The Canterbury Hub

Latest news from CCCU's Journalism course


Review: Rochester’s superb sweeps festival

Rochester’s annual sweeps festival has come around for another fun filled bank holiday weekend, but how did the event stack up?

Car parking was the first hurdle I faced, searching along the nearby promenade, high street car parks, and even beyond faced to be a big challenge.

It felt as is almost every spot was reserved for permit holders, but I finally found luck in the train station’s multi-story car park which was just across the road.

The High Street

Walking into the high street I was greeted by large crowds gathering Morris dancers, which really set the scene for this folk festival.

Further along the high-street there was a small stage for bands to play whilst guests enjoyed food from the different cafés and restaurants dotted along.

Navigating through the crowded streets was no easy task, but the event staff did a good job managing the crowds.

Along towards the castle, an array of street food and drinks vendors were available giving guests a taste of the world right within Rochester.

I opted for the macaroni and cheese with smoked beef brisket topper from the stall ‘SMOKE’. The slow roasted brisket tasted amazing – too bad the macaroni wasn’t seasoned enough.

With a price tag of £10, the food at the event was far from cheap, but the plenty of options was sure to hold some great flavours.

Castle Gardens

Now for the main event. Up by the towering castle itself a big stage with some of the local bands that know how to please the crowd.

Some great folk bands played up at the stage with banjo and fiddle playing that felt apt for the event.

There was plenty of seating, although due to the big turnout they were already taken by the afternoon.

Despite the light rain, nothing was deterring any of the guests from ruining their day out.

The castle itself was open, allowing visitors to explore the historic site itself and get a better view of the town from the top.

There were some interesting stalls by the castle gardens, with offerings such as fudge, slush puppies and most importantly – beer.

Whilst I didn’t try any of the family entertainment, there was a good range for parents to enjoy with their kids, such as the big ferris wheel and haunted house.

Overall, I was pleased with how the event has evolved over the years and there wasn’t a dull moment throughout the day.