Everything you need to know about Fat Tuesday as Hastings gets set to hold UK’s biggest Mardi Gras festival

Fat Tuesday is back again to brighten up February with a host of community celebrations and a stunning line-up of live music.

As always there will be a series of party nights and the popular Umbrella Parade on Sunday, with local people urged to dress up and join in the fun.

The five day Festival opens on Friday February 21 with a launch party at the White Rock Hotel from 7.45pm - 11.30pm.

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Headliner is Baxter Dury. Baxter, who will release his new album Night Chancers in March, decided to include Hastings as part of his sell out 2020 European tour after hearing about Hastings Fat Tuesday from his sister Jemima who lives in the town. “I think Hastings is a brilliant place and I’ve always meant to make it down for Fat Tuesday so I’m very happy to be playing!”

Hastings Fat Tuesday: Umbrella Parade. Photo by Frank Copper. SUS-170227-143918001

Support on the night comes from local favourites Kid Kapichi.

Tickets: £21 (inclusive) 16+ standing, under 16’s to be accompanied by an adult and seated in the balcony.

Unplugged Saturday, on Saturday February 22, is free and sees 40 established and up and coming bands and artists playing 200 gigs throughout the day ranging from the Old Town to St Leonards.

Fat Tuesday's Umbrella Parade. Photo by Frank Copper. SUS-181202-074628001

This event packs a real punch musical diversity, with everything from acoustic rock to choral, blues to brass, and music from all over the world. Take a chance on something new, follow your favourite act from venue to venue or hole up with food and drink and wait for them to come to you. It runs from 1pm - 6pm. Timetables of exact performances are available on the Fat Tuesday website or you can pick up a leaflet from most Old Town pubs and bars.

On Saturday night people can unleash their carnival spirit for a night of revelry at Le Grande Mardi Gras Ball, at the White Rock Theatre from 8pm. Embrace the spirit of New Orleans, with touch of Venetian splendour. It will feature party bands, The Funking Bar Stewards, and Loud Noises, a unique blend of contemporary brass band and high octane dance music. There will be live cabaret in the Sussex Rooms and Nova Twins will be playing a DJ set to round the evening off. Tickets are £22.50.

Part of Fat Tuesday is the Sonics 2020 event - a two day celebration of experimental music, art and film, taking place at Black Market VIP in George Street and St Mary in the Castle on Saturday 22 and Sunday 22. There will be performances, discussions, workshops, installations and more, with some events free to attend. Full details on the Fat Tuesday website.

Sunday February 22 is the colourful Umbrella Parade. To join the parade come to the Stade, in Hastings Old Town at 11.30am. The procession will head to the White Rock Theatre and join the fun at Preservation Sunday

An explosion of colour, music and fun for all the family, The Umbrella Parade is a firm Hastings Fat Tuesday favourite, and all you need to take part is a decorated umbrella. The parade will start at the Stade and travel along the seafront to The White Rock Theatre where the party continues all afternoon with Preservation Sunday, featuring a host of second line brass bands including the Sambalanca, Dende along with the irrepressible Dr Savage.

Radiator Arts will be running free Umbrella Decorating workshops for all ages to ensure that everyone’s brollies are looking fabulous and ready for the parade on Sunday (you’ll need to bring your own umbrella). No Booking required just come along on the day with your brolly: They take place this week: Thursday February 20, 10.30am - 4pm, at White Rock Theatre (Sussex Room). White Rock, Hastings TN34 1JX; and Saturday February 22, from 10.30am - 4pm at the Stade Hall 20 Rock-A-Nore Rd, Hastings TN34 3DW.

Slim Monday, on Monday February 24, features a performance by popular Hastings musician King Size Slim. It takes place at the Lord Nelson pub, in The Bourne, from 6.30pm and is also special and a chance to meet the Fat Tuesday musicians “off duty” and the team behind the festival.

Fat Tuesday itself, the main event on Tuesday February 25, sees 24 established acts playing 20 minute sets in venues across the town. The free event is a raucous celebration of all things Mardi Gras, described as ‘a whirlwind of music and merry-making’

An after party takes place at the Brass Monkey, in Havelock Road, from 10pm - 4am and features Buddah Triangle and a DJ set from Greentea Penge.

For more details visit the Fat Tuesday website at www.hastingsfattuesday.co.uk.