From pier to eternity

Suggs, from Madness, nailing the last plank on Hastings Pier before it opens to the public in April. (Video Still) SUS-160322-142644001
Suggs, from Madness, nailing the last plank on Hastings Pier before it opens to the public in April. (Video Still) SUS-160322-142644001

Hastings Pier is finally about to re-open six years after it burnt down in 2010 and is launching with a top class list of events.

May 21 will mark the historic moment and not only will we be able to walk again on our pier agaom, but there will be the chance to see Madness, one of British most iconic bands.

The London-based ska band will lead the opening gala as promised by Hastings-born singer Suggs when he visited back in March.

Madness started their career in 1976 as part of the Two Tone scene and have become a national treasure with a unique quirky style, which reflects the soul of Hastings. Madness’ hits-filled Night Boat to Hastings will sail at 7pm, following an invite-only reception earlier (10am-2pm) and afternoon entertainment (3-6pm) with music from the 1960s/70s to mark the musical heritage of the pier as a gig venue.

Tickets which are in support of the pier charity sold out in less than one hour. Before this much anticipated event however from 10am on April 30 a vintage funfair featuring a traditional carousel will provide fun for youngsters.

May is also the month of open-air film screenings curated by The Luna Cinema, a company specialised in outdoor screening across all the UK, including some breath-taking venues which include the Tower of London, Kensington Palace, Kenwood House and Leeds Castle. Hastings will be one of the venues where Star Wars - The Force Awakens will be screened.

This is going to be the first outdoor event for a Star Wars saga film, something Luna Cinema founder George Wood is proud of. He said: “This summer we will finally be able to watch Star Wars under the stars – where it was meant to be seen! If you’ve yet to experience your favourite film in a stunning openair setting, this is the summer to do it.”

The screenings kick off with A Pier (May 12)- a documentary about the venue made by local film-maker Archie Lauchlan, followed by Jaws (May 13), Star Wars: The Force Awakens (May 14), Pride (May 27) and Dirty Dancing (May 28).

To celebrate the end of summer One Inch Badge will run a two-day music festival featuring acts of the calibre of Happy Mondays and The Levellers. The two bands will join the pier’s list of outstanding past performers from the glory days such as The Who, Jimi Hendrix, The Kinks, Siouxsie and The Banshees and Pink Floyd’s last performance with Syd Barret. On Saturday September 17 Bez and his band-mates will play followed by The Levellers on Sunday September 18. On the first day electronic music-filled support comes from The Orb, Formation and more to be announced. Indie outfit Turin Brakes and folk-punk band Ferocious Dog will join the line-up on Sunday. Ticket prices range from £37 to £65.