Stage set for Hastings Musical Festival

ORGANISERS are busy preparing the final touches for the upcoming Hastings Musical Festival, which kicks off on Monday (March 5).

This year the popular event is in its 105th year and sees thousands of performers from across 1066 Country showcasing their artistic talents at the White Rock Theatre.

Molly Townson, the festival’s chairman, said: “We are expecting it to be bigger and better this year.

“The festival just blossoms all the time and we work hard to keep it up-to-date each year.

“It gets off to a wonderful start on Monday with our piano concerto preliminaries featuring 36 talented pianists from the UK and Europe.”

Bands vying for success at this year’s festival will also be judged by the former lead singer of rock band The Stranglers.

Paul Roberts, who replaced original frontman Hugh Cornwell in 1990, is returning to the annual event to offer his experienced words of advice and encouragement.

Last year the 52-year-old singer was joined by The Who legend Roger Daltrey as a guest judge.

Eight bands have entered this year in the festival’s rock band classes, which will be judged on Wednesday (March 7).

Mr Roberts will also be judging entrants in the pop vocal classes.

Next Friday (March 9) sees schools across the area taking part in the festival’s choir competition.

“This year also marks the festival’s eighth International Piano Concerto Competition on Saturday, March 24, at 6pm.

Miss Townson said: “We aim to honour our two commitments as a charity, the provision of excellent performance opportunities with the input of qualified and experienced adjudicators, and the annual awarding of special grants.

“Last year we were able to award grants totalling £4,250 to 15 young festival performers as they went off to college or conservatoire to continue their studies, and in addition four of these received further grants totalling £4,385 from the John and Irene Foster Charitable Trust.

“We are privileged to have the continued support of our president Petula Clark CBE, a celebrated artiste who began her performance career as a child and is still an international star, and we hope to welcome her once again to this year’s festival.”

For more details about this year’s festival log onto www.hastingsmusicalfestival.co.uk.