ROLL up, roll up, five days of masks, music and mardi gras mayhem begins tonight as Hastings kicks off its annual events calendar, carnival style.
Following on from the success of the first ever Fat Tuesday last year, organisers Adam Daly and Bob Tipler are putting on a mini-festival across the town leading up to the night itself next week. And they are hoping the people of Hastings and St Leonards turn out in their droves to help make this year’s knees-up as colourful, atmospheric and fun-filled as last year.
Mr Tipler - who will be playing with his band The Cajun Dawgs next week - said: “Last year we were overwhelmed with the support we got and so we are coming back even bigger and better.
“Over the next few days there are events that we hope will appeal to people of all ages and from all across the town - building up to Fat Tuesday itself which will pack in 24 hours of live music into one night. This is a true home-grown and unique event - celebrating all the things Hastings is good at.”
It all kicks off tonight at St-Mary-in-the-Castle with a launch party, featuring a screening of the New Orleans documentary Always for Pleasure (doors 6.45pm, entry £3). Tomorrow sees South by South East (SXSE) at The Carlisle, with ten new bands battling it out from 1pm until 8pm.
Also tomorrow Samedi Gras at The Rooms, Western Road, St Leonards, features music, mask-making and a whole host of activities for children. In the evening the same venue will host a gig from punk group White Trash Family. Preservation Sunday starts in the town centre at 1pm with an umbrella parade led by trad jazz favourites The Jazz Caverners.
It will head to the George Street Chess Square and then into The Black Market. Slim Monday at the Brass Monkey sees blues sharpshooter King Size Slim take to the stage, before 24 bands at 14 venues aim to make Fat Tuesday the unmissable music event of the year. There is free entry to all venues with collections in aid of St Michael’s Hospice.
“There really is something for everyone and we hope we can do our bit to help lift the winter gloom and raise as much money as possible for the fantastic work the hospice does,” Mr Tipler added.
This year’s Fat Tuesday has been boosted by £2,000 from Hastings Borough Council and leader Cllr Jeremy Birch said: “Hastings has a rich and varied music scene and the Fat Tuesday festival gives a chance to showcase it. The event shows some of the best side of our town for the benefit of those living here and the visitors we hope it will attract.”