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.

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.

Jack's poem

Jack makes his procession every year, and the beginning and end of his journey are marked with a poem. In 2020 and 2021, however, the streets of Bristol remained quiet and Jack was unseen. By May 2021, Jack's attendants had been physically separate for over a year, but their voices were brought together, in this special recording. This poem  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

In conjunction with the Friends of Horfield Common