Herne Bay Cartoon Festival 2023 Preview

Poster cartoon © Martin Rowson

Royston Robertson writes:

Cartoonists will be heading to Kent next weekend for the annual Herne Bay Cartoon Festival, where they will be drawing live and raising a glass to ten years of the popular event.

This year’s theme is “Life’s a Beach!”, a nod to the fact that the festival’s live event will be held at the Beach Creative gallery not Herne Bay Pier, where it had been since 2017.

This is because the people who run the pier took exception to some of the political content at the 2022 festival, and this year presented the organisers with a list of demands about what they could or could not draw. In the interests of free expression it was decided to hold the event elsewhere.

The cartoonists will be drawing cartoons on big boards and canvases, making seaside peep boards, drawing caricatures, hosting workshops and creating a big strip cartoon at Beach Creative on Saturday 5th August from 2pm and Sunday 6th August from 12 noon.

A sneak peek at some of the exhibition cartoons, from © Guy Venables, © Kathryn Lamb, © Jeremy Banx & © Royston Robertson

An exhibition called “Life’s a Beach!” opens at Beach Creative on Friday 4th August. As ever, it will feature a huge variety of gags and political cartoons responding to the festival theme.

Beach Creative is at Beach House, Beach Street, Herne Bay CT6 5PT. The exhibition runs until Thursday 17th August. The gallery is open daily 10am-4pm.

Poster cartoon © Chris Madden

Running alongside the main exhibition, in the Rossetti Room at Beach Creative, is “End Captivity Forever”, the exhibition organised by the PCO with Whale and Dolphin Conservation, which was recently shown at the House of Commons. There will be free drawing workshops in association with this exhibition.

Poster cartoon © Chris Burke

Already open is an exhibition called “Duchamp and the Cartoonists”, curated by David Cross, at the Seaside Museum. It features cartoons, photos, and other artefacts from the 2013 Marcel Duchamp arts festival where the cartoon event started and also celebrates the past ten years.

The original festival marked 100 years since the French conceptual artist stayed in the town. “I am not dead; I am in Herne Bay,” he famously wrote on a postcard. Duchamp was himself a cartoonist and the show features some of his work.

The Seaside Museum is at 12 William Street, Herne Bay CT6 5EJ and is open Tuesday to Saturday 11am-4pm. The exhibition runs until Saturday 9th September

Cartoonists attending over the live event weekend are: Nathan Ariss, Jeremy Banx, Andrew Birch, Sarah Boyce, Dave Brown, Des Buckley, Chris Burke, Ben Chilton, Pete Dredge, Clive Goddard, Alex Hughes, Tom Johnston, Kathryn Lamb, The Surreal McCoy, Glenn Marshall, James Mellor, Rob Murray, Dean Patterson, Royston Robertson, Zoom Rockman, Martin Rowson, Pete Songi, and Guy Venables.

For updates, follow @HBCartoonFest on Twitter, HBCartoonFest on Facebook and @HBCartoonFestival on Instagram.

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