A feast of music at Hastings Fat Tuesday 2020

The five-day Hastings Fat Tuesday music festival, the UK’s largest Mardi Gras celebration, springs into action this Friday, February 21.

Friday, 21st February 2020, 11:13 am
Updated Friday, 21st February 2020, 11:17 am
Kid Kapichi. Photo by Nick Suckak

The event, which runs until February 25, will showcase Hastings’ thriving music scene and opens its doors to a wealth of musical talent and music fans alike.

It was established in 2009 by musician Bob Tipler and event organiser Adam Daly, and has grown into a key event in the Hastings cultural calendar, with an audience of 14,000 over five days in 2018 and record numbers in 2019.

A spokesperson said: “In New Orleans and Rio they call it Mardi Gras, in Venice it’s known as Carnivale and Hastings has ‘Fat Tuesday’ (English for Mardi Gras). Hastings Fat Tuesday borrows heavily from the New Orleans take on Mardi Gras, combining the enjoyment of good music with a flair for dressing up and partying.

Greentea Peng is just one of the acts performing on Fa Tuesday

“Over five days Hastings Fat Tuesday includes a programme of ten featured events, showcasing more than 150 acts across multiple venues in Hastings, including: curated performances; family activities; a lavish Umbrella Parade; Le Grand Mardi Gras Ball; and Sonics, a two-day celebration of experimental and electronic music and visuals. The festival climax is the Fat Tuesday Tour, with 24 emerging and established bands touring Hastings Old Town venues.”

In 2018 Hastings Fat Tuesday was awarded Event of the Year at the Celebration of Sussex Life Awards.

Unconvention: February 21. The music industry comes to Hastings. This year’s music convention will be held at The White Rock Hotel. Panels will provide invaluable support and information for anyone planning a musical career either as a musician or within the industry. It’s a free one-day music conference aimed at the grassroots of the industry. Catch panellists from across the music business in conversation about the future of the music industry and attend workshops on a range of key elements including practical advice for gigging, the dos and don’ts of promotion, building a fan base, securing management and funding and how to develop a sustainable career.

Fat Friday – February 21. Pop royalty, singer-songwriter Baxter Dury headlines this all-new launch night at the revamped White Rock Theatre. Visit www.hastingsobserver.co.uk to read an interview with Baxter. Support will come from Hastings’ own Kid Kapichi.

Loud Noises. Photo by Andrew Hughes / Fanatic 2018

Unplugged: Saturday – February 22: Some 40 acts will perform a variety of musical genres, touring around the participating bars and restaurants, playing 15-minute acoustic sets. This carries on into the evening at multiple venues across the town.

Le Grand Mardi Gras Ball – February 22: Embrace the spirit of Bourbon Street and wear your most outrageous outfits: feathers, beads, boas and masks. On arrival guests will be welcomed by stilt walkers in crinoline, with radio DJ and Red Dwarf legend Craig Charles headlining. The event will also feature party band The Funking Bar Stewards and brass carnival band Loud Noises.

Umbrella Parade – February 23: Lead by the much-loved Second Line Band, the Umbrella Parade is fun for all the family – an explosion of colour, music and fun. All you need to take part is a decorated umbrella. Radiator Arts are running workshops where you can decorate your brolly. The procession ends at St Mary in The Castle for Preservation Sunday, a carnival atmosphere and clash of the second line bands.

Sonics – February 22-23: A two-day celebration of avant garde electronic music. Hastings & St Leonards have long been an established melting pot of visual art, music, film and performance. This will be a supreme selection of International visual and sonic innovators.

Under The Radar – February 23: Four stages showcasing emerging artists from across the UK hosted by BBC Introducing, Joe Strummer Foundation, ACM and Incubate. This is a fantastic opportunity for some of the most exciting upcoming artists to play to new audiences and for agents and promoters to discover new talent.

Fat Tuesday – February 25: A raucous night of Mardi Gras madness, music, merry-making, beads, feathers, fancy dress and more music as Fat Tuesday culminates with this totally riotous evening. Some 12 venues host ‘The Fat Tuesday Tour’ where 24 bands play 20-minute sets in three venues each. Expect colour and eccentricity and to discover your new favourite sounds.

For all the latest news and updates visit hastingsfattuesday.co.uk.

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