The UK's Best Bank Holiday May Festivals & Parades

May Day is a public holiday usually celebrated on May 1st. It is also a traditional spring holiday in many cultures, with dancing, singing and cakes usually making up a part of the celebrations. With the May Bank holiday fast approaching, we’ve shortlisted the best celebrations to get to this weekend.

Jack in the Green May Day festival, Hastings

The Jack in the Green Festival is an annual event that takes place in various parts of the seaside resort. Attracting thousands of attendees each year, the festival spans a total of four days, and, if the residents of Hastings are anything to go by, it truly is an event not to be missed.

The long weekend promises to deliver music of all genres and dance performances, as well as numerous activities to keep the whole family entertained. The weekend is topped off by the main event on the May Bank Holiday Monday with the Jack in the Green parade itself.

Setting off at 9:45am from the Fisherman’s Huts on Rock-a-Nore Road, you’ll see traditional folk dancers and music throughout the afternoon. The festival finishes with the slaying of Jack to release the spirit of summer for this year.

Sweeps Festival, Rochester

Sweeps Festival is a modern mix of music, dancing and entertainment with more than 60 Morris performances and entertainers celebrating throughout the three-day festival.

The festival began back in 1868 after the Climbing Boys’ Act 1868 made it illegal to employ young boys to carry out the trade of chimney sweeping. During the days of underage chimney sweeping, the boys were allowed one holiday per year which was May 1st.

The festival year on year promises to recreate the joy and laughter enjoyed by the chimney sweeps from April 29th – May 1st with multiple dance performances.

At the festival, expect to find a jam-packed programme with The Mayor of Medway officially opening the festival with a dance showcase at Guildhall Museum Forecourt.

Full details can be found here.

Festival of Fools, Belfast

The Festival of Fools promises to be a festival like no other with daredevil street performers, fast paced acrobats, heart-stopping Hip Hop dancers as well as laugh out loud comedy acts.

With more than 120 performances taking place across the streets of Belfast City Centre and Cathedral Quarter, you’d be crazy to miss this.

The line-up won’t disappoint with world class acts coming from all over the world including Poland, Italy, France, Spain, Germany, USA, Canada, Ireland & Holland.

If you live in Belfast, get ready to gather up your loved ones and come join in for the best weekend of the year.

Beltane Fire Festival, Edinburgh

Celebrate the first signs of summer with the Beltane Fire Society which marks the changing season with a wild mix of drums, fire and physical theatre.

According to the festival organisers, “as darkness falls and the fire torches are lit, our drums will thunder and the May Queen will awaken. Across the night She leads her court around the hill and through great arch of fire; the Green Man will be stripped of his winter guise and reborn, and together they will light the traditional Beltane bonfire.“

To find out more or to buy your tickets, visit the website here.

Whatever activity you end up doing this weekend, we’d love to see what you get up to. Send us a snap or tag us in your picture by finding us; @HatchbagCompany on Twitter, @thehatchbagcompany on Instagram and The Hatchbag Company on Facebook.

Happy May Bank Holiday!

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