May Heydays at Evesham




May Heydays at Evesham is the relocated and renamed Eastbourne International Folkdance Festival (EIFF).  After 44 years at Eastbourne, we needed to move because of the difficulties posed by having three venues at some distance from each other.

The Festival Venue

Our new venue, The De Montfort School, Evesham, WR11 1DQ, offers all you need on one site:An added bonus is that the school is less than a mile from Evesham town centre and there are two hotels within half a mile of the premises.  The Evesham Premier Inn is 3 miles away on the by-pass, and there are other hotels, B&Bs and self-catering options within a few miles of the venue.  We have suggested Where to stay within a reasonable distance from the festival venue.

The Festival Format

Closely following the long-established Eastbourne format, May Heydays offers an enjoyable bank holiday weekend mix of different folk dance traditions from many parts of the world.

English DancersOur extensive English programme of workshops and dances offers modern and historical dance (including Playford and other styles and eras) with a variety of live bands from England and/or the States.  In 2019 Eastbourne started offering two English Balls for which dancers were invited (but not obliged) to wear historical costume or formal dress.  The success of this means that we will continue to have two Balls at May Heydays, one on Saturday and one on Sunday.

American DancersFestival-goers also enjoy a great selection of American contras and squares, again with a variety of live bands from England and/or the States.  These workshops and dances will be led by callers from the UK and/or the States.

International DancersOur International guests will teach dances from different regions of the world, with a special emphasis on the Balkans.  Owing to the range of tunes and styles involved in International dancing, workshops are mainly taught with recorded music; only for the evening dances will there be live musicians.

But May Heydays also offers an eclectic mix of other dance styles, traditional and modern.  To give you a few examples, we may throw in French and Northern European couple dances, Jive, Lindy Hop, Cajun or Argentinean Tango.

A further string to the festival's bow is our commitment to providing opportunities for caller training.  May Heydays will continue the Eastbourne tradition of offering club callers the opportunity to call for a festival audience during the Callers' Showcase.  There will be two experienced callers present.  Feedback will be given privately to one caller while the next caller starts their dance.  This way, dancers won't have so long to wait and callers will receive a one-to-one with their mentor.

In 2020 the festival will also include a "Callers' Round" where callers can meet up and exchange notes.  The sessions will be moderated by Robert Moir (Saturday) and Colin Hume (Sunday).

In addition to our dance programme, from 2020 we will offer a selection of guided walks for non-dancing partners.  We are also planning singing and music workshops.

Please visit the Performers page or check our Programme for the current year's proposed dance genres, and to find out which bands and callers we have booked.


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Latest information

2020 Festival cancelled

See the News page for more details.

See the Thanks page for dancers' reactions to this.

Dance-Writing Competition

We are looking into running the competition some time this year.  Options are: Adding it to another festival or do it at Halsway?  Hire a hall in Evesham, start with the competition and then follow it with a dance?  Or record the dances with a few volunteers (no physical touch? — now there's a challenge) and then send a link of the recording to those who bought 2020 tickets to judge the entries. — Something to do while "socially distancing"!

See the rules here.