Hastings Fat Tuesday – the UK’s largest Mardi Gras celebration – runs from Friday 9 February through to the big day itself on Tuesday 13 Feb.

With just a month until the five-day festival, the first 30 band names have now been announced. These include the ever-popular raucous punk folk sextet Skinny Lister, emerging rapper Chiedu Oraka, singer-songwriter Sean McGowan, Brighton punk pop outfit Jetstream Pony, and Hastings’ indie rockers Kid Kapichi as well as featured act, Jamie Smart.

“This is a music event that is driven by a love of the culture and a celebration of the noise. It’s not really like anything else out there – a work of art in itself that is fast becoming a key event on the music calendar.” John Robb (Louder Than War)

For those who are confused by the name of the event and who might wonder why anyone thought it was a good idea to have a big night out on a Tuesday, it’s pretty simple.

Shrove Tuesday always precedes Ash Wednesday – the start of Lent, which marks 40 days of fasting until Easter. With eggs and fat off the menu for this period those who celebrate the tradition have always accompanied ‘shriving’ (repenting their sins for forgiveness) with a hearty plate of pancakes as a way of using up the ingredients they would forgo up until Easter Sunday. But the French took the pancake ethos up to the next level by turning the whole day into a huge party. They’d really let the good times roll, and the using up of excess fat (‘gras’) on this particular Tuesday (‘Mardi’) gave us the now infamous ‘Mardi Gras’.

Skinny Lister will be headlining the opening night on Friday 9 February at 7pm in the imposing surroundings of St Mary in the Castle.

This will be the chance to see them live before they’re off on a US tour, which includes a cruise liner show with Flogging Molly off the coast of Miami. Support comes from this year’s Festival Featured Act, singer-songwriter Jamie Smart and his band.

Tickets are £5 and available online now.

Elsewhere on the Hastings Fat Tuesday bill

Rapper Chiedu Oraka is a pioneer of the alternative urban scene in Hull, drawing on his northern working class background:

Hastings’ own Kid Kapichi have been making waves, hailed as an indie band to watch by the Evening Standard:

Reminiscent of Jesus and Mary Chain at their best, new Brighton band Jetstream Pony features former members of The Wedding Present, Aberdeen & Trembling Blue Stars:

Southampton-based troubadour Sean McGowan returns to Hastings after a busy year of touring, including recently supporting Billy Bragg.

Also on the line-up for this year’s festival are:

Trevor Moss & Hannah Lou


Mr Wilson’s Second Liners

Bollywood Brass Band

Dr Savage

Mama Josie

White Rose

La Lune

King Size Slim

Gavin Martin

Dark Matta

Sister Suzie

Saint Apache

Orange Circus Band


The Imaginary Hat

40 Shillings on the Drum



Sabrina Gunston

Ded Rabbit


Blue Lilly

The Meat and Onions Gang

The Kiffs

Many more acts are still to be announced.

Adam Daly, Hastings Fat Tuesday co-founder and producer said: “We’re delighted to welcome some of the best emerging and established acts from all over the UK to Hastings Fat Tuesday this year, as well as many great local artists. Stay tuned as there are more still to be announced!”

Tickets are now on sale for festival favourite Le Grande Mardi Gras Ball, with colourful costumes and carnival spirit aplenty (Saturday 10 February, at St Mary in the Castle).

Live music comes from the irrepressible Mr Wilson’s Second Liners. Think New Orleans meets ‘90s club classics.

This collective provides a twist on the New Orleans tradition of uniformed brass bands – rather than old style hymns, these grooves wouldn’t be out of place among the 24 hour party people of the Hacienda. Tickets are £10, available online.

Each day of the events has something different in store as the format changes to accommodate different venues, different styles of music, and showcases for out of town bands.

Without a shadow of a doubt, Hastings Fat Tuesday ranks high on the list of ‘must see’ UK festivals. Book a long weekend off work, get onto Air B’n’B and make sure you are in town to experience the madness first hand.