Maddy Prior & the Carnival Band and why St Mary in the Castle deserves to flourish
She was the voice of Steeleye Span, and over the years she has established herself as one of the fairy godmothers of folk.
Seemingly never without a collection of colourful chiffon scarves, Maddy is working hard to keep alive a tradition of music that has survived for centuries.
Her Carnival Band ably abets her in this mission, wielding traditional instruments alongside contemporary ones and proving how their unique sounds are timeless and worth saving for posterity.
So although the average age of the audience at the beautiful St Mary in the Castle is significantly on the wrong side of retirement (depending on how you view these things), it’s encouraging to see a few young faces around the room.
Maddy and the band play songs that have been handed down the generations and echo centuries past. However their underlying themes remain as relevant today as when they were first written.
Love, longing, joy, beauty and sadness. It’s all there in the human condition. It’s what binds us together and remains as a constant in an ever-changing world.
Although the world may be changing, venues like St Mary in the Castle are also rocks of stability.
This former church exudes history.
It’s walls feel damp with stories of what has taken place here over the years.
Existing now as a charitable trust, St Mary in the Castle is probably one of Hastings’ greatest assets alongside the pier. It should, by rights, have a huge forward calendar of shows.
However, the gracious round walls sadly seem to stay silent for way too many days of the year, and we at the Flyer are going to make it a mission to change this and boost the fortunes of what we think should be a venue promoters and bands ought to be clamouring to get into.
With a comfortable capacity of 500 standing and seated, great natural acoustics and a fantastic atmosphere, St Mary in the Castle truly deserves to become a must-visit venue for artists and audiences alike.
Hats off to Spyboy promotions for keeping the engine ticking over and bringing some great names to the space over recent years – now’s the time to more promoters to follow suit.