VIDEO: Seafood lovers in for a treat

FINISHING touches are being made to this year’s upcoming Seafood and Wine Festival.

Now in its eighth year, the event - a celebration of Hastings’ sustainable fishery, its vineyards and excellent local food producers - will be held on Saturday, September 14 and Sunday, September 15.

Traders at last year's Seafood and Wine Festival

Traders at last year's Seafood and Wine Festival

Last year around 50,000 food lovers visited. This year succulent dishes from more than 30 food stalls are available where local chefs will conjure up a colourful array of flavours.

The festival runs from 11am on the Saturday to 7pm on the Sunday, with festivities taking place in the Old Town and the Stade Open Space.

Visitors can wander through the tents and marquees trying locally landed fish and wine from award-winning vineyards around Hastings.

They can also enjoy a Jazz Breakfast with a relaxed coffee and a croissant on the Sunday morning, musical entertainment from the cream of the local music scene throughout the day and walks and talks on the 1,000-year history of the Hastings’ fishing fleet.

Among some of the other foodie delights of Hastings include Craig Sams and Jo Fairley (Green and Black founders), Judges Bakery, and the legendary Maggie’s fish and chips.

A launch party to mark the start of the festival is being held next Friday (September 13), featuring Bon Jovi tribute band, Bon Giovi, on stage for two hours, with support from Pete Prescott’s band Highway.

Tickets for Friday’s party are £7.50 in advance from the Tourist Information Centre or the First In Last Out pub in High Street. They will cost £10 on the door.

Cllr Peter Chowney, Hastings Borough Council’s lead member for regeneration, said: “The Seafood and Wine Festival just gets bigger and better. I hope that the Friday evening launch party will put everybody in the mood for a great weekend at the festival. We still have some tickets left for the Jazz Breakfast on Sunday morning too, but this is always a sell-out event, so I’d urge people to get their tickets for this as soon as possible if they do want to come.”

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VISITORS to this year’s Seafood and Wine Festival will have to pay for admission for the first time in the event’s history.

Council organisers are levying a £2 fee for adults on the day and £1 in advance due to rising running costs and the council having to tighten its purse strings.

Kevin Boorman, event organiser, said last year’s festival cost almost £54,000 in total.

He said: “The council has always subsidised the event to the tune of £15,000 to £20,000 but at a time when we are having to look very carefully at our budgets and the services we run we felt it was only right people attending pay a token charge. Paying £2 is a tiny charge, compared to other events.

“We also do not think paying £1 in advance is excessive. I hope these charges will not deter people from attending the event this weekend. We want the the charges to cover our costs so the event does not become a financial burden on the local taxpayer.

“It’s not right that the Hastings taxpayer should be subsidising the festival.”

But some festival-goers have spoken out against the new charge (see letters page 6).

Wristbands, giving admission to the whole site, will cost £2 on the day for adults, but they can be bought in advance from the tourist information centre, 1066 Bakery, and Eat@The Stade for £1. Children under the age of 18 get in free.