May Heydays at Evesham

Following the government's decision to move the May Bank Holiday from 4 to 8 May 2020, we have been forced to curtail our programme by one day.  We will stop dancing on Sunday evening at 22.30; campers can stay until early on Monday.

If you came here from your bookmarks should have been updated with the new address.  If you followed a link from another website, that will need to be updated.

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.


Earlybird weekend Tickets for May Heydays are now available.  Special rates apply for Stewards.

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Latest information

Band change

Wild Ride's fiddler, Bob Tracey, was due to have had hand surgery in the summer.  However, the operation has been unexpectedly brought forward to mid-March, putting Bob — and Wild Ride — out of action until well after May Heydays.

The good news is that Contrasaurus, who made such an impression at Eastbourne last year, have agreed to make a return visit in 2020, so all the American events will go ahead as planned.  See the Programme page for more details.

Dance-Writing Competition

From 2020, May Heydays is offering a dance-writing competition.  Anyone can submit an unpublished dance.  This year dances should be written in the Playford style.  In subsequent years, we will ask for "Modern English", Contra or Square dances and any other genre we may think of (Border Morris?).
See the rules here.
The closing date is 31st March.