HFT 2023

17th February to 21st March 2023

Hastings Fat Tuesday Music Festival once again delivered five days of music, mayhem and Mardi Gras across Hastings and St Leonards. The five day town wide celebration presented over 350 free gigs, gatherings, parties and parades alongside ticketed events, with internationally acclaimed artists from across the globe appearing alongside a wealth of local bands.

LE GRAND MARDI GRAS BALL (17 Feb) at the White Rock Theatre was a full-on night of fancy dress, fabulous feathers, beads and masks embracing the spirit of New Orleans. Audiences danced the night away with the revolutionary genre bashing Mr Wilson’s Second Liners, headliners Oh My God! It’s The Church and local female DJ collective Mixfits DJs (featuring Lemur Beats).

Earlier the same day the UNCONVENTION one day grassroots music conference took place at the East Hastings Sea Angling Association, with panellists from across the music industry sharing their experiences and identifying some of the challenges for artists in the Modern Era. Panellists included Will Hodgkinson (The Times), John Kennedy (Radio X) Julie Weir (Music for Nations/Sony), Tom Burris (Kid Kapichi management) and many more.

The ever popular Saturday UNPLUGGED TOUR (18 Feb) hosted more than 300 free gigs at pubs, bars, cafes and shops across Hastings Old Town and central St Leonards featuring a wealth of musicians and singers from all genres. Saturday night was topped off by UNDER THE RADAR, an evening of emerging talent at the Brass on Saturday night featuring festival darlings Buddah Triangle and Office for Personal Development. And for all things electronic and experimental our SONICS team curated a weekend of DJ’s and live music at the Pig featuring Wheel Up, Borough Council, Ruby Colley and more.

The highlight for Sunday was the FAMILY UMBRELLA PARADE and PRESERVATION SUNDAY where festival-goers gathered together and the rivalry of the second line brass bands came to a head in a dramatic play-off at the White Rock Theatre. Communities and schools took the opportunity to decorate their umbrellas ahead of the Parade at a free workshops, or attended the ‘Frock Up Market Place’ at the Observer Building to find the perfect outfit and accessories for the Mardi Gras Ball.

The five days of festival revelry culminated in FAT TUESDAY itself, (21 Feb) a free night of music across Hastings Old Town that has been the launch pad for stars of the future such as Nova Twins, Green Tea Peng and Kid Kapichi. This year included rising stars Ciel, Hot Wax and Congratulations.

Tuesday also played host to the REGGAE ROOM Party, at The East Hastings Sea Angling Association featuring a host of guest selectors on the decks and singers on the boards until 1am. And to ensure the festival went out on a high, the infamous AFTER PARTY at The Brass featured high-calibre live music from renowned Hot Drop plus late night DJs.