KENT BARKER REPORTS:

Many of the 20,000 people expected to attend this year’s Fat Tuesday Mardi Gras festival in Hastings will be affected by rail engineering works on South Eastern.

There will be no London line trains into or out of Hastings over the weekend.  On Saturday 10th February, they will stop at Robertsbridge and on Sunday at Battle. A bus replacement service will be in operation.

Fat Tuesday organiser Adam Daly told HIP they were having to cancel plans to carry out a comprehensive survey of people attending the festival because of the rail disruption.  However, he still expects the event, now in its ninth year, to attract record numbers of people. “Of the 20,000 visits we are hoping for over the five days, perhaps a third will be coming from outside the town.  But many of them will arrive by car, especially for the umbrella parade on Sunday.”

As well as the Grand Ball on Saturday, some 200 musicians will play acoustic sets at many of the 27 participating venues. Sunday sees the ever popular Umbrella Parade and on Fat Tuesday itself between 80 and 90 musicians will play in twelve pubs and venues, mainly in and around the Old Town “Hastings’ Fat Tuesday has become the biggest and best Mardi Gras event in the UK and is now recognised as a major music festival,” said Adam Daly.

The event costs up to £80,000 to put on, with most of the money coming from the  Arts Council and the Performing Rights Society.  The music venues also make a contribution along with Hastings Borough Council.  All the musicians play for free, but get expenses of between £25 and £35.

For full details of the Fat Tuesday line-up see Page 11.

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