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The Chatham Maritime Food & Drink Festival for 2021 is regrettably cancelled

Chatham Food and Drink Festival

Regretfully the annual May Bank Holiday Chatham Food and Drinks Festival 2021, including the Medway Sunlight Rotary Club Charity Dragon Boat Challenge, will not take place this year due to the pandemic.

 The producers have been looking at ways to make the event feasible in light of the government’s road map but with the ultimate goal being to deliver an amazing experience for everyone and keep our community safe, it was felt that we should look forward to 2022 and the Platinum Jubilee 4-day extravaganza.

Bill Parkinson from Medway Sunlight Rotary Club said “we know just how much people enjoy both events and the money raised at the Dragon Boat Challenge allows us to support numerous charities and other worthwhile causes, but we decided that we just could not go ahead this May. Although great progress has been made towards us all getting back to normality the government’s roadmap does not allow large events to take place until later in the year and we really want to make the event as safe as possible for everyone

But we will be back, bigger and better in 2022 !  Make a note of the dates as the Bank Holiday is later due to the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee i.e.  3rd – 5th June, with the Dragon Boat Challenge on Sunday 5th June 2022.  Watch out also for news over the coming months as planning gathers pace!”

Celebrating our Maritime heritage and giving local residents an event that they can enjoy and feel pride in

Our festival continues to build on the success of previous years offering food and drink from award winning local producers. We offer a wide range of locally produced foods showcased alongside foreign gastronomic delights, together with beer, wine and cider producers to titilate the tastebuds. With so much scrumptiousness available there is sure to be something to tempt even the most jaded palate.

More than just food…

The 3 day festival will be supported by some of Kent’s finest musicians with the bandstand alive with different types of music.  Once details have been finalised for the 2019 event this section will be updated.    

The festival is on the riverside at Chatham Maritime and will be clearly signposted. It’s free to attend and there is parking available.

This page will be updated as details of the activities and timetable become available but for up to the minute information follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

To help you on the day please download a festival programme. 

Food and Drink

We have a fantastic range of food and drink producers to tempt and tickle your taste buds…

A Taste of Thailand | Anno Distilliers | Baked by Shannon | Car Designs | Cee Cees Catering | Copper Rivett | Demelza | Enzos Bakery | Face Me Fabulous | Festimex | Fine Food Land | Gillingham Scouts Group | Gray Catering | Greek2Go | Green Apron | Harmony Crystals | Heavenly Sausage | Joannes Preserves | John Beaney | Kent Cider Company |      Kentish Soapery | Love Prosecco | Medway Food Bank | Mighty Fine Things | Nadia Hits | the Spot Crepes | Poppadoms | Raclette Melt | Rad Burger | Riverford Organics | Simply Ice Cream | Spanish Homemade | Stoned Pizza | Taco Bill | The Brownie Edit | The Cosy Eskimo | The Crusty Pie Company | The Larder | The Roaming Buffalo | The Splendid Coffee Company | Thomas Cookie | Total Jerk | Velicious | Whitstable Oyster Fishery | Willow Beans | Wise Owl Cider

Live Music

We have fantastic music from local bands and a DJ throughout the festival.

Saturday 25th May

11.00am – Cloud Nine Jazz
12.00pm – Fred Clark
13.00pm – Brendan Power & Joe Jones
14.00pm – The Quiet Americans
15.00pm – John Doggeral & the Bad Poets
16.00pm – The Cream Crackered band
17.00pm – Rachel Lowrie

Sunday 26th May

11.00am – The Peninsula Big Band
12.00pm – Luna Blues
13.00pm – Ani Graves
14.00pm – The Old Country Crows
15.00pm – Jonica Thomas
16.00pm – Dragon Boat Prize Giving
17.00pm – Covered

Monday 27th May

11.00am – Corin
12.00pm – The Quiet Americans
13.30pm – Rough Common
14.30pm – The Spittin’ Feathers
15.30pm – Lindy Hoppers
16.30pm – The Old Country Crows

Dragon Boats!

This is the ‘flagship’ charity event for the Medway Sunlight Rotary Club and one that is a real highlight for the spectators and those involved.

The Dragon boats are forty foot long, elaborately decorated Chinese war canoes with a dragon’s head and tail attached. You provide 16 ‘volunteers’ to paddle a boat plus a drummer to beat out the rhythm for everyone to paddle to (which everyone tends to ignore!).

The Dragon Boat challenge for 2019 takes place at Basin 2 Chatham Maritime on Sunday 26th May.  This is the fifth year that Medway Sunlight Rotary Club has organized this fun event and it looks like this year will be bigger and better than ever.

Teams arrive from 9.00am
Races from 10.30am, finals at 4.00pm
Medals and trophies at 4.30pm

Entry forms and all relevant information can be found on their Medway Sunlight Rotary website.

All the teams that entered last year had a brilliant time and provided a fantastic spectacle for the thousands of spectators who thronged the side of Basin 2 to cheer on their favourite team as they enjoyed the wide range of food and drink available at the Food and Drink Festival.

Take a look at Medway Sunlight Rotary Club’s video for the 2017 Dragon Boat Challenge.


The festival is held on the riverside by basin 2 and the marina.

The park and the dockside will be lined with food and drink stalls and the bandstand will host live music from local acts and a DJ throughout the festival.

Lots of free parking...

This year, there will be ample free festival parking at the Universities at Medway campus, a short walk to the event site. The route to the parking, and the walk from the car park to the festival site, will be clearly signed. Blue Badge holders will be able to use a designated car park next to the festival. Make sure you follow the correct signage to the car park you need.

If you’re coming via satnav, use ME4 4TB and then follow signs to the event (or if you’re a Blue Badge holder use ME4 4QZ and then follow signage to Blue Badge parking). To avoid any confusion, turn off your satnav once you see the event signs.

We’re asking festival goers not to park on St Mary’s Island, as it impacts on residents. And finally, just a reminder that Medway Council Enforcement Officers work over the festival weekend so unfortunately if you park illegally you do risk a parking ticket.

A huge thank you to our Sponsors!


Chatham maritime Trust run the festival every year using en event management company, The Event Umbrella,  to organise and manage the stalls and entertainment.

If you are a trader wishing to take space at the festival please register with The Event Umbrella.

What our visitors say...

Your festival today was fun and going well, although very wet! That is until we kept our children out of the rain in the children’s tent.

Brilliant! We went on all 3 days. Obviously a shame it rained on Monday but that is out of our control, Dragon Boat racing was fab, food and drink was awesome and music and atmosphere was brilliant. Same again next year please.

Absolutely awesome day – down to the wire with the Dragon Boat racing – loved every minute.

Thanks for a fantastic, well run event. Lots of really nice people & helpful staff. We’d love to do it all again.

Great event & great weekend at Chatham Maritime Food & Drink Festival, well organised, well attended & lots of lovely people!

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