Rye is a vibrant hub of activity throughout the year.
Rye & Local Area Events Calendar
With many events and things to do for everyone, Rye is a vibrant hub of activity throughout the year. We have also listed some of our favourite events in Hastings and Tenterden.
Rye Bay Scallop Week - February - March
The Rye Bay Scallop Festival takes place every year in February for nine days. Hotels and restaurants throughout the week produce special menus featuring mouth-watering locally caught scallops. The perfect time to sample some great seafood delights and enjoy events such as scallop-cutting and scallop cooking demonstrations, live music and entertainment. www.scallop.org.uk
Rye New Mayor Making Ceremony
Rye New Mayor Making Ceremony takes place each year in May. This great event has been taking place for more than 700 years. Rye’s Mayoralty can be traced back to at least 1289 when Henry de Rakele served as Mayor during the reign of Edward I. The first Town Clerk, Peter De Heghtone, was appointed 11 years later in 1300. Rye’s civic history is inextricably linked with its membership of the Confederation of the Cinque Ports. Long before England raised its own Royal Navy, the towns which became known as the ‘Cinque Ports’ – Hastings, New Romney, Hythe, Dover, Sandwich, Rye and Winchelsea – harboured ships and men who guarded the King and country from frequent and vicious attacks.
Jack in the Green, Hastings - May
May 1st has long been an important part of the annual Calendar. It is the start of summer in these latitudes and as such has always been a day for celebration: the Celts celebrated May Day as Beltane; The Romans dedicated the day to the Goddess Flora and would go to the woods to cut a tree and decorate it with ribbons and flowers, this is the origin of the May Pole. In the 16th and 17th centuries in England, people would make garlands of flowers and leaves for the May Day celebration, which became increasingly elaborate. Works Guilds would try to outdo each other. In the late 18th century this became a matter for competition: milkmaids in London carried garlands on their heads with silver objects on them, but the crown had to go to the chimney sweeps, whose garland was so big it covered the entire man. It became known as Jack in the Green. Visit website.
Peasmarsh Chamber Music Festival - June
Directed by violinist Anthony Marwood and cellist Richard Lester, and bringing world class musicians to East Sussex, the Peasmarsh Chamber Music Festival offers 9 concerts over 4 days in Peasmarsh and Rye, as well as education and community outreach events.
JAM on the Marsh - July
Jam on the Marsh is an annual multi-art festival built around Kent’s magnificent Romney Marsh and its famous medieval churches. Each year Jam on the Marsh crosses the Romney Marsh from Dungeness to Hythe and Lympne to New Romney. The Marsh churches are true beacons of culture and history; they are the heart of the festival. The event will be curated by the internationally renowned composers. Visit website.
Rye International Jazz Festival: May & August
The finest in jazz, blues, R&B, soul, funk, contemporary and crossover music.All taking place in the stunning setting of St Mary’s Church, Rye in 2019. Early May bank holiday they present a series of eclectic concerts from Friday 3rd to Sunday 5th May, with the first of their confirmed May concerts being the ‘Godfather’ of bossa nova and Brazilian music the legendary Sergio Mendes. Looking ahead to the August festival they have announced Beverley Knight and Richard Thompson will be headlining at St Mary's. For further information on this event see their website
Rye Arts Festival - September
The Rye Arts Festival is Rye’s principal annual arts event, taking place over two weeks in September. It has developed over the past 49 years into one of the most successful and respected small festivals of its kind, dedicated to high quality performances in music, literature, theatre and other art forms coupled with a range of activities in heritage and the environment. Visit website.
Tenterden Folk Festival -October
A four day festival of folk song, music, dance, crafts and traditions. Tenterden, situated in the ancient Weald of Kent, about 12 miles west of Ashford, is an ideal setting for this friendly, family festival of folk. Tenterden features one of the widest High Streets in the country lined with historic and listed buildings, numerous friendly pubs and restaurants and green verges. The festival includes many free events. More info.
Rye Bonfire Night - November
Rye Bonfire Night is one very special event in Rye that you just can’t miss. On the Saturday following the 5th November you can enjoy the procession through Rye with flaming torches, drum bands, floats and walkers from local groups and, bringing up the rear the Dragon, Scorcher and The Burning Boat (symbol of the Society). The procession winds its way through the town to the Salts where a huge bonfire is lit, and reaches its finale with a great firework display. The event is organized by Rye and District Bonfire Society.
Rye Christmas Festival - December
Christmas in Rye is a spectacular community event running from dawn till dusk with lots of great activities for both young and old. The town buzzes with Christmas markets, an ice rink, carol singing, Father Christmas and his reindeers, Mother Christmas and the elves, live music and a Christmas procession. More info