Town’s first Folk Fest hits the right note

Hastings Folk Festival fiddle and guitar workshop. SUS-141005-175051001
Hastings Folk Festival fiddle and guitar workshop. SUS-141005-175051001

HOT on the heels of Jack-in-the-Green, Hastings enjoyed the first ever Folk Fest, featuring more than a dozen artists playing in various venues in the Old Town.

A celebration of local musical talent, the five-day event kicked off on May 6 with an Open folk session at The Stag, All Saints Street.

And it finished on Saturday, May 10, with a day of folk festivities, including a fiddle and guitar workshop with Gary Blakeley and Paul Dengate at All Saints Hall.

Organised by Paul Dengate, wife Jo, daughter Hettie and Alan Griffiths from the Stag Inn, the festival featured a variety of artists including Barbara Dickson, Garry Blakeley and Buick 6.

Paul said: “We are very happy with how it all went, and so grateful that the venues and promoters were keen to become involved and present us with their own interpretation of ‘folk’. We’ve had pub gigs, pub sessions, concerts, DJ session, a film and beer festival, and a workshop to help musicians develop their playing. And many of the events were free.

“It was great to move around from venue to venue sampling the many alternative forms that ‘folk’ music can take.

“We’ve had many comments that have been positive, and also supportive of our plans for a festival that can now be added to the other events in the town’s musical calendar. It was a very successful first step. We’ve demonstrated what can be done, learned a few things and picked up a few ideas as to how we can develop. We’ll certainly be back next year.” For more information visit or