Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper
Beatles Day - photo by Tony Ham

Beatles Day – photo by Tony Ham

Hastings Beatles Day: Sunday 7 April

Hastings Beatles Day is run in aid of charity and is a day for many musicians to share their appreciation of the pop band. This year there are 96 bands over four stages playing Beatles songs. Jude Montague talks to performance manager Gillian Payne about what’s involved in Hastings Beatles Day at White Rock Theatre.  

Hastings Beatles Day is in aid of local charity The Sara Lee Trust which helps people affected by cancer, and other life-threatening illnesses. This year there will be over 96 bands over four stages playing Beatles songs or any songs associated with the Beatles.

Twenty-five years ago local musician Pete Prescott wanted to pay tribute to his brother Stephen who passed away in 1972. The two musical brothers had a shared love of the Abbey Road album. In 2000, as a tribute to Stephen, Pete wanted to play side B of Abbey Road at Pissarros.

“Word got out and other musicians asked to play as well. As each one was added to the list, the day grew longer. It was packed all day. They ran out of beer and it was a huge success and the following year 100 people came. Each year it got bigger and bigger.”

This year there will be 96 bands performing over four stages – last year Gillian had to add an extra stage as more performers came forward. If you apply, you play. Each band gets 15 minutes to play and it’s plug in and play. The youngest performer so far was aged seven. One of the performers is a Brit Award winner called Blair McKichen, who won his award for the 2004 song Your Game after it became a hit for Will Young.

The Autistix band have two members with autism and Gillian describes them as having a unique sound. Erin Colley, 14, who played in the Acoustic Room last year and now has a band behind her, will be performing on the main stage.

Beatles Day - Tony Ham

Beatles Day – photo by Tony Ham

Asked to pick a favourite Beatles song Gillian says ‘I love Blackbird, Dave Grohl does an amazing cover.’ My choice is All You Need is Love because of the amazing expanding chorus at the end with its optimism and inclusivity.

Hastings Beatles Day supports the Sara Lee Trust which provides free complementary therapy and counselling to support people’s wellbeing when they’re going through such an awful time. The Trust also supports the person’s family and carers – it’s never just one person that’s affected by cancer. Last year they raised £17,000.

The work began over five years ago. The committee had everything organised before going into lockdown. So for two years they put an online show together with the help of Isolation Station. Gillian says, “We were delighted to get back to normality and seeing performers play live. We are celebrating our 25th year this year.” She also welcomes bands to book now to perform at next year’s event – everyone who applies gets to play!

Hastings Beatles Day: Sunday 7 April, White Rock Theatre, doors open to the public at 11am. Three of the four stages kick off at 12pm and the fourth at 2pm.

Find out more on their Facebook page.

Beatles Day - photo by Tony Ham

Beatles Day – photo by Tony Ham


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Posted 11:49 Friday, Apr 5, 2024 In: Music & Sound

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