Battle to save Hastings festival after storm strikes

The annual Midsummer Fish Festival in Hastings was nearly cancelled after stormy weather caused extensive damage hours before the event opened at the weekend.

By Richard Gladstone
Monday, 27th June 2022, 3:57 pm

Equipment was damaged and stalls were overturned after the bad weather struck just after midnight on Saturday (June 25).

Debris was also left strewn across the venue.

Organisers of the festival worked against the clock following the storm to try and get the annual event open for visitors in time by 11am.

Kevin Boorman, marketing and major projects manager at Hastings Borough Council, said: “I was called by our security guard at around 12.15am on Saturday morning and immediately went to the Stade.

"A number of the stalls had been overturned, and some equipment damaged, with debris strewn across the site.

"We did what we could then to prevent further damage, and I returned at 6.30am with colleagues, and contacted affected stallholders, to get ready for the event.

"Given the weather forecast there were concerns about more damage being caused, which could have had more serious consequences if the event had been open, and at 8.30am the decision was made not to use any of the stalls.

"We really didn’t want to cancel the event, so completely reconfigured the site, including the power and water arrangements, and with the tremendous support of Alfa Electric, stallholders, and Hastings Sinfonia, our events team were able to still open the event at 11am.

"The event did look different, but we had some really positive feedback from many of our traders, and we were very pleased that we did make the decision to go ahead with the fish festival.”

The Midsummer Fish Festival is held every summer as a celebration of the local fishing industry and showcases local products, producers and businesses.

Visitors enjoyed a full and varied programme of music across the weekend, with Hastings Sinfonia getting things underway with an opening concert on Saturday.

Tush and Pat Hamilton also gave demonstrations on fileting and preparing fresh Hastings fish and Billingsgate Fish School Founder CJ Jackson, also gave demonstrations and cooking lessons.

The Midsummer Fish Festival was first held in 2014.

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