22/06/2015 08:04 BST | Updated 18/06/2016 06:59 BST

Is the Counter-Culture Revolution Coming to Margate's Dreamland?

Dreamland sits firmly on Margate's seafront, the gentle decay of its 1930s facade blending into the line of distressed shop fronts along Marine Terrace.

It has been closed for over a decade. But June 19 sees the amusement park's re-birth, and with it, the resurgence of a seaside town that, along with many of its ilk, crumbled with the advent of cheap overseas flights in the 1970s.

It has had a tumultuous history, from its glory days in the 1960s, when it had 2.5 million annual visitors, to its closure ten years ago, where developers were set to build housing on the plot.

Often considered to be the oldest surviving amusement park in Great Britain, Dreamland dates back to the early 1860s. Known as the 'Hall by the Sea', it was operated by the famous circus owner, 'Lord' George Sanger.

The park changed hands many times over the decades, finally closing in 2005 following years of decline. There were plans to turn it into a retail and residential site.

It was sold to a regeneration company for £20 million, but the local council - Thanet - finally bought it in September 2013 using a Compulsory Purchase Order.

The Dreamland Trust emerged from the campaign to save the venue. It raised finance and hired a team to lead the project. At the helm of the Kent-coastal project is the legendary Red or Dead designer Wayne Hemingway.

Hemingway has long hailed the hipster revolution in Margate - brushing aside accusations that all young creatives do is price locals out of the market. Instead he hails these people as 'place makers' - coming, making a place better, then moving on to work their magic else. He cites east London as one example.

"It's great how we have these urban pioneers," says Hemingway. "They've done Shoreditch, now they're doing Margate. In 10 years they might go and do Blackpool. These place makers in the community are making Margate sing."

If all goes to plan, the re-imagined Dreamland will be an 'old-fashioned, yet oh-so-fashionable brand' according to the designer.

"It's got to feel risky and subversive, edgy, homespun and indie. The staff uniform is dungarees and slogan t-shirt saying 'do you want sauce with that'. And the more tattoos the better."

Helping to create this is M&C Saatchi who have even been called to 'get the tone of voice right' in all the wording - including the ride descriptions, of which there are 18, including the grade II listed Scenic Railway. This lovingly restored ride is Britain's oldest roller-coaster, and will open be operational some time after the official opening date, restoration work pending.

But this will be a living space: the site and the rides are a canvas. Filling the space will be live performance, consistently evolving and carefully curated.

"There is a great history of circus at Dreamland," says Rebecca Ellis, the public programmes and heritage manager. "We will be producing programmes that tap into this in a contemporary way.

"This innovative programming will become part of the DNA of the park, and ties in with the ethos of up-cycling, regenerating and reviving. We will have year-round events, for example, we will be launching the DD club - the Dreamland dancing club.

"On top of that, we'll have traditional travelling shows, like high divers who dive into tiny pools, for example, as well as comedy cabaret. The site is essentially a festival venue that can hold thousands, and we want to build a local audience.

"The vibe we are aiming for is Southbank meets the pier. It's fun, and a bit cheeky, but there's still a sincerity at the heart of it."

With tickets for the opening night 'hullaballoo' sold out, signs are positive, but many must be waiting with baited breath for a happy ending to this long-running saga.

According to Hemingway, this is already happened.

"Around 17,000 members of the community signed up to support a trust, which in a town the size of Margate is absolutely amazing," he says.

"This is because it has captured people's imaginations because a battle has been fought; a battle of people power, and it has been won."