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The Great Lines might get its music festival after all
Plus new life for The Fire Station, Electric Medway is this weekend, and Chatham joins the MCU
Editor’s note: For the past year, attempts have been made to get a large-scale music festival off the ground on the Great Lines. While previous efforts have failed, could a new proposal actually see 15,000 attendees and a world-class lineup next year? Full details are below. Plus, we’ve got news on the new incarnation of the Fire Station in Chatham, details of this weekend’s Electric Medway festival, and a familiar location popping up in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Local Authority is only viable thanks to our paying supporters, so if you enjoy what we do, please consider joining them to ensure we can keep this thing going.
The Great Lines might get its music festival after all
Long-time readers of Local Authority might remember the strange saga last year of The Great Lines Music Weekend. TGLMW, as no one called it, was meant to be a four-day music event featuring wildly different types of music each day. Ultimately, the event collapsed after the promoters sold tickets for events they hadn’t obtained licences for that it was made very clear that wouldn’t be receiving.
Excitingly, the prospect of a large-scale festival on The Great Lines is back on the table once again, but unlike the previous debacle, it appears the current promoters involved might actually have some idea of what they are doing.
Medway Council this week granted approval for a large-scale music festival to take place on The Great Lines annually from 2024 to 2027, subject to coming to an acceptable hire agreement with the council and doing all of the box-ticking exercises that this type of thing requires.
The key difference compared to the previous efforts to organise a festival on the site is that the licence that was somehow granted to the previous organisers earlier in the year has now been acquired by Festivals Master Ltd, a company that does have form in this field, even if they don’t in naming companies in a non-irritating way.
Festivals Master Ltd is operated as part of the VW Group, which owns and operates the Victoria Warehouse venue in Manchester, a large capacity events space that sees internationally recognised touring acts play there. They also operate a number of festivals around the UK which, unlike the previous operators, don’t seem to be embroiled in controversy.
Inevitably, there will be grumbling about this plan too. While much is still to be decided, the current plan is for the event to take place on the first weekend of August next year, with a capacity of 15,000. Medway Council’s own documents set out that the intent is to grow that figure in subsequent years. Capacity won’t be the only issue causing concern either. Issues around transport and traffic management are likely to rear their head again, as will worries about noise.
Despite this, it seems far more likely that this event can get off the ground than the previous attempts. The early plans already seem more coherent than anything put together by the previous organisers and include a range of community initiatives like free tickets. Combined with the substantial hire fee that Medway Council will be eagerly looking at in a time where even Christmas lights are a budgetary step too far, it’s quite easy to imagine the Great Lines might be getting its music festival after all.
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A new name for the Fire Station
Back in July, the Fire Station Brassiere in Chatham closed following a difficult number of years trading at their unique location under the arches of the New Road Viaduct. The conversion of the former fire station into a high-quality restaurant for Chatham had been a banner project for Medway, and it was unfortunate to see it unceremoniously end.
Last week, new signage appeared on the building promoting a new venture called Gurkha Fire, representing a new start for both the building itself and one of Chatham’s best regarded restaurants.
Gurkha Fire is a new venue from the owners of Dylan’s, a Nepalese and Indian restaurant in the Intra area of Chatham that has quietly become one of the highlights of Medway’s dining scene. Dylan’s is run by former Dishoom senior chefs Keshav Kandel and Raju Kandel, holds a perfect 5-star rating on TripAdvisor and was recently named the best Indian restaurant in Kent by KentLive.
The new restaurant will see them offer an expanded menu, and create up to 15 jobs. You aren’t going to be able to try it just yet though, as the location looks unlikely to open until February next year.
Chatham is part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe
Lots of us suffer from superhero fatigue these days. In a world with abundant content, the unrelenting march of comic book films and TV series can start to feel like a lot. After gradually weaning myself off of most of the Marvel content deluge, they managed to suck me back in by using a low blow: Chatham, of course.
The latest season of Loki has just started streaming on Disney Plus, and it’s a borderline non-sensical mess of time travel and alternative timelines. But more importantly, a familiar location to Medway pops up in the second episode.
Yes, like so many other productions these days, Disney have been dropping some cash here in Medway and filming at Chatham Historic Dockyard. While most of the series was shot at Pinewood Studios, for some reason they rocked up in Chatham to shoot one scene at where.. something happens. I’ve watched the thing and I couldn’t tell you. But there’s a lot of CGI and many people get beaten up. Super.
The Daily Mail noticed that both Tom Hiddleston and Owen Wilson were in town last summer to shoot the scene, and now it’s available for all to watch.
Chatham Dockyard is regularly used to shoot major productions. In recent years, productions like Bridgerton, Call the Midwife, and Mission: Impossible have all shot at the site.
Electric Medway is this weekend
This weekend sees the return of Electric Medway, a unique digital festival taking place in various locations across our towns.
For this edition, the festival is popping up in some unlikely places for impressive visual events and community workshops and activities. Tomorrow will see a Digital Takeover Day at Luton Library while Sunday evening will see immersive light installations around Melville Court in Brompton. Throughout the whole festival, an exhibition will be taking place at Sun Pier House in Chatham.
You can view the full programme of activities on the Electric Medway website.
🗣️ KentOnline has interviewed Oliver Tomlin, Medway’s youth parliament representative.
✍️ There are just a few days left to take part in Medway’s impenetrable Local Plan consultation. Maybe we will finally be free of this nightmare. Maybe.
🚔 Kent’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Matthew Scott, has proposed building more prisons and filling them. Presumably with criminals.
📷 Chatham is to receive £284,000 to fund additional CCTV and environmental improvements to make the High Street safer. That’ll do it.
🚌 Arriva cancelled buses using Luton Road on Wednesday after rocks were thrown at services on the road.
🍺 KentOnline’s Secret Drinker has been to review The Britannia on Gillingham High Street. It’s not exactly a rave.
Paid supporters of Local Authority receive extra editions of the newsletter every week. This week, Steven sat down to interview artist and founder of Medway Philosophy Cafe, Alfie Killick. We also published our quarterly Voice of the Leader and Voice of the Opposition columns, which have attracted.. some comments.
This week, our paying supporters will receive an interview with Stephen Morris, author of DIY: A History of Music in Medway, our monthly event guide and Steven investigates just how many people in Medway are living in absolute poverty.
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We’ll also be at the Rochester Vintage & Artisan Market’s early Christmas market tomorrow on Rochester High Street. We’ll be next to the Blue Boar Lane car park between 10am and 3.30pm with our full Medwayish range and Local Authority subscriptions. Come and say hi and pick up some Medway-related gifts for your friends and/or enemies.
Music that soundtracked the creation of this newsletter: For perhaps the first time ever, no music was playing as this edition was written.