Hastings is preparing for an invasion of giants, morris and clog dancers from around the world this coming weekend – as well as thousands of bikers on the Bank Holiday Monday. The annual Jack in the Green festival welcoming summer was revived in 1983 after lying dormant for almost 100 years. The very traditional festival kicks off this Friday at 4:30 am (oh yes!), with dancing in the dawn at the Ladies Parlour on West Hill.
There will be live music, dancing and other events throughout the weekend, but the main day is the Monday, starting off with a Morris Dancers’ breakfast at 7:30 am in the crypt of St Mary’s, Star of the Sea, off The Bourne in Hastings Old Town – not to be confused with St Mary in the Castle on Pelham Place which is hosting evening ceilidhs.
After this, performers and spectators start to mass around the Stade net huts and at about 10am Jack is released from the Fisherman’s Museum at Rock-a-Nore and the greening begins – ending up eventually on West Hill around 4:30 pm. For more information from the organisers click here . An exhibition about the festival is being staged in the History House, Courthouse Street from April 30 to May 10.
Jack in the Green coincides with the largest gathering of motorbikers in Britain. This year 90,000 people are expected to attend on Monday May 4, with 41,000 bikes and 50 exhibitors, mainly on the sea front, but also, like Jack, around the town. More information on the bike bonanza is available here.
These are not ordinary bikes. This is no typical May Day celebration. This is Hastings, where the motto seems to be “more is more”.