Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Things to Do In Eastbourne This Spring

Since moving back to Eastbourne from Brighton in December, I've been working hard to re-establish my roots here by making the most of local life. I do miss being able to step out of my house and virtually straight into any number of appealing restaurants, pubs and gigs and this feeling is especially evident with Brighton Festival about to start. But all those things are only a 30 minute train ride away and if you know where to look for them, Eastbourne has plenty of charms of its own. Lately there've been fabulous dinner parties with old school friends, lovely long walks along the peaceful seafront, many more family gatherings than before and a surprising number of interesting happenings in and around town.

Last weekend we went along to the Magnificent Motors vintage car show (see picture, right) in Princes Park and have signed up to a load more local events in the next few weeks. For those curious about what the Sunshine Coast has to offer, here are some suggested things to do in Eastbourne in May and June.

Sat 7th May - Green Fayre, Gildredge Park

A village fete with a conscience, Green Fayre is one of the more appealing events in the Eastbourne Festival 2011 calendar. Especially so to me, as I live just across the road from Gildredge Park, in Old Town. I'm particularly looking forward to the promise of gypsy swing and folk music, the 'Frock n Roll' clothes swap and some yummy organic/veggie food stalls.

Mon 16th May - Animal Collective, Winter Garden

When Beirut played at the Winter Garden last year it was absolute mayhem of the like rarely seen in Eastbourne's theatre district (or anywhere in Eastbourne for that matter). Although it's on a Monday night, expect similar excitement for Animal Collective, with bus loads of Brighton hipsters making the trip along the coast to see the band's only UK tour date outside of ATP Festival. For more details and tickets, see the Melting Vinyl website.

Sun 22nd May - Finzi Quartet, All Saints Chapel

Perhaps more hip replacement than hipster, this classical recital is part of the Meads Music Festival - a series of Sunday afternoon concerts at the beautiful All Saints Chapel. This one happens to be on my wedding anniversary, so I'm hoping for romantic string arrangements in the shape of some soothing Mendelssohn and Ravel.

Sat 28th - Sun 29th May - Eastbourne Fiesta, Western Lawns

Billed as 'Eastbourne's first cultural fusion of food, real ales, live entertainment and fun!', Eastbourne Fiesta is going down on the last weekend of the month in the pleasant Western Lawns - just a stone's throw from the marvellous Towner Gallery. Since the official website insists on making you download a PDF in order to access the programme, I've taken the liberty of embedding it on Scribd. I'd probably give the Sunday morning bagpipes a miss, but I do recommend local band Gadzooks, who are playing at 2pm that same afternoon.

Friday 3rd June - Magic Hat Ensemble, Under Ground Theatre

If you can get past its terrible website, the Under Ground has some pretty decent gigs going on. I've lined up folk, gypsy, swing, indie and classical music, but I couldn't let the season pass without a jazz fix - and this looks like the best option. If you're a jazz fan and have never heard of the Magic Mat Ensemble, give them a listen.

Tues 7th June - That Comedy Thing, The  Lamb

This is a regular night that I've been meaning to attend since my return to The Bourne. It's at my local pub, so there's no excuse other than working too hard and being rubbish. But when a friend mentioned recently that the legendary Jimbob of Carter USM fame was doing a slot in June, I was finally spurred into action and have booked tickets. If you know what I'm talking about, you can get yours here.

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So you see, Eastbourne isn't all cauliflower perms and zimmer frames - but don't go telling everyone, as I quite like the peace and quiet here. If you're in need of refreshment in between all this excitement (and I know I will be), I heartily recommend Central Eating - a very groovy new cafe that has popped up on Terminus Road. Expect a full write up of my other Eastbourne culinary adventures very soon.