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Big Day Out festival goes with a BANG

PUBLISHED: 15:14 08 July 2009 | UPDATED: 10:49 23 August 2010

MORE than 20,000 attended a weekend of top music, dancing and boat racing. The Gravesham Big 7 Festival, a week of entertainment organised by Gravesham Borough Council and sponsored by Kentish Times Newspapers, ended with two entertainment-filled days at

MORE than 20,000 attended a weekend of top music, dancing and boat racing.

The Gravesham Big 7 Festival, a week of entertainment organised by Gravesham Borough Council and sponsored by Kentish Times Newspapers, ended with two entertainment-filled days at the weekend.

Entertainment started at 5.30pm on Friday when Gravesend streets were filled with colourful streamers, lanterns and bright costumes as the Big Carnival wound its way from the Woodville Halls, Windmill Street, Gravesend, through the High Street and down to the Gravesend Promenade the launch the festival weekend.

The procession was produced by carnival arts specialists Kinetika and arranged by Gravesham Borough Council, North West Kent Racial Equality Council (NWKREC) and Cohesion Plus to promote positive community relations.

Councillor David Turner, deputy leader of Gravesham Borough Council, and cabinet member for communities, said: "The success of this fantastic week-long event brought together in excess of 20,000 people from both inside and outside the borough of Gravesham.

"The festival was enjoyable for everyone with its host of free activities and Big Day Out went off with a bang thanks to our fantastic main stage acts and firework finale."

Nine acts including Britain's youngest baritone Matthew Crane, Four by Four Youth Bhangra Group and singers Kwayedza Kureya and Claudia-Jane Morgan got crowds singing and dancing at the Big Gig at the Gravesend Promenade on Friday.

Gurvinder Sandher, assistant director of North West Kent REC, said: "I was very pleased with how the event went. Months of hard work have gone into pulling everything together and I would like to pay tribute to our partners Gravesham Borough Council for all their commitment and effort in making this happen.

"It was so pleasing to see a range of culturally diverse artists and music styles on stage and I feel that this was the biggest Big Day Out Festival to date. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves and I hope we can do something even biggest next year."

Juniors got the annual Gravesend Summer Regatta underway when their skiffs hit the water on Friday evening and there was more racing to follow on Saturday when the adult races took to the water.

The Regatta has been a major event in the town's calendar for hundreds of years. The Gravesend Regatta Committee has been organising rowing events on the Thames since 1698.

On Saturday crowds gathered for the Northfleet Carnival. The parade started at Springhead Road, Northfleet, and worked its way through Hall Road, Perry Street, Pelham Road and on to Ordnance Road. Each of the colourful floats collected money for different charities.

Events also continued at Gravesend Promenade on Saturday with the Big Day Out. The entertainment was opened by students from the Hayley-Lou's School of Dance, based in Shears Green School, Northfleet. A group of 40 dancers aged two to 17 put on an American-themed show inspired by the American Independence Day.

Principal Hayley Ollier, from Gravesend, said: "My pupils have been rehearsing hard for the last couple of months and their effort showed after a top performance, as usual. Thank you to everyone who took part and helped on the day it was a huge success and I look forward to doing it again next year."

Country singer Eve Sellis kicked off the night's musical entertainment followed by jazz group Goosebumps, retro disco groovers The Barstewards and Bhangra producer Sukshinder Shinda. The event was headlined by Take That tribute act Fake That and finished with a colourful firework display.

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