Hastings Beatles Day is back celebrating its 25th year

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Hastings Beatles Day is back celebrating its 25th year with a massive celebration of the Fab Four at the White Rock Theatre on Sunday, April 7 starting at midday.

More than 300 musicians and singers will perform songs from across the entire Beatles back catalogue, including their latest and final song Now And Then which delighted millions of fans worldwide last year and even generated a wave of new ones.

All the stages on the day will see continuous performances for 11 hours straight, celebrating the greatest songbook in history while raising funds for The Sara Lee Trust. After raising more than £325,000 for cancer-related charities since Pete Prescott founded the event back in 2000, Hastings Beatles Day has become one of the highlights in the Hastings calendar – undefeated even by the pandemic.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Event performance manager Gillian Payne said: “This is my fifth year. When I took over unfortunately we started lockdown. We had everything prepared. We had all the bands ready to go.”

Gillian Payne (contributed pic)Gillian Payne (contributed pic)
Gillian Payne (contributed pic)

But fortunately the event was able to go online in the first year of the pandemic and was delivered live.

“The second year was easier because we pre-recorded everything and then put it out. 2022 we were back to normal and it was Phew! We were a little quiet in the first year but then last year was amazing. We had 96 bands last year which was the biggest number of bands we have ever had.

“Pete Prescott started the event because his friend had cancer. He found that more and more bands wanted to play and they kept moving around until they ended up at the White Rock Theatre. Usually there are three stages. We have the main stage, the Sussex stage and the acoustic stage upstairs but last year I was completely overwhelmed by all the bands that we had and so we had to create a fourth stage in the foyer bar and that worked very well.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"And we've had to keep that fourth stage for this year as well. We have got 94 bands that have signed up for this year.”

As for the success of the event: “Everybody knows The Beatles. Everybody grew up with The Beatles. They are always playing The Beatles on the radio and they have been played throughout every single era. I grew up on The Beatles. Mum used to listen to them and my brother used to listen to them and I started listening to them in turn.

"I just think that they're in everybody's DNA. I think I've only ever met one person that said they didn't like The Beatles. I don't speak to them anymore!”

Inevitably Gillian admits it is difficult to name her favourite Beatles song.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"But every year we finish with a bit of a medley with Hey Jude. And we get all the volunteers up on stage and it just makes everyone really happy at the end of our 12-hour shift.

"We're so exhausted by the end of it that we’re just about hanging on in there but it is a lovely way to finish!”

More details from the White Rock Theatre.

The Sara Lee Trust was formed in 1996 and since then has helped thousands of people affected by a life threatening illness.

Sara passed away in 1995, aged just 32 years old, but her vision lives on in The Sara Lee Trust which her parents, Sally and Jeremy Lee, set up to allow others to experience what Sara had achieved: to live life to the full in spite of the cancer within.

Related topics: