THE giant marquee is up, the ales are settling and the revellers are getting ready - it can only mean one thing: the town’s annual Hastings Beer and Music Festival is about to get underway.
Last night (Thursday) saw the Battle of Hastings Proms take place, with thousands of classical music fans expected to have joined in with the pomp and circumstance.
But tonight (Friday) the main festival gets going in earnest, with Hastings jazz legend Liane Carroll headlining at the 4,500 person capacity temporary venue in Alexandra Park.
The award-winning singer/pianist will be supported by power pop outfit Sarah G and the Other Three, and a set of soulful upbeat jazz and blues from Victoria Howarth Band.
Tickets for tonight’s show, which runs from 6pm until 11.30pm are £10 in advance or £12 on the door.
Saturday is split into two sessions - with a family event in the afternoon and another night of music in the evening.
Between noon and 5pm, there will be a host of fun for locals of all ages, with performances from Beve and the Beatroots, Fusion Street Dance and Sambalanco as well as a showcase of up-and-coming new local bands. Tickets for this section are available on the gate, priced either £5 for a family or £2 for adults and £1 for children.
Then, from 6pm until 11.30pm, a quintet of top local bands take to the stage in a bid to crank up the atmosphere.
1066 Rockitmen, MT Vessells, SPIN, Cushty and Beve and the Beatroots will all plays sets - with entry £10 in advance or £12 on the door.
The annual event, which is organised by the local Round Table, has raised more than £100,000 for local good causes, with every penny raised going to charity.
And, according to Christophe Philips, the festival’s creative director, this year’s event looks like being one of the best yet.
He told the Observer: “We have some really good bands playing across the two days - not least Liane Carroll who is on a bit of a roll at the moment and getting a lot of airtime on Jamie Cullum’s Radio Two show.
“The atmosphere is always brilliant and there is going to be something for everyone.
“Every year the beer festival is one of the biggest parties in town, I just hope a lot of people come out and join in the fun because, not only will it be a great couple of days, but it will help a lot of superb local causes.”
The weather forecast for tonight looks good, with temperatures expected to reach about 18 degrees and although tomorrow looks like having a few light showers - the festival takes place completely under cover - so any spots won’t ruin the fun.
And as well as the music, there will be games for children and more than 100 beers for thirsty adults - served from Europe’s longest bar.
For more information, or to order tickets online, visit www.hbmf.co.uk.
For reviews of each night and a two-page spread of photographs, buy next week’s Observer.