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Thaxted Ring Meet. Credit: www.discoveruttlesford.co.uk

21 Morris Events To Visit In 2024

We round up some of the top morris dance events for 2024

If your house is anything like ours then the first few days of January are when calendars are checked, annual leave requests submitted and (dance) plans made for the summer. Just us? Oh…

OK, you may not be planning your holidays around morris dance events… yet. But hopefully by the end of this article you might have pencilled a few into your diary from our 21 morris events to visit in 2024!

You won’t find any of the big folk festivals in this list (you can check out our listing of those here). These are the events more dedicated to morris dancing, either in its widest forms, or for specific traditions. 

These are some of the biggest morris events, but, of course, there are dozens of others, not to mention the many thousands of appearances at pubs and non-morris events by the UK’s morris teams. So if you’re looking for morris dancing near you, the best thing to do is find your local team (use the morris map below) and check out their social media.

And if this list has got you interested in having a go at morris dancing, rather than just going along to watch, our 10 reasons to join a morris dance team will give you any further reasons you might need to get in touch with your local team.

Whittlesea Straw Bear

13 January 2024
Over two-dozen morris teams processing and dancing their way around the Cambridgeshire market town of Whittlesea, accompanying the synonymous strawbear (who is surprisingly coherent, for a bear). Expect it to be cold, at least until the strawbear is set on fire on the Sunday (without the man inside). More info.


13 April 2024
DERT (the Dancing England Rapper Tournament – you can see why they use the acronym), is the event in the rapper dance calendar. This year taking place in Whitby (following last year in Rochdale), teams will work their way around the various pubs of the seaside town, being judged on the various aspects of their dances. Find your favourite pub with a good view and sit and let the dancing come to you. More info.

JMO Day of Dance

13 April 2024
The Joint Morris Organisations Day of Dance is a great opportunity to see lots of morris teams from across the country in one place. This year taking place in Newark, the event brings together sides from across the three morris organisations (hence the name), many of whom aren’t on the festival scene. More info.

St George’s Day – various

23 April 2024 (or weekends either side)
Teams across the country will be celebrating England’s patron saint in the way I’m sure he would have wanted; by waving handkerchiefs, clashing sticks and jingling bells. Too many events to list here, but use the morris map above to find your local morris dance team and check their events list to see who’s dancing where. More info.

Dancing up the dawn on May Day – various

1 May 2024
Many morris teams will be ‘dancing up the dawn’ to mark the start of summer on May the first. These events have drawn increasingly large crowds in recent years and are usually incredibly atmospheric occasions at beautiful and/or meaningful locations.

Look out for the Tradfolk listing later in the year where we (attempt to) round up all the dances taking place, or keep an eye on the social media of your local team to find out where they’re dancing. More info.

Hastings Traditional Jack in the Green

4 – 6 May 2024
Organised by Hastings RX Morris, Hastings Traditional Jack in the Green has seen a ‘Jack’ (a traditional figure associated with celebrating May, dressed head-to-foot in foliage) set loose on the town, accompanied by morris dancers, since the celebration’s revival in 1983. Sides from all over the country travel for the event, which spans the whole weekend and includes processions, dance spots and live acts. More info.

Rochester Sweeps Festival

4 – 6 May 2024
Rochester Sweeps Festival was designed to celebrate the coming of spring along with chimney sweeps, whose traditional holiday was May Day. A Jack-in-the-Green figure also features here, along with around 60 morris teams and other entertainment around the town. It culminates with a mass procession through Rochester’s streets on Bank Holiday Monday. More info.

One of the classic scenes of the English village idyll

Steve Roud, speaking about Bampton Whit Monday

Bampton Whit Monday

27 May 2024
Described by Steve Roud as, “one of the classic scenes of the English village idyll”, the village of Bampton comes alive on Whit Monday (read our write up from 2022 here). Due to rifts in the past, the village now boasts three separate morris sides who come together on Whit Monday to dance at various spots and pubs around the village. Expect big crowds, generations of dancers performing together and the only pub in the country called the Morris Clown. More info.

Thaxted Annual Ring Meeting

1 – 2 June 2024
A day of dancing around the beautiful Essex countryside, followed by a mass procession and dance spots in the town itself, the Thaxted Ring Meeting has the honour of being the oldest continual massed dance event in the country, beginning way back in 1935 (with breaks for the war and COVID pandemic). It is organised by Thaxted Morris Men, who are themselves the oldest revival side, established in 1911. Attending sides are mostly drawn from the Morris Ring, but there are also a smattering of Federation and Open Morris representative teams invited each year. More info.

Ossett Beercart

1 June 2024
One of the newer traditions on this list, it was in 2013 that Wakefield Morris decided that pulling a ceremonial ‘beer cart’ around Ossett, and holding a charity beer festival at the same time, would be a good way of attracting morris teams to the West Yorkshire town. Turns out they were right. Taking inspiration from rushcart ceremonies (more on which below), you can expect dozens of teams at this great event, plus a beer festival with a champion beer voted by the morris teams themselves on the Friday night (a task they hate, let me assure you). More info.

Vale of Evesham National Morris Weekend

22 – 23 June 2024
Evolving from Evesham’s annual Asparagus Festival (because why not), the Evesham Morris Weekend has been a major morris event since 2006. Usually featuring over 30 sides, tours are bussed around various picturesque nearby spots for your viewing delight. The event also usually features a ceilidh and other informal socialising. More info.

All Things Morris

6 – 7 July 2024
Literally combining ‘all things morris’ – dancing and a vintage car show (are there any other morris-named things…?!) – this event takes place annually in the Devon town of Ilfracombe. Expect, well, morris dancing and Morris Minors. More info.

Our favourite things called Morris.

Croydon Night of Dance

13 August 2024 (tbc)
The Croydon Night of Dance is now over 20 years old and has become a firm fixture in London’s morris calendar. It usually sees around a dozen of the capital’s teams come together to tour a series of Croydon’s watering holes, showing that morris can also thrive in urban environments and isn’t just for village greens. More info.

Saddleworth Rushcart (and other rushbearing ceremonies)

24 – 25 August 2024

Rushcart ceremonies, in which villagers would collect rushes to replace the old ones for the parish church floor, were once common across the country. Now only surviving in some areas of the north west, Saddleworth Rushcart is the biggest and most well-known. Morris teams help to pull the rushcart, on which sits a mound of rushes, around various pubs and other dance spots in the town, before being taken to the church on Sunday morning. Oh, and perched on top of the cart is a member of Saddleworth Morris Men, who has to stay there all day (yikes). Other rushbearing events can be seen in Littleborough (20 July (tbc)) and Sowerby Bridge (7 September). More info.

Lincoln Big Morris

7 September 2024
An annual gathering of morris teams to dance around the ancient city of Lincoln, the event usually has around 20 sides in attendance. Dancing takes place in various spots around the city with a final massed spot in front of Lincoln castle. More info.

Abbots Bromley Horn Dance

9 September 2024
The most ancient dance custom on this list, there’s mention of a horn dance in Abbots Bromley in Staffordshire in 1686 and of a similar custom involving a hobby horse but no horns even earlier, in 1532. The reindeer antlers used in the dance, which are stored in the church for the rest of the year, have been dated to the 11th century, so it’s safe to say the dance is pretty old (although probably not William-the-Conquerer-old). 

Taking place on Wakes Monday each year, the custom involves a set of six Deer-men, a Fool, Hobby Horse, Bowman and Maid Marian, plus musician, who walk around 10 miles performing at various locations to the ethereal notes of the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance tune. The custom attracts hundreds of spectators from around the world. 

Other morris teams also occasionally perform the dance with their own sets of antlers, including Lord Conyers Morris Men (May Eve (30 April) and Winter Solstice (21 December)) and, at Halloween 2023 for the first time in 20 years, Moulton Morris Men. More info.

Clitheroe Clogfest

14 – 15 September 2024 (tbc)
We thus far haven’t featured much (any) step clog on Tradfolk, so 2024 seems a good time to remedy that. Clitheroe Clogfest ran in its current format for the first time in 2023 and is an amalgamation of a number of previous clog events from across Lancashire. Combining a day of public clog performances around Clitheroe on Saturday followed by a competition day, go along to see the top step clog dancers in the country display this mesmerising form of traditional dance. More info.

Illustrious Order of Fools & Beasts Unconvention

12 – 13 July 2024
The Illustrious Order of Fools and Beasts is an organisation dedicated to furthering the ancient and noble art of morris beasts and fools. The Unconvention is the annual get-together, where members provide entertainment for the public and share advice and experiences (which I assume involves lots of neighing, braying and people getting hit with pigs’ bladders). This year the event is being hosted by Jockey Morris, so get yourself to Birmingham if this sounds like your thing. More info.

Sword Dance Union (SDU) Longsword Competition

12 or 19 October 2024 (tbc)
The annual showcase dedicated to longsword dancing will this year be taking place in Northallerton. A somewhat overlooked event in recent years (the pandemic didn’t help), the 2023 event in Sheffield put longsword back on the map. Expect a bumper field of both traditional longsword teams and morris teams showing off their sword skills in a format that usually includes both public dance displays and a formal competition element. More info.

The Dark Gathering

26 October 2024
Bringing you some of the more spiritual elements of the folk world, the Dark Gathering is held every year in Tintagel, Cornwall, on the Saturday preceding Halloween. Organised by (the award-winning) Beltane Border Morris, it brings together various border morris dance teams, Mari Lwyds and Ossess. 2024 is its tenth anniversary year, so expect some special guests and surprises in the light of spluttering flaming torches and an autumnal moon. More info.

I hope they’ve done a risk assessment

Boxing Day – various

26 December 2024
It was, so the legend goes, Cecil Sharp’s chance encounter with the Headington Quarry Morris Men on Boxing Day 1899 that kick-started his fascination with morris dancing and is a major reason why we have morris as it is today at all. But actually, the dancers that day were only performing because work was short and they needed to make a bit of extra cash; they would normally only dance in summer.

Flamborough Sword Dancers, Boxing Day 1908

Today, morris, sword dance and mumming teams around the country come out in force on Boxing Day, so check social media to find morris dancing near you. In particular, the traditional longsword teams of Handsworth and Grenoside (Sheffield) and Flamborough (East Yorkshire) attract huge crowds to their annual Boxing Day events. More info.