TV boss to judge music contest

Chris Cowey
Chris Cowey

A TOP television producer who has worked on some of the biggest music shows in the UK is heading to Hastings as part of the Fat Tuesday carnival week.

This year’s mardi gras celebration has been extended to five days of fun including a 10-act battle of the bands called South by South East (SXSE). And organisers have pulled off a coup by persuading Chris Cowey - former producer of Top of the Pops and The Brit Awards - to be on the judging panel.

“I have been to mardi gras in New Orleans which is amazing and I know there are a bunch of talented musicians in the Hastings area so I am really looking forward to it,” he told the Observer. “I am not Simon Cowell but I might be the next best thing so it’s great if I can get people enthusiastic about it.”

Mr Cowey met Fat Tuesday supremo Adam Daly through work and was keen to help support Hastings’s burgeoning live music scene. “I think it’s pointless doing Top of the Pops or The Brit Awards if you don’t support the grass roots,” he said. “Live music is the fastest growing leisure pursuit in the country. Something like The X Factor is OK if you just want someone to stand up and sing but there is so much more to music. You would never get Radiohead come through a process like that and music is such a broad church - it’s so important people get behind events like this.

And Mr Cowey hinted he was looking for something new when he take his place at The Carlisle on Saturday, March 5. “My thing is I like to be surprised by something. I get really bored when people come to me and say they have the new Girls Aloud or the new Elbow - you will never get something really ground-breaking with thinking like that. If you get New Orleans meets Hastings then I have high hopes we might get something really exciting. I am looking for potential really, but if I see someone fantastic who I think six weeks down the line would be great on this or that show then I will back them.”

Fat Tuesday organiser Adam Daly added: “It is amazing to have Chris joining the SXSE judges - he brings bags of experience and a commitment to local live music that will help us pick a worthy winner.”