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We:Connect Festival

Students of Canterbury Christ Church University, Canterbury College and Canterbury Academy have come together to create an exciting new two-day Festival, programmed, planned and delivered by young people, for young people.

We:Connect Festival will run on the 25 and 26 June, taking place across the Canterbury College campus. Expect live music, theatre, workshops and more in an exciting programme of events.

We:Connect is just one part of Reconnect Presents – a Kent-wide project funded by Kent County Council, providing young people with opportunities that they missed during the Covid pandemic and two years of lockdown. We:Connect is delivered in partnership with Canterbury Festival and in collaboration with Canterbury Christ Church University, Canterbury College and Canterbury Academy.  

With guidance from Canterbury Festival, a committee made up of representatives from the three institutions was created to devise and develop an event that would engage young audiences, showcase emerging talent and provide a much-needed celebration of lockdown ending. With set budgets for costs such as artist fees, technical support, facilities and marketing – the committee set to work and We:Connect rapidly expanded into multiple events.

The Festival begins on Saturday 25 June with a Market Fair. The market will feature young artists and makers from across East Kent with unique art, clothing, jewellery and homewares available. At 2pm you can get involved with the Intro to Zine-making workshop led by arts facilitator and Zine-making maestro Ioana Simion. In this Zine crash-course you’ll learn about the variety and diversity of zines, how they can be used to share information and create belonging within communities.

Not into Zines? Then try your hand at a Samba drumming Workshop led by students and lecturers – full of life and energy, it’s guaranteed to lift your spirits.

From 5pm Canterbury College showcases talented student bands from across Canterbury in Live from the Lanfranc. Expect rock, punk, indie, covers and more as the best of Canterbury’s young musicians hit the stage.

Sunday begins with the African drumming workshop led by Kevin and Simon of Afro-Jazz band Mampama. You’ll learn the basics of African drumming, rhythm and beat making. It’s perfect for beginner or intermediate drummers.

From 1.30pm Canterbury College hosts the Student Theatre Showcase (Lanfranc Theatre) – come and experience some exciting new work performed by Canterbury’s emerging artists. Expect theatre, physical theatre, improv and more.

Closing the event, We:Connect presents a line-up of amazing live bands to play out the afternoon from 3.30pm at the Lanfranc Theatre. Don’t miss Folkestone-based folk-pop solo artist ALHAMATA whose music combines hazy, warm melodies with gorgeous guitar and lush vocals. They’ll be followed by Dear Pariah – whose jaw-dropping soundscape and unique voice are truly phenomenal. Topping off the event are psychedelic cowboys and sonic adventurers Moon Hooligan. From electronic wig-outs to Neil Young-esque ballads – their music is as timeless as their tongue-in-cheek lyrics.

Tickets for many of these events and workshops are limited so advanced booking is advised. We:Connect is intended to be accessible for young people from across Canterbury with tickets ranging from £2.70 to a maximum of £5 for events. Ages vary from event to event, so please check before booking. Alcohol is not permitted at events taking place at We:Connect Festival.

Please note: Due to a combination of factors including the National Rail strike and low numbers at some events – the student committee have made the decision to reschedule a handful of events. All events listed above will take place at Canterbury College. The Anxious Pickle Club and Creativity in Protest workshop will no longer take place over the 25 and 26 June but We:Connect hopes to be able to reschedule these events soon.