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Sweeps Festival

Start Date: 29th Apr 2017

Rochester's Sweeps Festival is a colourful mix of folk music, dancing and entertainment with more than 60 Morris sides and entertainers celebrating throughout the three-day festival.

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Festival Name

Sweeps Festival

Start Date

29th Apr 2017

End Date

1st May 2017

Location

Rochester High Street, Rochester, Kent

Line Up

London Bulgarian Choir, Netherlands troubadour Rik Van den Bosch, Track Dogs (Spain), Sur Les Docks (France)

Details

The modern day Sweeps Festival is a colourful mix of folk music, dancing and entertainment with more than 60 Morris sides and entertainers celebrating throughout the three-day festival. The festival was revived in 1981 by local businessman Gordon Newton, a keen historian. He decided it was time to bring it back and over the years he has helped develop the festival into what it is today – an extravaganza of traditional Britain.

Medway’s annual Sweeps Festival recreates the joy and laughter enjoyed by the chimney sweeps from 29 April to 1 May; the one time of the year the sweeps could leave the soot behind and have some fun. Their fun included the Jack-in-the-Green ceremony, a seven-foot character that they used to waken at dawn on Blue Bell Hill, Chatham. The Jack-in-the-Green would walk with the chimney sweeps in their parade.

When the Climbing Boys’ Act 1868 made it illegal to employ young boys to carry out the trade, the traditional procession gradually began to fade. The final May celebration was held in the early 1900s.

The Sweeps Festival is special because the centre of Rochester truly opens its arms and embraces the three-day event. You don’t have to know much about Morris dancing to enjoy the festival because it has more than enough atmosphere to go round.


Invited performers include: The Thumping Tommys; Allen Family Band; We Ghosts; Funke & The Two Tone Baby; Justin & The Argonauts; Hot Rats; The Lowly Strung; Triality; Ash Mandrake; Rastko; Frog on a Bike; Hopping Down in Kent; Kelter; Oakland Brothers; Skinners Rats; Ian Petrie Band; Thiss Sarah Lucy Dole; Hobo Jones & The Junkyard Dogs; and many more

Disabled Facilities

Accessible toilets are available throughout Rochester High Street

Accommodation

Accommodation near Sweeps Festival


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