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Round-up: Arts on the Beach

Children bounced to the beat, air-borne dancers soared and towering puppets stopped revellers in their tracks. Crowds came, crafted, sang and danced as the sun went down on our first creative festival, Arts on the Beach.

Arts on the Beach returns on 15 - 16 June 2024

Here we take a look back at the weekend, and share some of our team’s favourite moments…

Across Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 of September 2023, we saw families flock to the Bay for the debut of a brand new weekender from the Watergate team; an open-to-all festival celebrating the many shades of the ocean. 

Arts On The Beach Eko On Sea Lane

There was a pinch-me moment when Eko the giant puppet walked down the Sea Lane. A silence descended.

— Laura Smith - Events Manager

Trailing processions of children holding flags high, silent disco beach raving and sea shanties from The Old Time Sailors saw kids hoisted on parents’ shoulders, while beachgoers of all ages got stuck into the action. This was a chance for everyone to gather for a packed weekend of art, performance and music; all for free.

Arts On The Beach Bathing Belles (1)

The event was wonderful and pitched perfectly at children. Our kids are already looking forward to it next year.

Eyes on the Blue

This weekend was also a chance to illuminate the role we all play in protecting our ocean’s future. 

Arts On The Beach Cetus The Whale

Beach Guardian helped us set the sustainable tone from the get-go, with a beach clean to open the weekend. Then from craft workshops using found beach materials, to a packed schedule of immersive performances including dance from Prodigal UPG and pirate tales from Seadogs, plus Eko a giant puppet hailing from the seabed; young and old were inspired to do their part to keep the ocean clean – all while Cetus the giant whale made from washed up fishing nets looked on with a beady eye. 

Arts On The Beach Beach Guardian

It was an incredible weekend of fun, friends, swimming lots of free activities, and beaming smiles all round. It showed everyone that you can be what you want to be and inspired young people to think outside the box.

Let's Come Together

This event was a chance to step up and serve the local community. Our team wanted to break down barriers so everyone, from local people to hotel guests, day visitors and staff, could all come together and enjoy a weekend of creative happenings for free. 

Three-generation families were spotted across the beach, camped on picnic blankets as children got stuck into workshops, parents watched on with a drink in hand, and grandparents joined in the action. 

We were  lucky to have jaw-dropping sunsets crowning the action both days – a finale we could only have dreamed of after an unpredictable summer. 

A huge thank you to the team, who worked tirelessly to put this weekend together. Spotted lugging hay bales before sunrise, they all went above and beyond to make this a weekend everyone could enjoy. As an unticketed event, it was hard to gauge how many people would come along, so when the bay started filling up, it was heartening to know those long hours had paid off.

Crowds at Arts on the Beach at Watergate Bay

Look forwards

Striking out from this year’s success, plans are brewing for summer 2024. 

The tides carve their own space in the calendar, setting the festival’s scene and opening up our stage. The tides are perfect for Arts on the Beach 2024 on 15 & 16 June, so we hope to see you all back on the beach then.

Eko the sea giant

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