Christmas Event Fills Harbour Town with Soul
Christmas came early to the seaside town of Whitstable, on the northern coast of Kent, last year. The East Quay Venue in Whitstable Harbour hosted their Pre-Christmas Party on 20th December with local band Rubber Biscuit, to get people in the spirit of the season.
The venue is located in the original oyster grading room of the Seasalter & Ham Oyster Fishery Company, which dates back 160 years. The popular wedding venue has also hosted a variety of other events over the years, including concerts, comedy nights, private parties, and wakes. Their building features sea views and a large dining room with a dance floor, stage, and an open plan kitchen. There is also a mezzanine level with a small bar.
Whitstable Harbour lies at the mouth of the River Swale. The area has a history of fishing, diving, and the world-wide trade of timber, coal, and grain. Canterbury and Whitstable Railway Company built the port to accompany their rail line between the two towns. In 1830 that line, also known as the Crab and Winkle line, became the first in the world to carry passengers in steam powered trains. When the harbor opened two years later, 10,000 people attended.
The Whitstable area itself has been inhabited since the Paleolithic era. Oysters appear to have been harvested since Roman times, and Saxon settlements produced salt and traded with other areas via the coast. The town was first recorded in 1086, under the name Witenestaple, which means “the meeting place of the white post” and referred to a local landmark.
Rubber Biscuit is a twelve-piece, Kent-based band that’s been playing wedding receptions, parties, public and corporate events for over 20 years. They consider themselves a “maximum soul and rhythm ‘n’ blues” outfit, but they also perform a wide range of pop, rock ‘n’ roll, funk, disco, and ska tunes. The group’s “big sound” comes from a four-piece rhythm section, a three piece horn section, and up to five vocalists.
Party organiser Luke Gillam says that they advertised in their local newspaper, online, on blackboards in their restaurants, and around town. His advice for other event planners is to “ensure you are properly staffed up and have enough stock” of food and drink on hand. Gillam also notes that “the finer details are key. If those are wrong, then they can snowball into one larger problem” which might jeopardise your get-together.