2017 our first simple Day of Dance, mainly for Morris dancers, and all based around the tithe barn. Our logo was a group of Morris dancers.
2018 was cancelled because the Royal Wedding and FA Cup final were announced of the same day. Too much competition for our fledgling event!
2019 we rebranded our Day of Dance as a Green Man Festival and introduced a 10′ tall giant Jack In The Green . We moved into the town centre but introduced the Stripping Jack ceremony at the Tithe Barn and closed the event for the first time with Holt Morris’ very unusual Signposts dance, now our standard closing dance.
2020 Covid struck so the full on event was replaced by a three hour online video showcasing all the dance groups that would have performed.
2021 with Covid easing Jack was able to make a simple tour of town without dancers but we added two wild beasts to his entourage and his personal band of musicians the Ganderflankers.
2022 we welcomed Jack’s sister, Jill in the Green, making us unique in the UK in having a Jack and a Jill (not this pair!). We also introduced our Waking Jack ceremony at the Tithe Barn to rouse Jack from his slumbers, it took a lot of noise to wake him. We also gained a splendid new flexible logo courtesy of artist and dancer David Lawrence.
2023 Jack grew a few inches taller and found himself with a brand new face courtesy of Jan Windsor. We introduced three new events, a Buskers’ Circuit in smaller pubs and cafes, a Folk Club Stage in St M’s Hall and a Choral & Classics Concert in Holy Trinity Church. Everything was completely free and proved to be hugely popular with capacity crowds estimated at over 8,000 people.
What Happens to Jack?
Each year we build a new Jack from a strong willow frame covered in masses of greenery and coloured ribbons. He is topped off at 10’+ with a large golden Gudgeon like that on the Town Bridge lock up. At the end of each festival the audience strips Jack of his greenery to ensure a good Summer and his willow frame is donated to a garden or allotment somewhere in town. Jack’s spirit returns to slumber in the Tithe Barn until the following year when we summon him again. If you pass the barn listen carefully, you may just hear his snores.