One of Hastings’ biggest tourist attractions, Stade Saturdays, has been hailed a great success by organisers Hastings Borough Council.
Stade Saturdays is a summer-long season of free concerts and performances staged outdoors on the Hastings seafront.
The programme of events, designed to attract visitors to the town and entertain local residents, runs from June through to the beginning of October. Previously funded by Hastings Borough Council (HBC) in partnership with Arts Council England, it is now run by HBC and arts company Parrabbola.
Councillor Peter Chowney, deputy leader of HBC, and lead member for regeneration, said this year the season of events attracted close to 20, 000 people. He added: “The programme included high quality performances in folk, jazz, classical and world music, dance, circus, street arts and all things ‘unplugged’, as well as providing opportunities for local programmers and performers. There was even a day in August – Eight Foot Square – when members of local communities have a chance to show what they can do.”
The programme of events also includes the existing Hastings festival programme, the May Day Jack- in -the-Green celebrations, Hastings Summer FishFest, Seafood and Wine Festivals and the town’s annual visual arts festival Coastal Currents, Afro-Caribbean cultural festival Afrikaba, and the Hastings bonfire night parade.
Cllr Chowney said research has shown that visitors have travelled from all over the country and abroad for a particular show or performance, with 92 per cent saying they had spent money in local shops, cafés, pubs or restaurants during their visits, so helping the local economy. He added: “The Stade Saturdays programme has also been the catalyst for community and education projects led by performers. The education programme undertaken by the internationally famous Hofesh Shechter Company in local secondary schools led to a week-long residency by the company in the Helenswood Academy this December.
“Stade Saturdays help make Hastings famously special. I’m very pleased that, despite the difficult financial climate, Coastal Currents will continue until for at least the next two years, to take us up to the celebrations of the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings in 2016.”