Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper

Hastings Fat Tuesday Festival 2013

Christmas is a distant memory, spring is some way away, it’s still chilly – but Hastings and St Leonards can look forward to the annual Hastings Fat Tuesday Festival!  Cathy Simpson tells all…. 

Fat Tuesday has become one the town’s most anticipated annual events, attracting people from far and wide, and recruiting enthusiastic volunteers whose efforts raise awareness and money for local charities. This year, in addition to St Michaels Hospice, it will be supporting the Seaview project in St Leonards with its great work for homeless and disadvantaged people in the town and the Xtrax Centre which is a vital hub for young people.

The festival grew from humble beginnings as a night of Cajun and Blues music organised by local Musician Bob Tipler. After meeting Hastings based event organiser Adam Daly, (based on a shared love of the vigorous local music scene), the two set out to create the largest New Orleans themed, Mardi Gras in the UK.

Bob explained: “Having settled on the eccentric idea of building a Mardi Gras in the middle of a UK winter we felt that Hastings with its vibrant music scene, colourful characters and love of dressing up was closer in spirit to New Orleans than, say, Rio de Janeiro!”

Now in its fourth year, it promises to be bigger and better than ever! A five day programme of events running from Friday 8 through till Tuesday 12 February, Hastings Fat Tuesday offers something for everyone. From a tongue in cheek “Cardi Gras” Cake Sale organised by the local Women’s Institute, “unplugged” music sessions in various local bars and restaurants, an Afro/Caribbean Party Night, a Grande Mardi Gras Ball and a colourful Umbrella Parade through the Town Centre which finishes with more live music and a street barbeque. Dressing up in true Mardi Gras fashion is what it’s about – masks, face paint, fancy dress or colourful clothes – anything goes. The wilder, the better!

While we’re thinking about Umbrella Parades, why not come and jolly up your brolly with Radiator Arts? Either bring your own to decorate, or we’ll have a limited number which can be yours for a donation. You’ll have two opportunities for this:

Saturday 2 February, 11.00am – 3.00pm at The Roomz, 33 – 35 Western Road, St Leonards on Sea, TN37 6DJ.  

Saturday 9 February, 11.00am – 3.00pm at Stade Hall, Rock-a-Nore Road, Hastings, TN34 3FJ.

The grande finale falls on 12 February. This year eight venues squeeze in sixteen bands, who each play 20 minute sets in three venues, so each venue hosts six gigs between 8.00pm and 11.00pm – followed by The After Show Party at the Brass Monkey with another great live act and DJ’s – running through till 3.00am.

Mayhem is set to happen as bands crisscross the town to get to their next gig passing groups of people moving on to the next venue to catch a band they’d like to watch. This year is set to be bigger and better than ever with more events, more locations, more bands and three incredibly exciting performances from a very special mystery guest!

Joint organiser Bob Tipler sums the event up. “Our Hastings Fat Tuesday Festival is all about appreciating our local music scene, having a good time and raising some money along the way for local charities.”

Full details of all events, including online ticket office and information on other “fringe” events planned for the festival period can be found on the festival website: or see our own events guide!

Traditionally falling on Shrove Tuesday, “Fat Tuesday” (English for Mardi Gras) is a day of serious partying in some parts of the world, as people let their hair down before observing the restrictions of Lent which starts on Ash Wednesday. (Did you know that the word Carnival derives from the Italian “carne levare” which means to “remove meat” as it is supposed to be banned during Lent?)  As with many early spring and Easter customs Mardi Gras has ancient roots including the pagan Roman customs of Lupercalia and Saturnalia. Tied in to the lunar calendar, the date marks the turning of the year from winter to spring – another reason to celebrate.

Posted 13:37 Saturday, Jan 26, 2013 In: Hastings People

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