Sun Pier Gallery and Tearoom for the first time. With panoramic river views, it’s set to become a scenic retreat in the busy town centre and will launch with a large exhibition of work by the 15 resident artists:  ‘Presenting, Sun Pier House’ will incorporate a variety of art, craft and fashion.

The weekend also witnesses the launch of the first charter boat trips in a generation from the newly refurbished Sun Pier, with the Sailing Barge Edith May and Jetstream Tours providing unique river experiences for all ages. On dry land you’ll find the inaugural Sun Pier Arts Market, a new outdoor market set to take place regularly throughout the year. Stallholders will be offering a variety of work to buy, food to sample, activities to try and classic carnival games for all the family.

The Rats Bay Shindig has been instigated by the managers of new creative venue Sun Pier House, with the intention to bring some much needed life back to the west end of Chatham High Street. Over the course of the two days there is a full spectrum of entertainment on offer, including art workshops, live music performances, river trips, dance classes, exhibitions, history tours, evening functions and a Sunday night cult film screening. It’s a weekend not to be missed!

For enquiries please contact Heather Burgess on 01634 812 805 or

In the past two years, the Medway art scene has seen a massive boom of activity in the west end of Chatham, with Sun Pier House, Printed Wonders, Coalshed Press and the Nucleus Hub all based there. This is set to expand further, with news that Medway Council was successful in its bid for funding from the Coastal Communities Fund. Granted £598,525, the council bid states:

“This project aims to drive the regeneration of Rochester and Chatham High Street by developing business units within existing but currently redundant space around Sun Pier House and The Arches. The area will be provided with incubation space and social enterprise support provision for cultural/creative industries. The project aims to stimulate activity in the creative arts and provide specialist training for the unemployed through an innovative “Art for Work” programme, providing access to employment in this growing business sector.”

For join in a conversation about the fund, search #coastalcommunitiesfund on Twitter.

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