BEN CORNWELL discovers that Hastings’ Fat Tuesday organisers are getting involved in a raft of new events over the coming months.

You remember that feeling of the bass hitting your body like a wave upon the rocks? The thunderous roar of the crowd filling the air? That split second when you are in a complete state of euphoria, hoping that the moment will never end? For now, these may be nothing more than memories, but fresh moments are on the horizon as the festival season returns. With the annual Mardi Gras celebrations cancelled this February, Sally Lampitt and the Hastings Fat Tuesday team have been working to fill that Fat Tuesday-shaped hole in our lives. 

This summer, they are collaborating with Hastings Events Ltd to provide a brand-new music festival for the local community. The Hastings Rocks festival will take place on 28th August at The Oval, featuring 25 acts across two stages. The line-up includes Skinny Lister – one of the nation’s top folk-rock bands. Alt-rock band Kid Kapichi are also appearing, following the success of their debut album, This Time Next Year

Skinny Lister
CREDIT: Connor MacRae

It’s the brainchild of a relatively new company overseen by Wayne Shires, the landlord of The Fountain On Queens and The Sovereign On Sea pubs. He has helped organise several LGBTQ+ events including the Summer Rites festival, Hastings Pride and the recent Queer on the Pier. Wayne told us that Pride had been looking to up-scale its production, whilst remaining a free event. So, he suggested an event at The Oval on the Saturday before Pride to help financially and to provide a free stage and infrastructure for the next day. Wayne approached Hastings Fat Tuesday who he’d worked with previously, hosting the last Grande Mardi Gras Ball at one of his venues. 

Fat Tuesday Director, Sally Lampitt, told HIP it made perfect sense to collaborate. “We’ve been running the Mardi Gras festival for about ten years and it’s become a stalwart of the local cultural offering,” she said. The Fat Tuesday team were able to repurpose some of the grant money from Arts Council England to help fund new projects. In the Autumn they will launch monthly Under the Radar sessions in partnership with BBC Introducing: The South to support emerging local artists. These sessions will showcase the best new young alternative music from across the South East at the newly revamped local live music venue ‘The Brass’ – formerly The Brass Monkey.

Fat Tuesday is also developing a Learning and Engagement programme, to provide musical experiences for everyone through a variety of sessions, with guest artists to support the work. The team has also announced a
two-day experimental electronic music festival, Sonics 2021, in November, billed as an audio-visual extravaganza celebrating experimental art, music and film.

Fans of the UK’s largest Mardi Gras celebration need not worry, though. Plans are already underway for the return of Fat Tuesday in February next year.

Hastings Rocks festival tickets are available online
For news and updates on Fat Tuesday Events, visit

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