EVENT Children of the Beltane
Mark the return of the sun with magic and music at Beltane at Thornborough Henge in North Yorkshire. Established as an antidote to commercial festivals, it honours Brigantia, the pre-Christian goddess from northern England. Watch a mystery play, dance around the fire, learn about druidry and folklore and watch handfast ceremonies. May 6. Free, a small charge if you want to camp. Alternatively, gather for music, workshops and activities at the enchanting Beltane Fire Festival in Cowden (ticketed), try axe throwing, sing sea shanties, watch reenactments and burn a giant wicker man at Butser Beltain Festival (ticketed), celebrate pagan-style with with other families at the Spirit of the Marsh Beltane Festival (ticketed), or welcome in the spring with the Ice Queen and the Green Man, music, street theatre, living history and mummers at the Clun Greenman Festival (ticketed, but very cheap!)
EVENT Work It
Celebrate May Day on two wheels at Chingford’s Mayday Fayre in Walthamstow, London. Join hundreds of other cyclists in a bicycle ballet. Or help build a huge May Day bonfire (and watch it burn) and explore Nature’s Playground. The event is part of Walthamstow’s London Borough of Culture celebrations. May 4, free.
DO Picnic Time
Why not celebrate on a smaller scale and hold your own garden or park mayday picnic? Make a Veggie Rainbow Picnic Pie, Nettle Cordial and some Rhubarb Cake to eat. Create some improvised musical instruments – we love these bottle cap sticks – for a sing song, and some ribbon wands to wave. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, take your own, home-made Maypole to dance around!
EVENT Deep Dive
Every year, Brighton Festival pushes boundaries a little further. This year, the guest director is Malian musician Rokia Traoré, and she’s curated an event to tickle every sense. Of course, the opening weekend’s children’s parade (pictured) will be spectacular – this year the theme is Folk Tales from Around The World – but we’re also very excited about Wet Sounds – a literally immersive sound and lighting installation in a swimming pool and Curiouser, a show that plays with proportion in a Wonderland manner . Mainly ticketed, but there’s are plenty of free events
EVENT, LEARN and DO Well, Well, Well
The Well Dressing season has started in Derbyshire. Most towns and villages in the county Peak District display a natural mosaic creation next to their wells and water features over spring and summer, each dedicated with a carnival or mini festival. It’s a tradition thought to have been started either by the Romans or Celts – find out more about it here. There’s a handy calendar of events here – why not pop along and watch? Or perhaps you could try creating your own mosaic made out of natural materials next to your pond, hosepipe or paddling pool? There are some ideas for methods here.