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Hastings enjoyed another great May Day bank holiday, as the unlikely mix of Morris dancers and motorbikes packed the town.

Kevin Boorman, Hastings Borough Council’s marketing manager, explained :- “Both the revived ‘Jack in the Green’ festival of Morris dancing and the annual motorbike mass ride to Hastings have become firm favourites in our event calendar. Whilst other places may say that the May Day bank holiday hasn’t really caught on, that certainly can’t be said here, as Morris dancers and motorcyclists fill the whole town.

“This year of course the bank holiday actually fell on May 1st, which meant that there were far more Morris dancers and spectators ‘dancing at dawn’ on our West Hill this morning.

“We opened our West Hill lift – a 126 year old funicular railway – at 0430 this morning, and it was great to see dozens of Morris dancers and spectators taking advantage of the early morning lift.

“And although rain fell during the Jack in the Green procession this morning, the threatened thunderstorm held off all afternoon, and an estimated 5 000 spectators on the West Hill enjoyed the spectacle of different Morris sides dancing against the dramatic backdrop of a rough English Channel.

“The Jack in the Green Festival is organised by a group of volunteers, and we are very grateful to them for what they do to put on one of our most popular, and unusual, events. We are well known for being quirky and different, and today showed why!’

Bank holiday weekend is nearly upon us, hopefully bringing the sunshine and a bit of warm weather with it.

The May Day bank holiday always brings a lot of people to Hastings whether is to come and see all the bikes along the seafront or to celebrate the Jack in the Green festivities.

We have put together this guide to let you know what’s happening in Hastings so you have plenty to choose from.

Jack in the Green

Jack in the Green will be back on Monday 4th May starting from the Fisherman’s museum leading his procession through the town accompanied by Morris Men, Bogies and a May Queen. The procession will continue up to the West Hill this year opposite the castle instead of inside the castle grounds. This is where Jack will be slain and the Spirit of Spring will be released.

This event will be starting at 10am and the slaying of Jack will be taking place at 3pm with activities and plenty of Morris Dancers throughout the day.

Hastings May Day Run 2

May Day Run

If you are a lover of bikes Hastings is the place to be on Bank Holiday Monday.  Thousands of bikers visit Hastings every year travelling places such as Locksbottom, Farnborough and Kent parking up their bikes along the seafront for everyone to see.

This event has been taking place for over 34 years now and continues to grow every year.

The Hastings May Day Run which has been going for over 35 years is a much loved and great day out for locals and visitors from all over as well, even more so if you have a passion for motorbike.

We have some statistics from the organisers of the event and they gave us some insights in to what this one day event does for the local economy.

Hastings May Day Run 2

96,000 people attended the Hastings May Day Run in 2014

The first thing that may surprise you is that the amount of people who came specifically for the event hit a record 41,000 motorcycles in the town on the day based on Police camera records which is a 30% increase from last year. That’s a lot of people and for some it might seem hard to imagine that the towns population goes up by nearly 50%.

To truly understand these numbers we recommend (next year, of course) that you stand near the castle on the West Hill which will give you a commanding view down toward the Stade all you will see is a sea of bikes and people and then it out in to perspective.

Overall 96,000 people entered the town centre between 0900 and 1700 when the BSB live from Oulton Park was on the big screen which is more than the entire population of Hastings itself!

The event has now surpassed the world famous Isle of Man TT as well in numbers of bikers who attend. the seafront stretch had bikes taking up every available space for two miles.

The organisers estimate that the Spring Run is worth over £2m to the local economy with traders enjoying a bumper day in fast food sales and incidentals as well as fuel and associated products.

There were stalls throughout the event selling anything from £10 bike gloves to £900 custom helmets as well as more dealers offering test rides etc than any other one day coastal show in the country.

While the great weather obviously helped it was also noticed that Spring Opener has now blossomed from being a regional event into a major national motorcycle festival with bikers now travelling from all over the country including large contingents from the West Midlands and Newcastle Upon Tyne.

The event itself does attract locals but they now only make up 20% of the visitors on the day this means that most of the money generated on the day has come from sources outside the area which provides a great financial boost for the town.

If you missed the event, don’t worry as there will be a new event on the 27th July at the Bexhill Motofest which you can find out about here including details on sponsorship.

Hastings May Day Run

The Hastings May Day Run had 41,000 bikes spread over two miles of the seafront