Colourful arts fest returns for 15th year

"A String Section". Performance by Reckless Sleepers, Stade Open Space Hastings UK, 30 August 2014
"A String Section". Performance by Reckless Sleepers, Stade Open Space Hastings UK, 30 August 2014

The 15th annual Coastal Currents festival kicked off last weekend promising a three week arts and culture extravaganza.

Coastal Currents 2014 launched to crowds, queues, and a multitude of feathers and visual feasts starting with its Dawn Chorus event last Friday evening.

From a free UV gin and vodka bar with glowing cocktails to a choir made up of local creatives and Hastings glitterati wearing huge feather head dresses hand-made by Linda King, this event at St Mary-In-the-Castle started the festival off in sensational style.

The 15th anniversary of Coastal Currents curated by local design gurus ZEROH, opened the festival with a ruffle of it’s spectacular feathers and a grand bird call featuring Riz Maslen, Jason Singh, Claire Hamell and Choir and climaxed with world renowned Le Gateau Chocolat marking the dawn of the start of the festival.

Speeches followed by Directors, Tina Morris, Lorna Crabbe and Jane Greenfield and councillor Peter Chowney of Hastings Borough Council.

Saturday saw the first big performance on the Stade Open Space in Hastings Old Town. A String Section by Reckless Sleepers drew in enormous crowds and held them mesmerised as they destroyed their chairs with such balance and dexterity, strength and delicateness.

With minutes of the piece finishing social media was a wash with images, films and even artist sketches of the performance.

Mole Wetherall, artistic director of Reckless Sleepers, said:

“The performance in Hastings was brilliant, by far the biggest audience we have had. What made it so special was the way the audience engaged with the piece, willing the performers on, clapping and cheering every time someone managed to saw a leg of their chair – it was great.”

Despite the very bad weather a few days before, which prevented her showing her outdoor work, the opening event saw international artist Alice Anderson reveal beautifully delicate pieces in both Dyke and Dean and the disused record shop opposite. Both pieces use her copper mesh to bring the shops to life and a video of the piece with the process of creation runs in one of the windows.

Finally on Sunday ZEROH hosted a pop-up T Shirt sale in the gritty alley beside Dyke & Dean against the backdrop of the old Observer building.

People were spoilt by the choice of artists who had got involved and created one off designs especially for this unique Coastal Currents event.

On Sunday at 1pm, 3pm or 5pm in the Melt Down event by Rosemary Lee will be held in Alexandra Park.

Created by artist Rosemary Lee, known for devising large-scale, site-specific pieces with cross-generational casts, Melt Down is a very simple but powerful statement. The image of a large group of men, moving slowly, almost meditatively; conjures up countless images of fragility, tenderness and movement-defying gravity.

Part performance and part human sculpture, the Coastal Currents presentation of Melt Down includes participants from Hastings and the local area performing alongside Rosemary’s regular dancers.

Tina Morris, director of the festival, said: “There was a queue stretching down to Pelham Roundabout to get into the Dawn Chorus event on Friday. The weather was perfect and the attendance figures have been among the most we’ve seen. “We’re had a great start to what should be another fantastic festival.”

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