May 01 has long been an important part of the annual Calendar. It is the start of summer in these latitudes and as such has always been a day for celebrations.
Friday 29 April
Garry Blakeley & Son: 8pm
Doors open at 7.30pm, St Mary Star of the Sea Church Crypt. Tickets: £3
Garry Blakeley has been involved with music since the age of seven. He studied the violin and piano through his school years eventually going on to college, Dartington College of Arts. He was a regular in folk clubs from as early as 1971 playing with The Mariners and The Telham Tinkers. He toured Europe often with the Celtic band, Brian Boru, has supported such artists as Christy Moore and Steeleye Span, has worked and recorded with the legendary Barry Dransfield. At Jack in the Green this year, we will be treated to rousing folk rock as he performs with his son, Edd Blakeley in the cryps of St Mary Star in the Sea.
Old Town Sessions: 8pm
Join the excitement as dancers and musicians come together for the start of a great weekend. You’ll be sure to find live music and folk sessions in one of the great Old Town pubs.
Saturday 30 April
Morris Dancing: 12pm
Winkle Island and around town. Free
A weekend of morris dancing begins on Winkle Island. Host sides Mad Jack’s Morris and Hannah’s Cat Morris are joined by dancers from around the country. Come and see some of the country’s finest Morris dancing talent. Dancing begins at Winkle Island and continues around the Old Town until around 4pm.
Rattlebag are a local female folk harmony group who have been performing for over ten years from local intimate events to major festivals. Join them as they host their annual Jack in the Green sing around - bring a song to sing, or simply come and listen to the fantastic voices of this a-capella group and some local Hastings talent. All welcome.
The Saturday Night Ceilidh with The Jigalots wih Keith Leech: 8pm
Doors open 7.30pm, St Mary in the Castle. Tickets: Adults £12, Children £5, Family £30
The Jigalots are a 4-piece dance band from Surrey who play mostly traditional English music while drawing from other influences such as Medieval, Renaissance, French and Irish. Our eclectic range of music dates from 14th century to the 21st with a few self penned tunes thrown into our repertoire. Well-known local caller Keith Leech will guide you through the dances; he’s called with many popular bands nationally, and is none other than the founder of the modern Hastings Jack in the Green.
Sunday 01 May
Dancing at Dawn: 5am
Ladies Parlour, West Hill. Free
It’s the 1st of May which means that Morris dancers around the world will be dancing up the sun. If you’re crazy enough to come and watch (and join in), Hastings dancers will be on Ladies Parlour on the West Hill.
Special Morris Church Service: 10am
All Saints Church, All Saints Street. Collection
Including the Eucharist and a jig from Mad Jack’s Morris, plus a chance to join in the locally collected Hooe Ribbon Dance. Followed by dancing outside from 11.15am.
Dancing on the Pier and Town: 12.30pm
We are very excited to be back dancing on the newly opened Hastings Pier. Join Hastings’ Morris dancers and visiting sides on the pier between 12.30pm and 2pm, followed by dancing in the Old Town, concluding with jigs on Winkle Island around 4pm. Charity collections for the RNLI.
Sunday 01 May - CONTINUED
May Queen Celebrations: 1pm
Alexandra Park Bandstand. Free
Come and enjoy an afternoon of family-friendly activities surrounding the crowning of this year’s May Queen.
12.00 Storytelling with Derek Legg
12.45 Punch and Judy with Julian Rumball
1.15 Fiddle Choir
1.45 Procession through the Park
2.00 Crowning of the May Queen by the Mayor, & Maypole Dancing
2.30 Garland Competition (all welcome)
2.45 Hannah’s Cat Morris Dancing
3.00 Storytelling with Derek Legg
3.30 Punch and Judy with Julian Rumball
The Copper Family: 4pm
St Clement's Church
The Copper Family of Rottingdean have been singing their songs for generations, lovingly preserving them for the future. Performing a mixture of songs passed down through generations, and those collected by Bob Copper, they are a well-known and much loved addition to the Jack in the Green Programme. Come and experience a touch of the traditional!
The Drum Off: 4.30pm
Butlers Gap. Free
Sambalanco, Section Five, and visiting drummers will once again battle it out on the streets of Hastings Old Town. You can’t miss them!
Peeping Tom with Fee Lock: 8pm
St Mary in the Castle
for every imaginable gig that you can think of. From village halls to weddings, PTA events, Hunt Balls, quite a few festivals and everything else in between. From the very beginning, they were mentored (and used for many of his gigs) by the Godfather of the modern English ceilidh - Hugh Rippon.
Twenty-one years after they first started, they became an overnight success, rising to become one of the top dance bands in the UK. They started a never ending round of appearances at all the major folk festivals and specialist dance clubs all over the United Kingdom.
Peeping Tom perform a mixture of traditional dance tunes interspersed with some of their own compositions and a little bit of Jazz thrown in for good measure, all supported by their rock influenced rhythm section.
8pm The Big Squeeze
Cinque Ports. Free
Bring your instruments or relax and listen to the traditional English music session, upstairs at the Cinque Ports pub, led by squeeze box players Alan, Goose, and Trooper.
Vocal Explosion - Spring Explosion: 8pm
St Clement's Church
Vocal Explosion world choir featuring violinist and guitarist Garry & Edd Blakeley performs highlights from their recent sell out shows plus new arrangements to celebrate Jack in the Green and the passing of midwinter into spring.
With music inspired by the ancient Celts as well as the beautiful harmonies of contemporary English folk.
The 40-strong choir is led by Juliet Russell and accompanied by violin, guitars, pipes and percussion.
"blissed out acapella" THE INDEPENDENT
"one of the best in the country " : FEAST of FIDDLES
" A great talent" BBC
Their last shows sold out well in advance, so it is advisable to buy tickets early to avoid disappointment. vocalexplosionJITG.eventbrite.co.uk
Monday 02 May
Breakfast: 7.30am –
St. Mary Star of the Sea Church Crypt, The Bourne
Start your day with a hearty ‘Morris Dancer Breakfast’. All proceeds will go to ‘The Two Towers Trust’.
Approxiate timings for the procession:
The Gathering, Fishermen’s Museum, Rock-a-Nore Road: 9.45am
All the procession characters gather outside the Fisherman’s museum, eagerly awaiting the Jack.
Jack is Released: 10.15am
Jack bursts onto the streets with the Bogies and has his first dance with Mad Jack’s Women. The procession then forms up behind him and makes its way along Rock-a-Nore Road and up All Saints Street.
The High Street: 11.30am
The procession pauses in the High Street for refreshments and dancing. The Jack goes back through the procession to meet his followers before the procession reforms and continues up to the West Hill at around 12pm.
Now and Then, The West Hill: 11.45am
The brilliant four piece acapella group will keep you entertained as the procession works its way to the West Hill.
The Procession Arrives and Festivities Begin: 12.30pm
The dancers, drummers and musicians take it in turns to perform on the stage. There will also be a craft fayre, food stalls and refreshments tent with real ale from the FILO brewery.
Slaying of the Jack: 3.30pm
After the dancing, the Bogies parade the Jack down to the main stage where he is symbolically slain and the spirit of summer is released for another year.