Visiting societies info

We are part of a long tradition of Bonfire in Hastings and East Sussex.  We are proud of this heritage and strive to maintain high standards.  To this end we have definite expectations of our members and visitors.

Headline messages for our event on 14 October 2023

Communications with HBBS

We are not sure all the invited societies are coming yet.  Please do!   If you have any problems with email communications from/to us this year then please email if you think we can help (will be seen by our Secretary, Membership secretary, Press officer and website team). 

Also is a great address to send your joining instructions if we are invited to yours.

Road closures start at 6pm this year for our Junior Procession to start their processsion along the carriageway at that time.  See road closure map below...

Our event details for visiting societies follow...

Parking and road-closures

Parking for coaches is in Falaise Road. Some car parks opening times are limited by the event. Further information is at

Road closures start at 5:30pm this year (half an hour ealier than in past years) to allow our Junior Procession to start their processsion along the carriageway at that time.

Road closure map

Parking map


Our headquarters is the White Rock Hotel and there will be a temporary bar area set up inside which is available to all societies and groups.  Various loos are available there.

Procession Order - Societies Assembly/Forming-up

Grand Procession to Celebrate the Discovery of The Gunpowder Plot: -

HBBS Banners & Maces

Giant Effigy

Hastings Borough Bonfire Society

The Mayor, & Honourable Guests 

Section 5 Drummers

Lewes South Street Bonfire Society

Ewhurst and Staplecross Bonfire Society

Robertsbridge Bonfire Society

Raven Drummers

Battel Bonfire Society

Ninfield Bonfire Society


Northiam Bonfire Society

Rye and District Bonfire Society

Ryebellion Drummers

Lewes Cliffe Bonfire Society

Nevill Juvenille Bonfire Society

Chiddingly Parish Bonfire Society


Hawkhurst Gang Bonfire Society

Hailsham Bonfire Society

Rotherfield and Mark Cross Bonfire Society

Pentancle Drummers
[but likely to be moved back a society or two on the night]

South Heighton Bonfire Society

Lewes Southover Bonfire Society

Eastbourne Bonfire Society

Chailey Bonfire Society

Seaford Bonfire Society

East Hoathly & Halland Bonfire Society

Celebration Samba  
[but likely to be moved forward a society or two on the night]

Lindfield Bonfire Society

Mayfield Bonfire Society

Barcombe Bonfire Society

Lewes Commercial Square Bonfire Society


Uckfield Bonfire Society

Lewes Waterloo Bonfire Society

Littlehampton Bonfire Society

Who the Devil Are We

Burgess Hill Bonfire Society

Isfield & Little Horsted Bonfire Society

The Iceni Dance Troupe

Firle Bonfire Society

Newick Bonfire Society

Edenbridge Bonfire Society

Fishbone Ash

Buxted Bonfire Society

Other visiting Societies

HBBS Blazing Firecarts


Society marshals

Your society’s marshals need to be clearly identified e.g. by a fluorescent armband, or badge, (available from our HQ)

Torches (main procession)

Ours are traditional hessian torches and, if cared for, will last for the duration of the procession.  If the flame begins to die out just tap on the road to open up the hessian and it should relight. Please do not swing them about or drop them near or under vehicles or spectators.

Flaming torches are an important and spectacular part of the procession.  Torches are available at the beginning and specified points during the procession.

Torch lighting

Torches are lit by HBBS Assembly Crew when in Robertson Street (not as in recent years at the approach to the entrance to Robertson Street but a little later this year).

This will be a few yards later than in previous years - after having entered Robertson Street. 

We hope to greet you with a firecracker point once you're lit up.

Child members and torches

Children who are members of our (or your) society may now carry torches from the age of 10 and upwards at the discretion of their parents, assuming permitted by your own society rules.  Parents need to make an assessment of their child / children’s physical and mental capacity to carry a torch in a responsible and safe manner and take responsibility for supervising them in any torch carrying they allow.

Please note: It is the responsibility of the parent to ensure their child’s safety, and the safety of those around them

Banner re-torching

Having processed up All Saints Street and down the High Street, the procession will pass round Winkle Island, so re-torching at the Stade will be convenient.

Banners will be re-torched at the Stade (west of Eat@the stade café, Old Town).  We don't expect the procession will need re-torching.  If your torch starts to fade, a couple of gentle taps on the ground should revive it.)


Handheld flares

Parachute flares are banned from the event. In date Category 1 flares are permitted. Please use responsibly and safely.

Pushchairs or disability

Pushchairs are permitted, at parental discretion so long as they are well away from the fire carts and cracker points. Please keep young children away from any burning torches, sparks smokes and ensure they have safety protection.  Pushchairs cannot be taken onto the beach but must stay on the paved area.

Wheelchairs, members with limited mobility should assess the risk to themselves before joining the procession. There is a designated area which is wheelchair accessible near Pelham Place toilets.

Bands, Drummers and Dancers

Any bands or dancers in the procession are there at the request of the Society to make our event more colourful and interesting for the public.  Musical instruments and uniforms are expensive.

Procession route

This year the procession route does not light up torches until a little later, as we enter Robertson Street, and we loop round Winkle Island for a re-torching like we did last year.

Fire-site safety

First Aid

Trained first aiders (St John Ambulance again this year) will be in attendance along with marshals and members of the emergency services who should be made aware if you require medical attention. 

The Tri-arg medical centre is located at the west end of George Street.

Emergency Services

The emergency services are there to help us put on a safe and well organised event as well as to protect us and members of the public.  The directions of the emergency services must be followed, even if this deviates from our original plans.  It is the job of the officers of the Society to liaise with all the emergency services and make any decisions that need to be made. Please comply with these decisions/directions.

Entry onto beach fire-site

Public Liability Insurance

Here is a link to our public liability insurance certificate covering all our legal entities (Hastings Borough Bonfire Society Ltd, Hastings Bonfire Trust, Renegade Pyrotechnics Ltd)

Extra safety info - bonfire, ambulance, first aid, exits

Our bonfire will be built from softwood and as such will get very hot especially if there is a sea breeze.

St. John Ambulance first aid point will be at the western end of George Street.

No glass is allowed on the fire-site or in the procession.  Otherwise, we hope you enjoy sitting around our bonfire afterwards and chatting with us all.

There will be marked exit routes from the fire-site to use; safely avoiding the firework area and members of the public. See enclosed fire-site plan. We have contingency exit plans in place in case of crush incidents - follow the instructions of our marshals if they direct.

Commercial Adverts!   x3!   Unheard of!

Sponsor a Memorial Firework

(application deadline is midnight Saturday 7xth October 2023)

For details please see... 


2023 Firework funding

Please consider supporting our Go Fund Me fireworks campaign for one of our three tiers of sponsorship: £10, £30 and £250.  

(deadline midnight Thursday 12th October 2023)


HBBS Crowdfunding appeal 

Supporting this supports our 2024 bonfire torchlit procession, bonfire and effigy