The Eastbourne Lammas Festival is on this weekend (Saturday and Sunday July 25 and 26).
Starting with a colourful carnival procession, led by the figure of John Barleycorn, the festival of traditional dance and music marks the cutting of the first corn crop, a traditional celebration of the beginning of harvesting season.
Now in its 14th year, the festival raises money for the RNLI.
The word Lammas comes from the old English for Loaf Mass, a celebration of a harvesting abundance of corn. Lammas is also known as Lughnasadh, a name derived from that of the Celtic Sun God, Lugh.
On Saturday, the Pentacle Drummers will be performing in the morning at various spots throughout the town with Morris sides Hunters Moon, Mythago and Gong Scourers, joining Eastbourne Cosplay and others at Eastbourne Pier at noon and processing along the seafront, arriving on the festival site at around 12.40pm.
Eastbourne Borough Council’s lead cabinet member for culture, tourism and enterprise, Margaret Bannister, said, “Lammas Festival is a big part of Eastbourne’s festival calendar, and unique to folklore within Sussex.
“The Lammas festival, which is free to attend, is traditionally a time of transformation and new beginnings and celebrated with an open air Ceilidh, folk rock music, folk dancing and of course an abundance of delicious food to mark the harvesting season.”
Real ales and traditional ciders from local 1648 Brewery, including the specially brewed “Lammas Ale” will be flowing throughout the weekend.
From 11am on both days, stalls will be open on the Western Lawns showcasing arts and crafts, including pole lathe demonstrations, story-telling, bouncy castle and the ever popular Matthews Mousetown.
Dancing continues throughout both days with Morris sides Hunters Moon, Mythago, Wicked Belly, Wild Hunt, Black Swan, Shalesbrook Cotswold and Spirimawgus plus Sussex Dance Studio. There will also be performances by the Pauline Quirke Academy and belly dancing by the Sea Gypsies on Saturday.
At 5.30pm on Saturday Hunters Moon perform a dance which represents the slaying of John Barleycorn followed by a thanksgiving ritual to celebrate the first cut of the corn.
Music kicks off on the main stage with Carole at 11am on Saturday, with Si McLean, the Ragati String Band, Touchstone, Cracks in the Land and Matt Cooper completing Saturday’s line-up
Sunday starts with a lifeboat demonstration by the RNLI at 11am followed by another great line-up with the Blueshift Jazz Band in their traditional slot at 11.45 followed by Jacob Challoner Szulecki, Black Strap Molasses and The Equatorial Group.
The Open-Air Ceilidh at 4pm, led by The Moonlighters, ends the Lammas celebration in appropriately rowdy style.
For more information visit www.lammasfest.org or call the Eastbourne Tourist Information Centre on 415415.
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