Still no word on whether the River Festival will be saved. A few months back the Lib Dems decided that they wouldn't pay £20k for the policing of the festival and it was duly cancelled - they were happy to put £50k into supporting athletes for the 2012 olympics though.
The Big Weekend went off far better that I expected, probably due to most of Maidstone going to ground. The roads were deserted along with the town in the afternoons. Lots of frustrated Maidstone people didn't get tickets, which is a real shame. Why they couldn't just allocate them on a nearest first basis rather that a nearest bias is beyond me.
Maidstone has only really got two major festivals, the River Festival and the Mela. Rochester seems to be able to do this with much better. They start with the Sweeps festival, a weekend of morris dancing and pseudo pagan celebrations to the Green Man and Beltaine. They go on to celebrate Dickens, with his strong connections with the town and then in December, they have their Dickens Christmas - complete with carol singing outside the cathedral, snow machine and victorian costumes. I'd recommend all three!
This is from this year's Sweeps: