Black Huts Festival is back with oneof its strongest and varied line-ups

The Black Huts Festival is back again this month with an incredible line-up of words, music and film that would be hard to match this side of London.

Thursday, 13th October 2016, 3:59 pm
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 12:08 am
Black Huts SUS-161110-132453001

Describing itself as a ‘festival of writing, music and film’, the Black Huts is now in its fifth year and runs from October 26 - 30.

It was created by poet and publisher Nicholas Johnson and has become the place to discover, and re-discover, some of the great UK artists who can often be found working in the margins.

It takes place at The Beacon, on the West Hill, and the Electric Palace cinema, in the Old Town, Hastings.

This year’s line-up includes a basket of surprises from visionary film-maker and Black Huts patron Andrew Kotting, fresh from the sell-out success of his Edith project, which involved a filmed surreal pilgrimage from Waltham Abbey to Hastings, following in the footsteps of King Harold.

An undoubted highlight this year is a performance by electronics duo Grasscut, whose spectral, glitched-out, psych pastoralism, continues the bold tradition of English transcendentalism. They have a close connection to Sussex and the South Downs and will be playing a concert in honour of poet Basil Bunting.

Also appearing, at the Electric Palace, on Sunday October 30, is Scottish musician and songwriter Alisdair Roberts, known for the strength of his own compositions as well as the raw, stripped down, beauty of traditional ballads, which he interprets.

Poetry is abundant at this year’s Black Huts with homages to Perthshire bard Hamish Henderson, Black Mountain poet Robert Creeley and Basil Bunting’s Briggflatts, with poets, lyricists, song poets, and an afternoon of Homer in Stuart Montgomery’s complete reading of Circe.

Montgomery joins poets Maggie O’Sullivan, Tom Pickard, Jennifer Dunbar Dorn, John James, Nicholas Johnson.

There is puppetry and a reading by Blurt’s Ted Milton, at one of the festival’s most unusual events ‘The 6th finger which the other 10 obey.’

There will also be a screening of Hastings film-maker Rebecca E Marshall’s beautiful and haunting film on a Siberian hermit, which crosses the borders of time.

There is a film by Old Town painter Roland Jarvis, and a special tribute in word and image to the much missed clock maker and painter, who died this year, aged 90.

Documentary genius John Krish is remembered at this year’s festival.

Krish worked with Humphrey Jennings while Sussex-born Kevin Brownlow edited Krish’s I Think They Call Him John in 1964.

Krish made his classic ‘The Elephant Will Never Forget in 1953 It is a beautiful film about London’s last tram journey.

Oscar winner Kevin Brownlow opens the festival with a rare screening of his film Winstanley. This film on the Diggers celebrates his 40th birthday. The film portrays Gerrard Winstanley, who founded England’s first commune in 1649.

Singer and scordatura guitarist Alasdair Roberts closes the screening with a concert.

Nichola Bruce made the film-poem I Could Read The Sky with poet Dermot Healy. This year she premieres her film-poem Perihelion : culled from a 35 year archive of Hastings’ exuberant life.

Among other happenings at the festival is a screening of The Midnight Drives, by Cornish film-maker Mark Jenkin. Andy, a lonely divorcee, takes his children on holiday to a bleak, out-of-season Cornwall in an attempt to recapture the magic of his own childhood.

There is also a screening of work in progress Shall we/& why not? based on filmed interviews with American pot Robert Creeley

Tickets are available from Hastings Tourist Information Centre, Cobblers to the Old Town, Music’s not dead in Bexhill, and from the Beacon and the Electric Palace venues. For more information visit

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