Top musicians will headline this year’s Festival by the Lake

Top jazz musicians Sarah Jane Morris and Gwyneth Herbert are headlining at this year’s Festival by the Lake on Sunday June 23rd between noon and 8pm, in the beautiful surroundings of Ashburnham Place, near Battle.

Also on the bill are Hastings’ popular Afrobeat band Samaki, Juliet Russell and the Vocal Explosion Choir, Syrian trio Jamal, Alaa and Zahi and much more; there will be poets programmed by the Whole Shebang and a special theatre performance by PSYCHEdelight a company who bring together European and refugee actors.

Festival By The Lake 2018
Flashback to last year – having fun at the Festival By The Lake 2018 raising funds for Hastings Community of Sanctuary.

Now in its third year, the festival aims to raise awareness of the global refugee crisis and to foster a sense of community with refugees who have made a new home in Hastings.  It also raises funds for local group Hastings Supports Refugees and promotes Hastings Community of Sanctuary; part of the national City of Sanctuary movement that holds the vision that the UK will be a welcoming place of safety for all and proud to offer sanctuary to people fleeing violence and persecution.

Sarah Jane Morris-Tony Remi-Tim Cansfield small
Sarah Jane Morris, Tony Remi and Tim Cansfield

Taking place on the closing day of Refugee Week 2019, Festival by the Lake is a full day of music, food, workshops and more. At the heart of the event is a communal picnic and everyone is invited to bring food, bring friends make new friends. Delicious food and a bar will also be available on site.

The lake on the estate will be open for wild swimming and those attending can take a guided tour of the woodlands and kitchen garden. There will be lots of children’s activities, creative workshops and a special treasure hunt from artist Peter Quinnell.

Gwyneth Herbert by Ian Wallman
Gwyneth Herbert photo by Ian Wallman

Event organiser Polly Gifford says, “The atmosphere at the festival is such a happy one, a day of shared humanity in the face of so many troubles around the world. This year we’re supporting the Lift the Ban campaign, fighting to enable people seeking asylum to work while their claims are processed rather than living on meagre benefits and wasting their skills. I hope many people will join us for a great day for all the family.”

Tickets are £15 for adults, £5 for under 18s and free for under fives, available online and from Trinity Wholefoods and the Hastings Tourist Information Centre. A shuttle bus will operate from Warrior Square, bookable online in advance. Full details at and on the Hastings Supports Refugees Facebook group.

  • About the performers
  • Sarah-Jane Morris is the British soul, jazz and R&B singer who topped the UK pop charts for a month in 1986 with The Communards’ disco version of Don’t Leave Me This Way. Morris’s magnificent soul voice has powered a 25-year career playing around the globe. Sarah Jane is doing a series of intimate concerts accompanied by the virtuoso guitarists Tony Remy and Tim Cansfield to promote her album Bloody Rain and her forthcoming tribute to John Martyn Sweet Little Mystery.
  • Hastings resident Gwyneth Herbert is an award-winning British composer and lyricist, vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and record producer.  She has released six critically-acclaimed albums, and toured extensively with her band across the UK and internationally, and has shared stages with artists such as Boy George, Amy Winehouse, Jamie Cullum and John Cooper Clarke. Drawing on influences from the worlds of jazz, folk contemporary classical music and storytelling, she performs with a variety of instruments.  In 2017 she developed a new touring and recording project Letters I Haven’t Written, in collaboration with acclaimed video artist Will Duke, that included working with refugee and other groups around the country.

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