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Jack in the Green Festival

Watch the video from this year's festival below.

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 28 April

Music and Song with the Wakin' Snakes

St Mary Star of the Sea Church Crypt, 7.30pm for 8pm, tickets £5

A lively Cajun, old time, and blues band with an impressive instrumental line-up including fiddle, banjo, double bass and percussion.

The Stag, All Saints Street - free

A gathering of dancers and musicians come together to celebrate the start of the weekend with a traditional folk session.   Many other pubs will have live music too! 


Saturday 29 April

Morris Dancing at Winkle Island from 12noon

A weekend of morris dancing begins at Winkle Island.  Mad Jack's Morris and Hannah's Cat Morris are joined by dancers around the country.  Dancing continues around the Old Town until approx. 4pm

Rattlebag, The Stag Inn, All Saints Street, 2pm

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

Saturday Night Ceilidh, with Banter, caller Fee Lock, St Mary in the Castle, 8pm, tickets £12 Adults; £5 Children

Featuring Simon Care, Nina Zella and Tim Walker.  Banter are all about having a great night dancing to the best tunes, played with a cheeky twist.

Molly Evans with Jack Rutter, St Clements Church, High Street, 7.30pm, tickets £12 Adults, £5 Children

Molly Evans is a lively young singer and fiddle player known for her strong voice and described by Bright Young Folk as "an exciting sound".  Molly is accompanied by talented young multi-instrumentalist and previous BBC young folk award winner Jack Rutter.


Sunday 30 April

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, St Clements 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.  St Clements Church, High Street, Hastings Old Town.  Admission £8.

The Drum Off, 4.30pm, 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 Take the Biscuit, caller Sheena Masson, St Mary in the Castle, 7.30pm

English ceilidh band Take the Biscuit combines exciting young folk duo Beth Gifford and Matt Brookes with ceilidh legends Rob Gifford and Trevor Lines. Playing at least one tune written by every member of the band, they combine original material with some traditional English tunes. In their debut season, they sold out in many venues across the country, so are not to be missed. 

Doors open 7.30pm; Tickets: Adults £12, Children £5, Family £30


Monday 1st May

Dancing at Dawn

Morris dancers and spectactors will get an early morning lift on Monday 1st May as Hastings Borough Council (HBC) will be opening the town's West Hill Lift at 0440 for the 'dancing at dawn' event.

Morris dancers in Morris kit will travel free, spectators pay the usual fare (there's no early morning premium)!

The West Hill is 126 years old, and is one of the oldest railways in the world still using its original carriages.  Dancing at dawn as the sun rises on 1st May is an old tradition too, and HBC is pleased to be able to open the lift early to allow Morris dancers get to the Ladies Parlour rather than climb the 100+ steps to the top! 

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 - Now and Then, The Stage, West Hill - four piece acapella group keep you entertained as the procession makes its 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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