UK’s biggest Mardi Gras festival takes place in Hastings

Fat Tuesday's umbrella parade SUS-151201-103632001
Fat Tuesday's umbrella parade SUS-151201-103632001

Hastings is bracing itself for an explosion of sound and colour this weekend with the Fat Tuesday Mardi Gras Festival in full swing.

This weekend will also see the colour and spectacle of the Grande Mardi Gras Ball, on Saturday night, and the Umbrella Parade through the streets on Sunday.

That is all ahead of the main event of Fat Tuesday itself (February 9) when top bands from Hastings and further afield travel from venue to venue across town.

The fun gets underway on Friday, February 5, at the festival hub – the Albion in George Street at 7.30pm with a launch event featuring live music by Matilda’s Scoundrels.

The pub, which re-opened before Christmas, has been taken over by Bob Tipler and Adam Daly, the people who came up with the idea for the popular festival.

Unplugged Saturday (February 6) runs in the Old Town from 1pm-6pm at pubs and restaurants and involves food, drink and 200 free gigs, with a diverse line-up of bands and performers playing 15 minutes slots before moving on to the next venue.

Expect everything from blues and folk to world music and classical as well as a community choir.

Sunday’s Umbrella Parade is a fun, free, event for all the family, which recreates the spirit of a New Orleans parade.

All you need to do to join in is to dress up in something colourful and turn up with a decorated umbrella.

People meet at the Chess Square, in George Street, at 11.30am and process to the Observer Building in the town centre, for live music and fun throughout the afternoon.

Local bluesman King Size Slim, who has supported Queen, will be playing in the Albion on Monday evening for Slim Monday.

The pinnacle of the festival is Fat Tuesday itself (February 9), with 24 acts on the bill at Old Town pub venues and fringe venues that are hosting a mini tour of their own.

Joining local bands will be some of the most exciting up and coming musicians in the UK, from the Academy of Contemporary Music in Guildford, which has formed strong links with the Hastings Festival.

Adam Daly said: “This year we welcome more excellent acts to the festival, many of whom regularly play to capacity crowds around the UK and abroad. As with previous years, most events are free entry.”

For information on all the acts and announcements visit

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