Fat Tuesday is back, bigger and better than ever before

Skunk Anansie performing at The Carlisle at last year's Fat Tuesday. Picture by John Fox Photos
Skunk Anansie performing at The Carlisle at last year's Fat Tuesday. Picture by John Fox Photos

The unique Hastings Fat Tuesday Festival is back, bigger, better and more jam-packed with events and bands than ever before.

Over five days Hastings and St Leonards will play host to Britain’s fastest growing music and arts festival. Hastings Fat Tuesday is now the UK’s largest and most authentic main-stream Mardi Gras event and has even received recognition from Mayor Vinny Mosca, Mayor of Harahan New Orleans.

Since the festival started five years ago, Hastings Fat Tuesday has helped raise thousands of pounds for charity and has rapidly become one of the most eagerly anticipated events in the town’s eclectic social calendar. This year the party runs from today (Friday) starting with a parade and launch party, with events then running right through the weekend to the big night on Tuesday (March 4). Throughout the festival there are 20 venues, with 50 acts performing an impressive total of 220 gigs.

Tomorrow (Saturday) grab yourself a spot of lunch at one of the participating bars, pubs and restaurants on the Unplugged Tour. More than 170 gigs performed by 35 acts will take place in just one afternoon, bringing together a wide variety of food and music with a few surprises along the way. Follow the bands around the town or just pick your favourite spot and let the music come to you. Booking a table in advance at your chosen restaurant is recommended.

If that’s not enough fun in your face then the fabulous Grande Mardi Gras Ball will be held once again at Venuu, George Street, from 8pm to 3am. Cost is £10 in advance or £12 on the door.

Sunday (March 2) sees the South-by-South East showcase at The Union Bar in Cambridge Road. Eight bands have now been shortlisted to play and one of them will be chosen to play on the Fat Tuesday Tour by a panel of judges. For more information visit www.hastingsfattuesday.co.uk/sxse/

Running Alongside the SXSE event there will be a variety of Free Fringe events taking place across the town including Zhir Voskresen’ye in St Leonards, meaning Fat Sunday.

On Monday (March 3) there is a chance to meet all the people who contribute to the festival at the annual gathering known as Slim Monday at the Brass Monkey from 8pm to 11pm.

Fat Tuesday (March 4), the main event, is a night of fancy dress, fabulous feathers, beads, masks and music. Eight venues welcome 16 bands on the tour, with gigs starting at 8pm running through to 11pm. For more information about all events visit www.hastingsfattuesday.co.uk or look in The Stinger magazine.