Hastings has talent says former Stranglers vocalist

Stranglers former frontman, Paul Roberts spoke highly of local music talent when he came to town last weekend to adjudicate Hastings Musical Festival’s Rockfest for the fourth year running.

Mr Roberts, who was the frontman with 70s punk band The Stranglers for 16 years, returned to the White Rock Theatre last Friday (March 20) to take on the difficult task of judging the musical skills and talents of nine bands who entered the Rockfest competition.

Hastings Musical Festival 2015.'Photos by Mary Fraser's Photography.''To order photos contact Mary Fraser's Photography on 01424 422815 SUS-150323-145301001

Hastings Musical Festival 2015.'Photos by Mary Fraser's Photography.''To order photos contact Mary Fraser's Photography on 01424 422815 SUS-150323-145301001

Rockfest, one of the main highlights in the Hastings Musical Festival, is mainly aimed at amateurs who do not make a living from whichever competition they enter. Mr Roberts who, as an adjudicator, looks for originality, unique sounds and strong, great ideas, gives feed back and comments to the performers to help them improve, says it’s a great platform to help aspiring musicians.

He said: “This is a great way to give them a sense of growing, they need to know stuff to get better to come back to show us they’re better and then things change.”

Paul says he’s no Simon Cowell and not a lover of the ‘X’ Factor TV show but says the expression speaks volumes.

He said: “That expression (the ‘X’ factor) is all about an invisible thing that you can’t put your finger on. The actual ‘X’ factor is about having a missing ingredient you cannot ever make, and that’s what we look for in singers, in bands and in writing, but also to know how to make your band work.

“Rock and roll is a maverick thing - you decide you want to do it and whether you are successful or not is in the lap of the Gods but you can create a structure.”

For the second year running Hastings band Saving Strike came out on top winning Best Band and Best Frontman. Vocalist and winning frontman Eddie said the band was very pleased to have won again, adding: “It’s been great fun”.

Chairman of Hastings Musical Festival, Molly Townson said Rockfest had been a great success. She said: “It was a very good evening. Nine bands entered which was great.

“Paul Roberts has been so supportive and enthusiastic for us and we were delighted to have him back for a fourth time. We’ve also had marvellous support from the White Rock Theatre.

“We hope next year the festival will be bigger and better than ever.”

Mr Roberts says he’s always impressed with the local talent and hasn’t ruled out returning next year. He said: “I can’t believe how much talent’s here. One comment I made a couple of years ago was that in one festival I saw more talent here than ever’s been on television, with no bias whatsoever.

“The festival is fantastic.”