Fat Tuesday to return for sixth year running with top music

Fat Tuesday's umbrella parade. Picture by Adam Piggott
Fat Tuesday's umbrella parade. Picture by Adam Piggott

Hastings’ own version of the Mardi Gras returns for its sixth year next month with new additions to the programme and more high profile acts.

Fat Tuesday will this year run from February 13 to 17.

Last year the festival generated an estimated £300,000 for the local economy. This year it is even bigger with 250 gigs taking place across 35 venues over the five days.

Co-founder Bob Tipler said: “With our strong tradition of making music and dressing up, we are able to embrace the spirit of Mardi Gras better than any other town in the country.

“The aim is to grow the festival year on year to create an inclusive platform where everybody can get involved whether you are two or 102, whether you like heavy rock or chamber music.”

Musicians from all over the UK as well as local acts will be performing at this year’s Fat Tuesday.

Those confirmed include Mancunian acoustic hip hop trio Prose, folk band Skinny Lister, Hastings-based flower punk duo Bosco Rogers, rock band Kid Kapichi, and blues artist King Size Slim who opened for Queen at their London concert on New Year’s Eve. The headline act is still to be announced.

Fat Tuesday gets under way with Lucky Friday, on February 13, from 8pm to 11pm, with live music from Dr Savage and The Fat Tuesday Second Line at Pissarro’s, The General Havelock and The Jenny Lind, where the Cajun Dawgs will also take to the stage.

The centrepiece of the festival is Fat Tuesday itself (February 17, 8pm-11pm), when 16 bands play three sets each at 11 Old Town venues, while there will be live music and DJs at 10 fringe venues, followed by the After Party at West Exit, Robertson Passage and the Brass Monkey, Havelock Road (10pm-3am, £10 for a wristband).

Unplugged Saturday is on February 14, which is an afternoon of live acoustic music in the bars and restaurants of the Old Town (1pm-6pm), followed by the Grande Mardi Gras Ball at St Mary in the Castle (8pm-3am, £10), at which a ‘Mardi Gras Monarch’ will be elected for the first time.

On Sunday, February 15, the Umbrella Parade complete with marching bands, costume and floats will begin at The Stade Open Space at noon, followed by Preservation Sunday, a traditional jazz and beer festival to be held at St Mary in the Castle from 1pm to 6pm.

New elements added for 2015 include Un-Convention Hastings, a two-day music industry seminar with panel discussions and sessions led by musicians and industry professionals, including a guitar masterclass from Ace, of rock band Skunk Anansie. This will be held on February 16 and 17, 10am-6pm. Cost is £10 per day or £15 for both days.

The other new events are on Sunday, February 15, namely Off Axis (1pm-6pm, The Carlisle), a showcase of 12 upcoming bands from all over the country, and Sonic Sunday (12.30pm-11pm) a day of experimental electronic music and visual art installations at venues around St Leonards.

For details and tickets visit hastingsfattuesday.co.uk, www.facebook.com/hastingsfattuesday, or follow @HastingsFatTues on Twitter.