When: 30th April – 1st May 2017
Where: Clun, Shropshire
£: Free (there is an admission charge for Monday’s fair in the castle grounds, £5 for adults and £2 for children, under 5s go free)
What is it?
The Clun Green Man Festival is a traditional annual event with music, drama and medieval merriment, celebrating the arrival of spring.
The highlight of the festival is a playful ‘battle’ between two characters, ‘The Green Man’ and ‘The Frost Queen’, who symbolise a battle between the seasons of winter and spring.
For those who haven’t heard of The Green Man before, he was once a popular mythical figure used to symbolise rebirth and was often used to represent spring. The Green Man, often depicted with a face made from leaves and other vegetation, can still be found in various forms around the country. He is commonly seen in wood and stone carvings on buildings and furniture, as well as on traditional signs for pubs named The Green Man. Clun’s version of The Green Man is unique to the area, with a face made of leaves and deer antlers on his head.
The Clun Green Man Festival kicks off on Sunday 30th April, as The Frost Queen’s Battle takes place in The Square. Visitors to the festival will be able to watch as The Green Man attempts to defeat The Frost Queen in this historic mock battle.
As well as the battle, there will be plenty of street entertainment taking place during the day, from 12pm to 5.30pm. There will be traditional fun in the form of morris dancing, Jack the Jester and the Plantagenet Medieval Society. There will also be exotic animals from Animal Man, and music from Two Faced Tom and the Bootleg Boys. The day rounds off with a free gig at The White Horse Inn with The Rhythm Thieves.
On Monday 1st May there is another battle between The Green Man and The Frost Queen. This is the most important day of the festival, as tradition states that if The Green Man does not defeat The Frost Queen there will be no summer in Clun Valley!
The day begins with pre-battle entertainment on the bridge from 11.30am with Jack the Jester. At 12 noon The Green Man approaches the bridge accompanied by the May Queen. The famous Battle on the Bridge then follows. If The Green Man wins the battle (and we suspect he will) then the Traditional May Fair will open in the grounds of Clun Castle.
The fair at Clun Castle Meadow will feature stalls showcasing local crafts and food stalls. There will be jewellery makers, weavers, cake makers, potters, garden ornament makers and artists selling their wares. Local and conservation organisations such as English Heritage, Shropshire Wildlife Trust, the Woodland Trust and Tools for Self Reliance will be in attendance too, with stalls and information.