HASTINGS’ brightest festival delighted audiences in South Korea after a documentary featuring the annual May Day event, Jack-in-the-Green, was aired in the East Asian country earlier this month.
Last May, the Korean Broadcasting System (KBS), South Korea’s equivalent to the BBC, commissioned a documentary, Colors4Desires, which looked at the different meanings of red, blue, white and green in different cultures, and the colour green brought the South Korean film crew to Hastings.
The crew documented Jack in the Green festival and the importance of green, which in UK pagan tradition symbolises Spring and fertility.
Gina McDonald, a South Korean producer based in the UK, said: “It’s was awesome, overwhelming and really fascinating to see how many people are involved and how prepared people were, and all the green, it was absolutely amazing!
“Sometimes things can be slow with local authorities but I would like to say that Kevin Boorman was great and we couldn’t have done this without him. He was so passionate and so proud and really wanted to show Hastings to us. The people in Hastings were also so welcoming!”
“I think it is great to see the tradition still being carried out, almost like a ritual, and this was really interesting for people in South Korea to see.”
The May Day tradition, although dating back to the 16th Century had stopped by the beginning of the 1900s. But in 1979 celebrations were revived and each year thousands descend on the Old Town to enjoy the Mad Jack Morris dancers, the parade and the crowing of the Old Town Carnival Queen.
The hour-long episode on the colour green, which also took the crew to Marrakesh, New York and the Isle of Wight, includes footage of Mick Bovee, who has been a dressing as Green Bogie every year for 20 years, preparing for the big event and taking part in the procession.
Mick Bovee told the Observer: “I think it is very important to those of us doing this year after year I think the programme shows Hastings in a very good and positive light and the film crew seemed absolutely delighted in the town. And it’s great that Jack-in-the-Green is interesting enough to someone in South Korea means it’s of global interest and that’s really nice.
The experience of being filmed while I was in the procession was really nerve racking. They filming my every move and it was quite daunting. This is good for the town and the footage they chose shows Hastings in a really good light.
Kevin Boorman, of Hasting Borough Council, said: “We’re very to help one to help promote Hastings. It’s a very prestigious show in South Korea and we just very happy we could them them.
“We like promoting our events and Jack in the Green is one of the best events we’ve got in Hasings so it’s fantastic to get the exposure and for more people to visit Hastings in the future.”