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Jack in the Green Festival

This year's festival is over Friday 4 May to Monday 7 May 2018

The Jack in the Green Festival is an annual event that takes place in various parts of Hastings. It's a four day event which attracts thousands of people every year and is a true British May Day celebration not to be missed.  The main event is on the May Bank Holiday Monday, with the Jack in the Green parade itself which begins at 9.45am at Rock-a-Nore Road and finishes on the West Hill. 

Friday 4 May

Music Session at The Stag, All Saints Street, Hastings

At 8pm - a gathering of dancers and musicians celebrate the start of the weekend with a traditional folk music and singing session.


Saturday 5 May

Morris Dancing & Bike Celebration, Stade Open Space, Rock-a-Nore Road, Hastings - 11.30am

Jack in the Green and Bike 1066 come together to celebrate the opening of 40th anniversary of the Hastings May Day Bike Run.  This one-off event will be full of surprises as Morris Dancers and Bikers come together in the 'Wall of Death'.

Dancing on Winkle Island - 12noon

Traditional kick-off to a weekend of dancing begins at Winkle Island.  The dancing continues throughout the afternoon, around the old town finishing at 4pm.

Rattlebag, The Stag Inn, All Saints Street, 3pm

Now a Jack in the Green tradition, join four-piece female harmony group, Rattlebag, for an intimate sing around.

Saturday Night Ceilidh, with Lasair, caller Gordon Potts, St Mary in the Castle, 8pm, tickets £12 Adults; £5 Children, Families £25

Lasair are one of the fastest rising folk bands around.  They boast an exciting tune section - full of energy, they'll keep you dancing all night.


Sunday 6 May

Dancing on the Pier, 1pm

Mad Jack's, Hannah's Cat and visiting dance sides will be showcasing some of their best performances on the pier followed by more dancing on the seafront and in the Old Town.

The Copper Family of Rottingdean, All Saints Church, 4pm

The Copper family are a Jack in the Green favourite. Listening to the traditional Sussex songs sung by this outstanding singing family is a real treat.  All Saints Church, Hastings Old Town.  Admission £8.

The Drum Off, 4pm, Butlers Gap, George Street

Section 5, Sambalanco and visiting drumming groups come from different ends of the Old Town and culminate in Butlers Gap for a mass drumming battle.  You can't miss them!

The Big Squeeze, upstairs at the Cinque Ports, All Saints Street, 7.30-10.30pm - free

Bring your instruments for a traditional English music session led by squeeze box players Alan, Goose and Trooper.

Ceilidh with Hekety, caller Free Lock, St Mary in the Castle, 7.30pm

Hekety play a mixture of traditional English dance tuners and their own tunes influenced by klezmer, European and other folk music.  www.kekety.co.uk

Doors open 7.30pm; Tickets: Adults £12, Children £5, Family £25


Monday 7th May

The Grand Procession

Breakfast, 7:30am

Start the day with a hearty "Morris Dancer Breakfast" to fuel you up for the day ahead. Everyone all welcome and proceeds to "The Two Towers Trust".  St Mary Star of the Sea Church Crypt, access from The Bourne, Hastings Old Town

Approximate timings for the procession:

9.45am - The Gathering, Fishermen's Museum, Rock-a-Nore Road

Dancers, musicians, chimney sweeps, May Queens, drummers, giants and colourful characters come together to greet Jack for another year.

10.15am - Jack is Released

Jack and the Bogies burst onto the street.  Jack is greeted by the crowd and shares his first dance with Mad Jack's women.  The procession then forms behind him, makes its way along Rock-a-Nore Road, up All Saints Street and across The Bourne.

11.30am - The High Street

The procession pauses in the High Street so Jack can go back down and meet his followers.  The procession reforms at around 12noon and continues up Croft Road.  (Please make room for dancers to perform).

11.45am - Garry Blakeley and Bear Lucas, The Stage, West Hill - Garry Blakeley will be joined by Bear Lucas on guitar to keep you entertained as the procession makes it way to the West Hill.

12.30pm - The Procession arrives on the West Hill

Each dance group, drummers and singers will take it in turn to perform on the stage.  There is also a craft fair and refreshments while you're on the hill

4pm - Slaying of the Jack

After the final stage performance, the Bogies and Jack make their way to the stage.  Jack has his final dance with Mad Jack's Men and is symbolically slain and the spirit of summer is released.  Catch a leaf for good luck!

Notes to remember:  open fires and bbqs will not be allowed on the site during event and would ask that all dogs be kept on leads.

History of Jack in the Green

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