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Restored amusement park and live event space Dreamland has received the praise of a UK government report into the regeneration and future of British seaside towns
By Anna Grace on 05 Apr 2019
A new government report has praised theme park and outdoor live music space Dreamland Margate for its role in the successful regeneration of the seaside town.
The House of Lords Select Committee on Regenerating Seaside Towns visited Dreamland for its report entitled ‘The future of seaside towns’, published yesterday (Thursday 4 April).
The report held up Margate as a positive example of coastal regeneration, with Dreamland singled out as one of the most notable contributors to this success.
Referring to both Dreamland and art gallery Turner Contemporary, the report stated: “The emerging arts and cultural scene is having a significant impact on sustaining these two assets in the town and will continue to drive (new) audiences. This follows a long-term strategy for creative and cultural-led regeneration in Margate.”
First opening in 1880, Dreamland was a staple attraction of British seaside town Margate for over a century until the decline in favour of seaside holidays led to the amusement park’s closure in 2003.
Thanet District Council purchased Dreamland in 2013 and brought it back to life in 2015, restoring fair ground rides and landscaping the site to allow for art installations, food stalls, bars and an “eclectic programme of live events”.
Live events take place in Dreamland’s Hall by the Sea (1,000-cap.), which has seen the likes of the Who, the Rolling Stones, Groove Armada and Maribou State.
“Margate remains a benchmark for other seaside towns in terms of what collaborative, arts and leisure-led regeneration can achieve”
The site also has an outdoor Scenic Stage, which has been the setting for the Dreamland Block Party, headlined by Big Narstie, Sunset Sessions featuring Jess Glynne, Dreamland By the Sea festival (Everything Everything, Metronomy, the Libertines) and Gorillaz’ Goldenvoice-promoted Demon Dayz Festival.
Dreamland’s new season begins on Saturday 6 April, with free entry to the site over Easter. The site will play host to Annie Mac, Happy Mondays, Rudimental, Mac Demarco and Rob Da Bank’s Camp Bestival Easter Party.
Dreamland chief executive Eddie Kelmsley welcomes the praise, saying: “Margate remains a benchmark for other seaside towns in terms of what collaborative, arts and leisure-led regeneration can achieve, and we are extremely proud to be part of the story.”
However, Kelmsley stresses that there is still work to be done. “Seaside towns cannot focus only on the summer peaks – there must be a year-round offer,” she says. “This is the goal for Dreamland, as we work towards a full 12-month offer with numerous events planned throughout the year plus our award-winning Halloween event, Screamland, and a brand new Christmas event planned for 2019.”
The Dreamland chief also outlines the importance of including all the local community. “In Margate, it is important that we regenerate not gentrify,” explains Kelmsley. “We must also include tertiary education in conversations and initiatives, so the next generation feel invested in their town’s future – and feel they have a place in it.”
Annual Dreamland Membership starts from £50 and includes unlimited rides and use of the Roller Room, exclusive food and drink discounts and special offers on ticketed events.