Bristol Jack in the Green
Your next chance to meet Bristol's Jack in the Green is Saturday 4th May 2024
Jack in the Green welcomes the Summer each year, in a lively procession through the city's streets, accompanied by musicians and dancers. He appears on only one day each year - the first Saturday in May. He passes from the historic Harbourside up to Horfield.
Jack's poem for 2021
In 2021, for the second successive year, Jack was unable to process through the city's streets, and May Day was quiet. Although Jack's attendants had been physically separate for over a year, their voices were brought together here, in this special recording for 2021. This is the poem that accompanies Jack's coming to life at the start of his procession and his departure from life at the end. We hope it reaches Jack's followers, wherever you are, and reminds you of sunny days spent watching him dance through Bristol.
#bristoljackinthegreen Poem with thanks to William Anderson
Who is Jack?
Jack is a May Day tradition whose history stretches back longer than memory. We, in Bristol, are lucky enough to still celebrate the beginning of May with Jack's remarkable dance through the city, to herald the arrival of the Summer.
Two centuries ago, Jacks in the Green would have been a common May Day spectacle across England. You can still find Jacks in a number of English towns and cities at this time of year.
Jack is an imposing figure, who is hard to miss: vibrant and colourful, nine feet tall, and covered in greenery and flowers.
He is accompanied by attendants, who are completely disguised in green rags and vegetation.
They play music, dance and sing as Jack leads them through the streets to celebrate the coming of Summer.
Come and see Jack for yourself, and bring your friends and family.
Watch as he comes alive at the start of his journey, by Bristol's historic Harbourside. Then let him lead you through the city's streets, and follow the procession for as long as you like.
Finally, at the end of his journey, Jack must die, to release the Spirit of Summer. If you witness this spectacle, you can take away a few leaves and a little of Bristol's history and culture.