Jack In The Green

Folklore and old traditions often play an important part in my making and research. A couple of weeks ago I attended the Jack In the Green festival at Hastings. It’s an annual event, over four days, culminating in a costumed parade on the fourth day of the festival where the “Jack” dances and parades up and down the streets and lanes of Hastings followed by his bogies and a magnificent cast of green characters, dancers, straw-bears, birds and a giant. Jack slowly makes his way up to the West Hill, with locals and visitors snaking their way up to the top of the town for further music and merriment. At the end of the festival the Jack is symbolically slain and the spirit of summer is released.

I enjoy how a lot of the events across the country are a blend of old pagan traditions mixed with more recent Victorian ways of celebrating and 60's and 70's influences, as well as present day fashions and subcultures. They have all made their marks and culminated in a hybrid celebration. 

There has been more interest over the last few years for these kind of customs and I have noticed more artists taking an interest in old customs, costumes, folklore and folk art. There is a zeitgeist for these traditions across the arts, present too in the recent resurgence and interest in folk horror films. It’s a trend I’m excited by, if it gives more importance and resources for recording and celebrating some fascinating aspects of our social history.