Jack in the Green 2024. Photo by Andrew Clifton.Jack in the Green 2024. Photo by Andrew Clifton.
Jack in the Green 2024. Photo by Andrew Clifton.

In 53 pictures: Jack in the Green - thousands defy weather to take part in big Hastings celebration

Torrential rain on Monday did little to dampen the town’s enthusiasm for the Jack in the Green celebrations.

After a largely dry weekend, the event experienced a day-long downpour for its main procession day on the bank holiday.

But the streets of the Old Town were still lined by thousands of people eager to watch the colourful and noisy procession and there was no noticeable difference to crowd numbers at last year’s event when the sun was shining.

The procession, led by Jack – an eight foot high dancing bush – consisted of local drumming groups, Morris dancers and many other colourful characters. It made its way through the Old Town then up to the West Hill where another large crowd waited sheltering under a sea of umbrellas. After an afternoon of music and dancing the Jack was ceremonially slain to release the spirit of summer and leaves distributed to the crowd for good luck.

The event is now in its 41st year. Event founder Keith Leech said: “A lot of people in Hastings have been without water all weekend – then we get water from the skies when we didn’t want it.

"People who braved that weather were amazing and really helped to lift us. It shows just what Jack in the Green means to the town.”

Hastings Borough Council has withdrawn funding for the event next year, even though it brings in thousands of pounds to the local economy over the long weekend and is the largest May Day event in the country.

Pictures by Andrew Clifton.

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