Lammas Festival will return to Eastbourne

THE annual Lammas Festival is taking place on Eastbourne seafront on July 28-29 (from 11am).

The popular free festival not only gives local artists the chance to perform traditional music, dance, crafts and story-telling – it also raises money for the RNLI.

The festival has raised more than £9,000 for the RNLI and this year there will be a lifeboat demonstration off the beach below the Western Lawns on Sunday morning at around 11am, with commentary by the lifeboat operations manager.

The festival receives no funding from the local authority or arts organisations, relying solely on fund raising by supporters and kind donations. All performers and helpers give their time for free.

1648 Brewery brew a special Lammas Ale which will be available from the beer tent, along with other fine ales and ciders. A range of caterers also provide fodder for a variety of palates.

The word “Lammas” comes from the Old English language meaning “loaf mass”.

It is a harvest celebration of the Earth’s bounty traditionally held at the cutting of the first corn crop. Lammas is one of the four ancient pagan festivals which were adopted by the early Christian church and are now celebrated by those of all faiths, or none.

John Barleycorn symbolises the crop at harvest-time. He will be leading the carnival procession which opens the festival on Saturday, setting off at midday from the Pier and arriving on site at about 12.45 and will also be around throughout the festival.

The procession is a colourful and noisy event which everyone is welcome to join. People are encouraged to wear yellow to represent the golden ripened corn, though some may dress as pirates and all are welcome, dressed up or not!

Band line-up for this year can be found on the website and includes a mixture of local favourites and surprise guests.

Among other performers, Hunter’s Moon Morris (both days) and Pentacle Drummers (leading the procession on Saturday) are guaranteed favourites. Other attractions include Birds of Prey, Matthews’ Mousetown and Sussex Pole-lathe turners.

This year’s festival is dedicated to the memory of one of its founders Diane Bird, who sadly died in June.