Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper
It's that time of year again!

It’s that time of year again! The Cajun Mardi Gras troupe awaits.

Let your hair down at the Fat Tuesday festival

The Fat Tuesday festival is upon us, a chance to let your hair down before submitting to the deprivations of Lent, if you’re that way inclined. Alternatively simply a chance to let your hair down. The organisers have largely stuck to last year’s tried and tested formula, with daytime events at the weekend complementing the evening and late-night happenings on the other nights. Nick Terdre takes a leaf through the programme.

Since its inception in 2009, “Hastings Fat Tuesday has become the largest Mardi Gras celebration in the UK,” says the website. “Our festival borrows heavily from the New Orleans take on Mardi Gras, combining the enjoyment of good music, a flair for dressing-up and partying. All things Hastings excels at!”

ft banner 2And this year it has been expanded to a six-day event, starting on Thursday 4 February with the James Taylor Quartet performing at The Albion pub, aided by DJ Si Ham. Lasting from 7.30pm to 12.30am, this is a ticketed event costing £30 (plus booking fee of £2.84), but the first drink is free and there will taster bites to savour. Early booking is advised as there are only 150 tickets available. Tickets can be bought online or in the pub – which goes for the ticketed events in general.

In fact The Albion, which has been taken over and refurbished by Adam Daly and Bob Tipler, both also part of the Fat Tuesday organisation, has a central role to play as the festival hub. “It’s going to be a great meeting place for all of the many musicians and support staff that make things happen, and there should be impromptu gigs and performances happening throughout,” say the Fat Tuesday team in the new edition of The Stinger.

Friday 5th sees a repeat of the UnConvention music seminar which premiered last year. Details have yet to be posted, but we are promised “loads of great guests and four panels cover[ing] various local, national and international issues facing the music industry today.” The seminar will take place at the Printworks (14 Claremont) from 10.30am to 6pm. Entry is free but a ticket, available through the website, is required.

In the evening comes the Fat Tuesday launch party, 8-11pm at The Albion. Entry is free and the music – pirate punk –will be provided by Matilda’s Scoundrels.

Unplugged Saturday - a cornucopia of acoustic music through the afternoon.

Unplugged Saturday – a cornucopia of acoustic music through the afternoon (John Fox Photos).

Then comes the weekend, which kicks off with Unplugged Saturday, an afternoon of acoustic music provided by 40 acts, including a string quartet, each playing several 15-minute gigs across 16 venues. See the timetable on the website – it’s a brilliant way of showcasing Hastings’ extensive musical talent.

In the evening comes the festival’s dress-up event par excellence – the Grande Mardi Gras Ball. This will be held at UpMarket (ex Venuu) in George Street. Classic R&B will be provided by Devil’s Cup Combo and the Mardi Court will be in attendance – we wait impatiently to see the pictures. Tickets, £15 (plus £2.02 booking fee), are available at Substance (40 Robertson Street) as well as online and from The Albion.

dr savage 4

Festival stalwarts Dr Savage – here refuelling – and the Fat Tuesday 2nd Line Band (John Fox Photos).

Sunday 7th is the occasion of the Umbrella Parade, recreating the spirit of a traditional New Orleans parade. This year the procession will make its leisurely way from Butler’s Gap in George Street to the Observer Building in Cambridge Street. Musical accompaniment will be supplied by Fat Tuesday stalwarts Dr Savage and the Fat Tuesday 2nd Line Band. All you need to join in is a decorated umbrella, and fancy dress is also welcome.

The Observer Building is the epicentre of events on Sunday. If you want to skip the parade you can turn up here from midday onwards for food, beer and music as part of Preservation Sunday, and join the reception for the parade when it arrives.

At around 2pm, still in the Observer Building, the festival switches into avant garde mode as Thee Sunday Sonics takes over, providing a platform for video art, performance and the spoken word – the best in sonic and visual exploration in an afternoon and evening of audio-visual joy, as the website puts it. This is another impressive programme, organised by Danny Pockets and featuring some 30 performances. It’s an event of two halves: through the afternoon until 5pm in the Observer Building and then transferring to the nearby Printworks for an evening session lasting until 11pm. Entry to all the Sunday events is free.

King Size Slim, right, has Slim Monday to himself.

King Size Slim, right, has Slim Monday to himself (John Fox Photos).

There follows Slim Monday, a day of rest before the culmination of the festival. A day of rest for all, that is, except King Size Slim, the “UK’s best up-and-coming blues performer,” who will entertain the masses gathered in The Albion from 7 to 11pm. It’s a chance to rub shoulders with the performers and support crew who will be gathering there to draw breath ahead of the final day.

Yes, the final day, Tuesday 9th, Shrove or Pancake Tuesday. For us the day of the Fat Tuesday Tour, which will see 24 acts playing gigs at 12 venues between 8 and 11.30pm. Eight of them have come via the Academy of Contemporary Music in Guildford, which last year became the festival’s official education partner, Adam Daly tells HOT.

This is also the evening of the Fringe – various acts at various venues outside the main tour. Few details available so far, but we’ve heard that Moorish, the unplugged version of The Moors, will be playing at the Crown pub from 6.30pm.

And finally, wrapping up the festival comes the Great After-Show Party, from 11pm until the early hours. This will be thrown at two venues, the Brass Monkey in Havelock Road and the Grande Elektra club beneath Yates (Robertson Street). Wristbands giving entry to both venues cost £10 (plus £1.74 booking fee).

And after all that no one will reproach you if you need 40 days to recover. Good luck!


If you’re enjoying HOT and would like us to continue providing fair and balanced reporting on local matters please consider making a donation. Click here to open our PayPal donation link.

Thank you for your continued support!

Posted 11:31 Wednesday, Feb 3, 2016 In: Music & Sound

Also in: Music & Sound

More HOT Stuff

    HOT is run by volunteers but has overheads for hosting and web development. Support HOT!


    Advertise your business or your event on HOT for as little as £20 per month
    Find out more…


    If you like HOT and want to keep it sustainable, please Donate via PayPal, it’s easy!


    Do you want to write, proofread, edit listings or help sell advertising? then contact us

  • Subscribe to HOT