May Morning 2024: Report and pictures as city welcomes Morris dancers and more

A crowd of around 14,000 gathered below Magdalen College’s Great Tower to mark the 2024 edition of May Morning.

This attendance was only 2,000 down from last year which was the largest gathering the event has seen since 2017 due to it falling on a bank holiday.

Locals flocked to High Street and Magdalen College to listen to the College’s choir singing Hymnus Eucharisticus to welcome in the event at 6am on Wednesday morning.

Oxford Mail: Crowds gathered on High Street to celebrate May Morning.Crowds gathered on High Street to celebrate May Morning. (Image: Newsquest)

READ MORE: Costumed crowds flock to city centre in early hours for May Morning 2024

The traditional celebration of the coming of Spring brought together Oxford’s communities and people of all ages to enjoy dancing, singing and revelry.

May Morning, which is now more than 500 years old, saw a crowd of thousands stretching from Long Wall Street to the Plain Roundabout.

Traditional events and activities, including Morris Dancing and folk singing, then took place across the city as the bell of the Great Tower rang out.

Oxford Mail: A variety of costumes and headwear was on display in the city.A variety of costumes and headwear was on display in the city. (Image: Newsquest)

READ MORE: Watch as stunning choir welcomes in May Morning at Magdalen College

Hotspots for this were Radcliffe Camera, Broad Street and High Street as drummers, dancers and singers could also be found entertaining Oxford’s folk.

The May Morning event at Magdalen Bridge is organised by Oxford City Council on behalf of partners.

These include Thames Valley Police, Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, South Central Ambulance Service, Oxfordshire County Council and Magdalen College.

Oxford Mail: Free food was served by the St Aldates Church team.Free food was served by the St Aldates Church team. (Image: Newsquest)

READ MORE: May Morning 2024 attendance revealed as thousands turn up for event

Oxford City Council’s cultural development manager Paula Redway said: “May Morning is such a fantastic Oxford tradition, and this year again saw a brilliant event for the city.

“It was wonderful to see thousands of residents and visitors celebrate the arrival of spring together.

“The choral performance was energetic, and the contributions from Oxford’s communities make the event extra special, from the artwork on Magdalen Bridge to the music and dance and food/drink providers who opened all around the city centre.”

Oxford Mail: Crowds gathered outside Magdalen College's Great Tower before 6am on Wednesday.Crowds gathered outside Magdalen College’s Great Tower before 6am on Wednesday. (Image: Newsquest)

ODS supported the event by providing vehicles and street cleaning services with 12 people and three sweepers deployed from 4am to ensure the city centre was kept clean throughout the day.

Ian Thompson, ODS operations manager, said: “ODS’ Streetscene Team are pleased to see thousands of people planning to attend this popular event.

“Our team has helped to organise the clean-up of the event.

“We had 12 staff with 3 sweepers starting at 4am to clear the city centre in readiness for the event.

“Each year the team look forward to helping out at the event as they really enjoy the atmosphere that these busy mornings bring.”

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