Skip to main content
  1. Home
  2. What's On
Sweeps Festival 2017

Rochester Sweeps Festival - 29 April to 1 May 2023

This international celebration of folk music and dance has become one of the largest May Day celebrations of its kind in the world.

Welcome to the Rochester Sweeps Festival 2023

This international celebration of folk music and dance has become one of the largest May Day celebrations of its kind in the world. For three days historic Rochester is transformed into a riot of colour and sound with the best musicians and bands on the folk circuit and hundreds of Morris dancers from across the country clattering their clogs and clashing their sticks up and down the high street.

Rochester Sweeps Festival is steeped in tradition, brilliantly unique, truly unforgettable and ever so quirky…and we love it. It is one of the largest gatherings of Morris sides in the world, with the streets, parks, bars and pubs of historic Rochester filled with live folk music and dance over this three-day spectacular taking place from Saturday, 29 April to Monday, 1 May 2023.

Thank you to Gordon Newton, the founder of this festival who revived it in 1981 and is still heavily involved today as the Dance Director, and our brilliant Music Director, Doug Hudson.

Please note: Rochester High Street is categorised as an Alcohol Control Zone. However, close working partnership between Medway Council, Kent Police and Pub Landlords has allowed drinking in outdoor areas within the festival area between the hours of 10am and 6pm only. Drinking restrictions will revert back to normal regulations from 6pm onwards each day of the festival.


  • Arriving by Bus
    • From Chatham: Arriva- 133, 140, 141, 190, 191, (193 Sundays) 700; Nu-Venture 151, 172, 173; ASD 197
    • From Gravesend: Arriva 190
    • From West Malling, Halling and Cuxton: Nu Venture 151
    • From Grain, Hoo: Arriva 191 (193 Sundays)

    Plan your journey at

  • Arriving by train

    Arriving by train

    Rochester Train Station is roughly a two-minute walk from the high street. Strood Train Station is under a 10-minute walk. Please visit Southeastern Trains' website to plan your journey.

  • Park & Walk

    Details to be confirmed nearer the time.

  • Arriving by Car

    There is limited parking available in Rochester, so we highly recommend those that are able, consider coming by train or bus. For those who are driving, car parks can be found on link below.

  • Blue Badge Parking

    Blue Badge spaces are available in all public pay and display car parks. Please note, for car parks operating ANPR camera systems, blue badge holders will need to register their vehicle in advance to qualify for free parking and must continue to display your badge when parked.

    For the Sweeps Festival weekend, additional on street blue badge parking spaces are provided on the Esplanade (beneath the castle wall). These spaces are available on a first come, first serve basis.

Why not make a weekend of this fantastic event.

There is so much to see and do in Medway, we also have lots of exciting upcoming events and activities for all of this summer.

Check out nearby accommodation here

Check out our blogs for other inspirational ideas 

Sweeps Festival Stallholders

If you are interested in taking a trade stall at the festival, click here for more details. 

Medcouncil Cmykstrapline
Visit Medway
Official website of Visit Medway, Medway Council
Our Destinations
Official website of Visit Medway, Medway Council