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St Leonards Festival is back!

The return of St Leonards Festival

A summer isn’t a summer without St Leonards Festival pitching up in Warrior Square. August sees the return of this community-minded festival with a fabulous and colourful line up and special adjustments to stay Covid-aware. Erica Smith checks out the treats in store for Saturday 14 August.

I designed this year’s St Leonards Festival programme, so I’m in a privileged position to tell you who is performing and what’s happening. This information is so ‘hot off the press’ that Fastprint haven’t even finished printing the programmes yet!

Warrior Square Gardens will be divided in to four zones – there will be a Music and Dance stage, a Circus Big Top, a Hastings Storytelling Festival Marquee and an area for community stalls and food. The main programme runs from noon until 6pm, followed by a special evening event with illuminated aerial performances.

A big welcome

The festival starts at noon with a massive ‘Drum-in’ from a gathering of our local drumming circles to wake everyone up and get us in the mood. This will be followed by short welcoming speeches from the Mayor and Council Leader Kim Forward. We hope that the wonderful bearded eco-minded drag queen Timberlina will MC the day’s events, but she is still to confirm that she can squeeze St Leonards into her busy schedule.

Treats in store

Half a String bring their own stage!

Nana Tsiboe will perform in the Storytelling Zone

St Leonards Festival always offers entertainment for all ages and with acts from different cultures and musical genres. The circus and story-telling zones both have a rolling programme of performers and workshops intended for children and families. Dulce Duca, Xena Flame, Circus Pazaz and UK African Acrobats will raise the roof of the Big Top with their daring exploits whilst Nana Tsiboe, Isabella Bicycle and Half a String will tell tales like you’ve never heard before in the Hastings Storytelling Festival Marquee. Alex D’Great will also run a calypso workshop in the Storytelling area, as well as performing on stage in the Music and Dance zone.

Message From The Ravens will play on the main Music and Dance stage

Two local bands to watch out for on the main stage are Frank from Blue Velvet and the newly formed and soon-to-be-massive Message from the Ravens. Both these local bands have built up big followings and it will be a privilege to hear them play to their home crowd in Warrior Square.

Frank from Blue Velvet will be playing to a home crowd.

There will also be spoken word and music from Eggtooth’s talented young performers.

Circus Pazaz in the Circus Zone

Showmi Dance Company

Dance dance dance!

As well as lots of music to make you want to dance, there are dancers as diverse as The St Leonards Dance Troupe, the Bangladeshi Forum, Aretha Dance’s bellydancing and Showmi Dance Company. Aretha Dance and Showmi will run dance workshops to get you moving to the grooves.

Part of the community

There is always a community zone at St Leonards Festival, and this year is no exception – this is where you will find stalls for local groups and information about what’s happening. Plus food stalls and ice cream.

The Lightwalkers – one of three illuminated performances happening in the evening.

Evening entertainment

The main festival ends at 6pm – but the magic continues into the evening. At 8.15pm and 9.30pm there will be aerial displays from Diamond and Octo – and a promenade performance from The Lightwalkers.

Eco-minded

St Leonards Festival has been polystyrene free since 2006! This year, people are asked to bring their own bottles of water with them to save buying plastic ones – and to come on foot or by bike, bus or train.

Staying happy and healthy

The festival has always been an alcohol-free event. Additionally this year, the organisers remind us to be Covid-aware: “We encourage you to take a lateral flow test 24 hours before & 48 hours after the festival. Please stay home if you or a close
contact has Covid symptoms. Give other people plenty of space and wear a mask in busy areas. You will be asked to register your attendance using the QR codes on site and to use the hand sanitising stations.”

Volunteers needed!
The festival organisers are looking for people to help out by volunteering for a two-hour shift as part of the day. If you would like to help, please contact Maria at 18 Hours: maria@18hours.org.uk.

St Leonards Festival is on Saturday 14 August. The daytime events run from noon to 6pm. In the evening there are two illuminated performances – starting at 8.30pm and 9.15pm. The event is held in Warrior Square Gardens.
You can find out more on the St Leonards Festival website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.

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Posted 09:08 Friday, Jul 30, 2021 In: Community Arts

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