Ah Kent. While you may associate it with being the garden of England, and just full of farms, old buildings and cheap family beach getaways (those are all pretty Kent, let’s be honest), the county boasts some of the best alternative talent in the UK. We aren’t just talking about the fact half of The Rolling Stones hail from Dartford, but Kent seems to be producing a whole handful of bands that are making it into mainstream rock. You’ve got chart topping, Mercury award winning punk duo Slaves from Maidstone and Royal Tunbridge Wells, and hardcore heroes Feed The Rhino from Folkestone – both bands have graced the stages at Reading and Leeds Festival too. Not to mention, Feed The Rhino bassist Oz Craggs owns his own studio in Folkestone (Hidden Track Studios) which has seen Mallory Knox, Neck Deep and Gallows (to name a few) through its doors. Oh and we almost forgot emo frontrunners Moose Blood are from Canterbury, and almost sold out their UK tour which they headed out on in April.
While it’s all well and good we can boast about the fact we have some pretty famous bands under out belt, what we’re best at is promoting up and coming local talent too! Anything from alt rock like Canterbury’s Broken Hands (who have been played on MTV and headed to New York in May), to indie pop rock from Sittingbourne’s Get Inuit (who just came back from SXSW) and Broadstairs’ Fish Tank, to Medway’s AvaGrace who play melodic post hardcore – our appreciation for the versatility of rock music means there’s something to cater for everyone’s ears. Fuoco and Gang, two sludgey grunge bands origionally from Kent, are now living it up in Brighton, but regularly play shows in their home county because of how dedicated the live music scene here is.
Kent is home to a bunch of music venues big and small too. In Folkestone, you’ve got the famous The Leas Cliff Hall (Bullet For My Valentine, Ozzy Osbourne, Queens of the Stone Age) and The Quarter House, as well as the smaller but still wonderful The Harp Restrung. Down the road in Canterbury there’s the The Marlowe Theatre and The Gulbenkian Theatre, and the city is also home to much loved smaller venues like The Lady Luck (a rock’n’roll bar which Creeper played in October), The Penny Theatre, The Ballroom and Club Burrito. Back up again in Thanet you have Ramsgate Music Hall (which won NME’s Britain’s Best Small Venue award in 2015) and Margate Winter Gardens (You Me At Six, Blur and Funeral For A Friend). The most well known venue however, has got to be The Tunbridge Wells Forum, which has been around for 23 years, and used to be a public toilet! Ignoring that fact, the venue has hosted some of the biggest bands on the planet like Green Day, Biffy Clyro and Muse. But the best thing is, local bands play the venue all the time too!
And if you think it’d be a trek to go to a one off gig in Kent to see what all the fuss is about, there are tonnes of festivals here too. City Sounds Project in Canterbury (which Blood Youth and Press To Meco played this year), Forgotten Fields in Royal Tunbridge Wells, Hop Farm Festival in Paddock Wood, and By The Sea in Margate. We also hosted Hevy Festival before it moved to Derbyshire, and Lounge On The Farm too.
So hopefully this post will have informed you about all the amazing things going on in this secret gem of a county. We’ve always been a creative hub, and the 13 districts of varying landscapes of metropolitan cities, fields that seem to go on forever, and copius beach locations means that you’ll never get bored here. Promise.