Hastings is bursting at the seams with inspiring and offbeat cultural events. Hard to keep up with it all! Here is a round-up of some of the best recent offerings:

The Hastings Philharmonic’s 2018-19 season of concerts is well underway. I still can’t quite believe that a town the size of Hastings has its own fully professional orchestra. The programming is excellent – familiar favourites such as Handel’s Messiah sit alongside more ambitious and risk-taking fare such as the world premiere of local composer Keith Beal’s opera Merlin on 27th October. Very encouraging to see audiences turning out for a demanding contemporary piece. And remember that under 18s and students get free entry to all concerts. I’m looking forward to the chamber concert on 1st December: hastingsphilharmonic.com

On 8th  November, Crowley’s Bar on Havelock Road was the venue for the launch of David Francis’ first collection of poetry, Dangerous Dog, published by local imprint Silverhill Press (www.silverhillpress.co.uk). Readings from the book were followed by dog-themed music. A most congenial evening with a great turnout. Review of David’s powerful and thought-provoking poems to follow.

The Stag on All Saints Street is turning into quite the cultural hub. Tim Willcock’s One Shot Photos exhibition has been running during October and November. It’s a series of one-take-only portraits of Hastings-based creatives, as varied as the characters they portray – I spotted a couple of familiar faces. And they’re done on proper old film, not this digital nonsense you get these days. More at www.timwillcocks.com. On the music front, their Friday supper club music sessions got off to a great start on 2nd November with singer-songwriter Tazina Frank (www.tazinafrank.com) performing her wonderful original songs in the unusual but extremely effective setting of guitar, cello and trumpet. Check the website for future events: www.staghastings.co.uk

Jazz Hastings continues to impress with its consistently high standard of acts. We were blown away by the ingenuity and virtuosity of guitarist Remi Harris on 6th November. This was an eclectic mix of everything from Hot Club gypsy jazz to funk and blues, via the odd Beatles cover. We hardly noticed the absence of the drums, thanks to the propulsive rhythmic backing provided by guitarist Caley Groves and bassist Mike Green. The next gig is bound to be a sell-out – Claire Martin and Jim Mullen celebrate the music of Wes Montgomery on
4th December: 

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