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A Musically Sophisticated Town

Written By Richard Anthony Lock

I was asked to write about a recent win for Hastings, and given a video link (youtube.com/watch?v=HCNL2gS31bg). I watched the video and felt I would do a disservice to put it into my own words, words spoken so concisely by Monsieur Gunton himself. 

Quote, “I woke up this morning and saw that Hastings has been voted in a survey the most musical town in the UK. This doesn’t come as any great surprise to me, and I’m sure it doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone who lives in the Hastings area. After all, Hastings is this morning waking up with a collective hangover, after 5 days of celebrating the Fat Tuesday celebrations. The Hastings Musical Festival is going on behind me at the White Rock Theatre, and in a months’ time Beatles Day will be there too. 

“This town is buzzing with musicians. I have lived here for 25 years and was struck straight away by the quality of the music and the musicians. 90,000 people live here and the concentration of musicians and music across all genres is amazing, with both young and old getting involved. And it feeds on itself, the more people you’ve got making music, the more people you will have making music. 

“When you have events like Fat Tuesday, the music festival, Beatles Day, and countless other things that go on in this town as well, it inspires people” 

Andy’s words show the passion that this town has for music. But an interesting thing in the report was how it categorised the way in which people are open to music. 

The study states that, “musical skills and ability are not evenly distributed across the population, and are linked to a person’s profession, education level, and their average income.” Interesting to think that the higher up you are on the list of education and income, the lower you are on the list for musical aptitude. And as we know, Hastings is well known for having high unemployment and low income. 

Hastings also has a unity that many other towns just don’t have. We all brace ourselves against the winter winds and rain that batter our doorsteps for months on end. We then celebrate together when Jack pops onto the Green. 

The reason, in my opinion, that we were voted most musical town is because of the brotherhood created. Any gig you go to you can hear great musicianship. Bass and drums syncopating effortlessly, experimentation going to new levels with guitar riffs and synths, front men trying out all sorts of new ways to grab the attention of their crowds. 

Hastings has an strange ability to allow musicians to do things differently, and take music to a place none of us knows how to articulate. It gives them a belief system to do that. 

This town provides great musical role models, who just keep on playing, and the best way to learn is to do. By so doing you inspire, by inspiring you set in motion an individuals desire, and when people desire something, they go out and get it. 

Hastings, the most musical town in the UK? With our reputation?! I should think so.

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