Event of the week: Real wicker man to be set alight at Dalston pagan festival

The wicker man

The wicker man - Credit: Archant

A real wicker man will be burned this weekend at a “village fete” with a pagan edge.

The Foragers food collective are welcoming in the summer at the Dalston Wickerman Festival on Saturday April 30, where they will be serving drinks and wild foraged food seasoned with summer herbs at the Bootyard off Dalston Lane.

Collaborating with 40FT brewery, they have also brewed a special beer made with sweet woodruff, the vanilla-scented herb traditionally used in Eastern Europe to bring in the summer.

There will also be visit from the Green Man - a mythical personification of the forest – then at sunset a real wicker man will be burned, while medieval band The Princes in the Tower perform.

To end the night the original 1970s Wicker Man movie will be screened inside a mini shipping container cinema.

Forager Richard Osmond, who is making the wicker man out of fallen logs, branches, fresh honeysuckle vines and Japanese knotweed for extra flammability, said: “It’s a mini-May festival, with a pagan edge to it, really it’s an old English country tradition, and a more interesting version of a village fete.

“As a professional forager, I have to be very aware of the changing of the seasons: which plants emerge when.

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“Many of the pagan festivals existed as a kind of living almanac, to remind people of their place in the world and in time and the cycle of things.”