Fans out in force for festivities

The Cajun Mardi Gras Troop at the Jenny Lind
The Cajun Mardi Gras Troop at the Jenny Lind

HASTINGS was transformed into downtown New Orleans for five days as the town staged its answer to the Mardi Gras.

The annual Fat Tuesday festivities drew in thousands of people into the Old Town and town centre from Friday (February 28) to Tuesday (March 4).

Despite there being no parade this year Fat Tuesday was jam-packed with events and bands showcasing their music at scores of venues.

Saturday saw bars, pubs and restaurants hosting the Unplugged Tour, with more than 170 gigs by 35 acts.

The colourful Grande Mardi Gras Ball took place at Venuu in George Street, with lots of colourful costumes and characters dancing the evening away.

Sunday (March 2) saw the South-by-South East showcase at The Union Bar in Cambridge Road.

On Monday (March 3) people met for the annual gathering known as Slim Monday at the Brass Monkey in Havelock Road.

Fat Tuesday (March 4), the main event, was a night of fancy dress, fabulous feathers, beads, masks and music. Eight venues hosted 16 bands on the tour.

Bob Tipler, who jointly organises Fat Tuesday with Adam Daly, said: “Hastings Fat Tuesday is now the biggest, authentically timed Mardi Gras in the whole of the UK. Every venue that was involved was packed with people having fun throughout the five days.

“People came from all over the country. One couple from north London were here house hunting and decided to stay for the whole five days.

“Tuesday was an amazing night, with thousands of people out enjoying themselves.

“Fat Tuesday is going to go from strength to strength. Our vision is for this to become a massive event to really put Hastings on the map. Fat Tuesday has also become its own charity with the aim of promoting local music and Hastings itself as a destination for music and the arts.”