Hastings "treat for the street” with Barnaby’s Lounge Big Band

Barnaby’s Lounge Big Band (pic by Kalina Pencheva)Barnaby’s Lounge Big Band (pic by Kalina Pencheva)
Barnaby’s Lounge Big Band (pic by Kalina Pencheva)
Barnaby Davies is promising “a treat for the street” in Hastings.

He will be leading a 16-piece big band comprising local musicians performing again outside Barnaby’s Lounge, 46 Robertson Street, from 1-3pm on Sunday, May 26.

“This is a spirit booster after such a bad weather winter, and the recent burst pipe water disaster,” he said. “It's a family event, a great chance for young people to see and hear a real life Big Band, which is so rare these days.

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“Almost all of the band are Hastings-based, with a few coming over from neighbouring towns such as Eastbourne and Robertsbridge. Cross your fingers for great weather.

“With toe-tapping tunes – and hopefully some dancing in the street – I hope it helps to make Robertson Street and its historical America Ground more of a destination. I also hope to inspire children to learn instruments and continue Hastings’ live music traditions.

“Sunday’s band comprises a fantastic pool of mostly local Hastings musicians. I do have a core band, but if anybody is unavailable on a certain date, we’re so fortunate in Hastings with a wealth of super musicians.

“The band is currently the Barnaby’s Lounge Big Band. But there is a long history. I am simply the current custodian of the music, which various bandleaders have put together over the years.

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“When I was 15, the band was run by professional trombone player Terry Hellyer, with rehearsals taking place at Shearbarn Caravan Park. After Terry fell ill, local saxophone star Rob Leake volunteered to take the pad and organised some dates for the band to play at The Albion pub in the Old Town. I was part of the band, between other commitments overseas working as a roadie.

“It’s really only after setting up Barnaby’s Lounge as a live music, wine and cocktail venue in June 2023, that I’ve been able to integrate properly with Hastings musicians. Providing a space for them to play and be paid has been rewarding, as has hosting a monthly jazz jam and offering a gig space for youngsters on their musical journey.

“There are too many players in the band for a mass shout-out, but I would like to thank Rob Leake. It’s an honour, not only to have him playing lead alto on May 26, but to have his support despite passing the organisational baton to me. It’s also fantastic to have his wife Amy on this event; we went to school together and she was a super sax player even then.

“The challenge, as with so many other hospitality businesses, is to generate a big enough audience for live music so that the numbers work. You can’t pay a band if attendance is low; it’s a constant worry that a creative endeavour becomes a financial loss.

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“So I’m really hoping it’s a great turnout on Sunday 26 at 1pm and that passers-by enjoy the world-class musicianship. Drinks and roast dinners are available, but it’s really audience contributions for the band that are important to me.”

Website for live events and table bookings is https://barnabyslounge.co.uk/

“I’m aiming to put two more of these events on over the summer, the latter to coincide with Coastal Currents. I’d love to explore Arts Council funding for this, as well as having the band play on the Stade sometime, plus some private hire events. Bring a deckchair, a hat and a smile on Sunday and a fiver for the band!”

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