Our Sweeps Festival for 2018 will be held on Saturday 5 May, Sunday 6 May and Monday 7 May with pre-festival music on Friday 4 May 2018.
The festival celebrates the traditional holiday that the chimney sweeps enjoyed on 1 May each year which used to be marked locally by staging a procession through the streets of Rochester.
Sweeps Festival 2018 is full of action-packed performances and events that will keep the whole family entertained. To help you plan your weekend to one of the largest May Day celebrations of its kind, we've set out the festival highlights so you can personalise your Sweeps Festival weekend to you and your family.
Rochester Cathedral Tours
Free tours and pilgrimages; search for green men and other medieval symbols hidden in this 1400 years-old building.
Find out more about Rochester Cathedral tours
Edward II – Saturday 5 May 2017
Sweeps Concert Night, Rochester Castle Gardens, 7.30pm. Edward II Supported by Funke and the Two Tone Baby.
Visitors can enjoy three days of live music with performances at all of the festival stages and venues around Rochester.
Sweeps procession parade
Come along to the Sweeps parade on Monday 7 May at 2.45pm. The Sweeps procession will be featuring the Jack in the Green from Star Hill on the High Street and will end in the Castle Gardens.
Jack-in-the-Green awakening ceremony
Come along on Tuesday 1 May at 5.33am and find morris dancers and sweeps bring Jack to life at the crack of dawn. Everyone is welcome Bluebell Hill picnic area for this traditional May Day gathering.
In the Castle Gardens
- Artisan Produce Fair
- Folk-art and Psychic Fair
- Children's Fun Fair
- Real ale tent and fully licensed bar
- The festival's main stage
At Boley Hill
- Musical Instrument Fair
- Recollect Record Fair
- More of the Artisan Produce Fair
- Performances at the Boley Hill Stage
In the High Street
- Morris dancers
- Festival stages with live music
- Plenty of food and drink to enjoy
Visit the Huguenot Museum - the French Protestants who escaped persecution in France.
Opening hours: 10am to 5pm.
Cost: £4 adults and £3 concessions.
The Widdershin Witches
Traditionally, a witches broom was used for sweeping away negative energies. This May Day weekend the Widdershin Witches will be sweeping their magic across the High Street.
Morris dancers from around the country will come together to perform across the High Street.