Thousands of people expected to attend May Morning 2019

Published: Monday, 15th April 2019

Thousands of people are expected to attend May Morning 2019.

The event, which is unique to Oxford, will see crowds gather along High Street and Magdalen Bridge at 6am on 1 May to watch choristers sing the Hymnus Eucharisticus from atop Magdalen College’s Great Tower.

Hymnus Eucharisticus was composed in the 17th century by a Fellow of Magdalen College and has been sung every year on May Morning ever since.

This will be followed by the Great Tower’s bells ringing out over the city for approximately 20 minutes.

Events and activities, including Morris Dancing and folk singing, will then take place across the city.

The event, which marks the coming of spring, has been taking place in Oxford for more than 500 years.

A crowd management system, which was successfully implemented for the first time last year, will again be in place. This will see one-way channels created on Magdalen Bridge to enable the crowd to flow during and immediately after the event.

People will not be allowed to stop in the channels, and stewards and signs will be in place to direct people to areas where they can stop and view the event. Those wishing to move through or leave the event space will need to keep left.

If capacity is reached on Magdalen Bridge, stewards and barriers will be used to stop any more people from accessing the bridge from the west and east.

Bicycles – including those ridden and pushed – will again not be allowed to cross Magdalen Bridge immediately before or during the event.

Designated gathering areas for wheelchair users, families with young children and those with buggies will also be available again – in the car park of Magdalen College School and in Rose Lane.

Last year’s event was attended by approximately 12,000 people. The 2017 event, which took place during the Bank Holiday weekend, saw record-breaking crowds of 27,000 people.

Paula Redway, Oxford City Council’s cultural development manager, said: “As the sun begins to rise, thousands of people stretched across Magdalen Bridge fall silent, gaze upwards and listen to the choristers atop the college’s Great Tower. It really is a magical moment, and absolutely unique to Oxford.

“Last year we successfully introduced a new crowd management system, which will be in place again this year. We ask that those who did not attend last year’s event make themselves aware of the plans and follow instructions on the day.”

Oxford City Council organises the May Morning event at Magdalen Bridge on behalf of partners, including Thames Valley Police, Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, South Central Ambulance Service, Oxfordshire County Council and Magdalen College.

Events held at other venues and locations across the city are organised by the individual venues or groups.

For more information about events taking place across Oxford on May Morning, please visit the DailyInfo website.