Medway Visitor Information Centre (95 High Street)
Rochester, England ME1 1LX

Sweeps Festival
Photo of Sweeps Festival

Medway Council recreates this traditional, colourful and lively festival each year. Local chimney sweeps, Morris sides and folk groups from all over the UK join in the fun.

It takes a special kind of event to last more than a quarter of a century. Medway's Sweeps Festival, with its incredible selection of musical entertainment, an ever-expanding range of activities and worldwide popularity, goes from strength to strength each year.

Details of the Sweeps Festival 2009 are now available in the 2009 Sweeps Festival programme (pdf 972KB).

Lots of exciting activities will be taking place, as always. This year there are even more live gigs. Kate Rusby ( will be playing on Saturday, 2 May. Details of this and other acts can be found in the programme and on the theatre booking website, where tickets for the gigs are now on sale.

The festival will take place from Friday, 1 May to Monday, 4 May, 2009.

Throughout the festival

* High Street - Morris sides from around the country will perform.
* Princes Hall, Corn Exchange - traditional musical instrument fair.
* Rochester Castle Gardens - children’s traditional funfair, real ale tent stalls and festival concert marquee. Take part in a fun session with the Fairyland Trust, learning how to make fairy crowns. Great fun for children, £2 per person.

Festival highlights

Saturday, 2 May

* Rochester Castle Gardens concert marquee, 7.30pm
Kate Rusby, with Kimber’s Men
Kate has been described as the English Dolly Parton - able to tell a simple story well in the form of a song - but when you look this baby-faced scamp who’s still asked to prove she’s old enough to buy wine and then look at her date of birth and musical CV, you might think that there’s been some mistake. In fact, as she releases her latest solo album, Awkward Annie, young musicians are looking at her a role model. Kate will be supported by the five-piece harmony group, Kimber’s Men. Tickets £18.

* Corn Exchange, Rochester, 10pm-1am
Festival Ceilidh with Toothless Mary (caller Phil Bassingdale). Tickets £6.

Sunday, 3 May

* Rochester Castle Gardens concert marquee, 7.30pm
Strawbs, supported by Lupen Crook
Dave Cousins’ iconic progressive folk/rock band has featured Sandy Denny, Rick Wakeman and Hudson and Ford in its line-ups. Hits such as Part of the Union and Lay Down are still played extensively on radio. The band continues to record and write songs at a phenomenal rate and occasionally the full band gets together to perform. Wakeman’s son, Oliver, is now part of the group. Like Dave, Chatham-based Lupen Crook is a singer/songwriter. He is young, supremely talented and original. Tickets £16.
* The Corn Exchange, Rochester, 10pm-1am
Sweeps Ball with The Jezreels Ceilidh Band (caller Ian Petrie). Tickets £6.

Monday, 4 May

* Rochester Castle Gardens concert marquee, 12.30pm
The Dealers - winners of The Folk Factor, 2006. Free.

St. Margaret’s Church, St. Margaret’s Street, Rochester

Saturday, 2 May: 10am-5pm and Sunday, 3 May: 1-5pm

The church will be open to visitors who wish to look around. Refreshments will be available, as well as photographs of local historical interest.

Official Website:

Added by sjnewton on April 14, 2009