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Hastings and Rother have been declared a Music City at a formal launch on Monday (27 February) at The Palace, Hastings as part of the UnConvention; a one day music conference featuring panellist conversations with BBC Introducing the South and workshops about the future of the music industry.

Celebrating and acknowledging the many varied venues and hundreds of local musicians and the fact that Hastings has been voted first for musicality in the UK, it’s an obvious decision for Hastings and Rother to make.Music City Announcement Feb 2017 IMG_3531

“As the council’s lead member for culture, the local music scene is top of my priorities but it’s very important to me personally too; as a teenager I remember spending hours enjoying live music at venues across the area and I continue to do so as often as possible”, said Cllr Dawn Poole.

“I really believe that it’s one of the most accessible art forms and with the unequalled music talent across Hastings and Rother we’re lucky enough to have quality music events spilling out of venues most weekends of the year.

“I’m really proud that together we are now a Music City and look forward to seeing what the future holds. Congratulations must go to everyone that has made this happen”.

The Music City idea was introduced by Andy Gunton of The Stinger magazine who made the official announcement at the UnConvention this week. He explained:

“The Hastings Fat Tuesday team and I have felt for some time that the music scene in Hastings & Rother and its cultural and economic value deserved to be recognised. When I first heard about the Music Cities idea, I knew it was the right way to go. This area punches well above its weight with regard to the quality and amount of music happening every day of the week.

“We’re very lucky to have two local councils working with us to promote, nurture, support and celebrate the amazing local music scene we have. They should be congratulated for being so open to the Music City idea, and for helping us get to this stage. I’m looking forward to what the musical future holds for Hastings and Rother as a Music City – I fully expect it to be a very exciting time.”

Cllr Sally Ann Hart, Rother District Council’s member for culture and tourism commented:

“Music has an important social role in that it’s part of our everyday life and enjoyment. Music is not only important for the ‘feel good’ factor it brings to us individually, but also in the bringing of people together.

“The contribution of the music industry to our national economy is considerable. It is fantastic that Hastings and Rother will benefit both socially and economically from this initiative.”

Journeys dance festival is an exciting annual, free festival offering a diverse programme of accessible dance events and activities for all.

Supported by Hastings Borough Council and as part of the free Stade Saturdays programme, the festival will feature the UK premiere of Myottian Dance from the archipelago of Mayotte in the Indian ocean.

Cllr Dawn Poole, the council’s lead member for culture explained:

“The festival takes place in locations across Hastings and Rother every summer and this year brings together forty dancers from the archipelago of Mayotte to perform for the first time. Their performance will fuse traditional Mayottian dance with contemporary western music and will also incorporate performances from local dance groups.”

This event, coordinated by 18 Hours Events in collaboration with the UK’s only Mayottian resident, Anyme Abdullah will also play host to Ghanaian born percussion master Afla Sackey and his band Afrik Bawantu.

“This will be a great evening. The fun starts at 7.30pm on Saturday 23 July at the Stade Open Space with something for everyone; even Mayottian face painting!” added Cllr Poole.

To find out more about the Stade Saturdays full programme of events visit: http://www.hastings.gov.uk/stadesaturdays or pick up a programme from the Tourist Information Centre.

Schools across Hastings and Rother have been working with local artists to respond to one of the biggest events in British history, the Battle of Hastings.

To commemorate the 950th anniversary of the Battle and as part of the ROOT1066 Contemporary Arts Festival, Hastings and Rother Arts and Education Network (HRAEN) commissioned artists Lee Shearman and Steve Tasane to produce toolkits for schools to download and use in their classrooms.

Using these toolkits and working with Lee Shearman schools have produced pop-up accordion books based on the Bayeux tapestry and written poetry inspired by the Battle with Steve Tasane.

An exhibition of pupil’s work ‘Mightier than the Sword’ was launched on Friday (15 July) at The Source Park, Hastings. The work includes artwork, poetry and stories and will be on display until 16 September 2016 in the viewing gallery of the main park with free admission to view.

Visit www.1066contemporary.com to see the full programme of ROOT1066 Arts Festival events.

Students from Robertsbridge Community College were crowned Hastings and Rother Best Company at the Young Enterprise Company Programme Hastings and Rother Finals.

The team then represented the county at the Company Programme Sussex Final in East Grinstead. Best Company 3

The students’ company, Siren Designs sold and manufactured tie dye cloth bags. The team beat off stiff competition from 6 other teams to be the overall winners.

Young Enterprise’s Company Programme is supported by HSBC and is aimed at 15 to 19 year olds. Participants set up and run businesses for an academic year, guided by local mentors.

Wendy Gorham, YE Manager for East Sussex and Brighton and Hove said: “We had some great companies started up by students this year and the judges were incredibly impressed with the products and services they had developed and the presentations they gave at the Awards.

“The Awards highlighted how the Young Enterprise Company Programme can inspire young people to become the entrepreneurs of tomorrow and help them develop practical business skills while they are still at school.

“I particularly want to congratulate the students from Robertsbridge Community College who won Best Company, for Hastings and Rother for their superb presentation, commitment and professionalism. Siren Designs also won the Best branding, Best Governance, Best trade stand and best presentation awards.

One of the new sponsors this year were Osbornes and Nick Sterling, Managing Director for Osborne Property Services said; “Osborne were pleased to sponsor this event and contribute to celebrating young people in their efforts to excel in business.”

Michael Mercieca, Chief Executive of Young Enterprise said: “The Area and County Finals are stages  in finding the UK’s Best Overall Company, and all the teams here today have achieved so much over the past year.

“The Company Programme is a great platform for students to develop their skills such as confidence, teamwork and resilience and interact with their local business community along the way.

“Well done to all the winners today and particularly to Siren Designs .”