The Vikings will once again be pitching their tents in central York in May 2022 with the welcome return of the JORVIK Viking Festival! There will be a nine-day Festival, which will include living history, hands-on fun, craft workshops and many other favourite activities.
JORVIK Viking Festival normally takes place during York’s February half term week, and indeed tickets for two highlight events sold out after they went on sale in November. Last year’s event was replaced with an online Viking event – That JORVIK Viking Thing – which will take place again this year from 19-27 February as planned.
“We have been working on plans for the Festival since last summer, so we are determined that it will still take place in 2022, but with parts of the UK still under restrictions on public gatherings, we consider it would be unwise to host events that draw crowds of thousands at this time,” comments Festival manager, Gareth Henry. “As we experienced in 2020 when we had to cancel our evening event due to high winds, weather can also impact on the event. Moving to the May half term week should give us a far higher probability of hosting the Festival that tens of thousands of people know and love, complete with march, fiery battle spectacular, living history, Symposium and so much more – including a host of free events thanks to support from City of York Council.”
However, February half term will not be entirely without a Viking presence, as a host of livestreamed events and on-demand videos are planned for the week. “We had always planned to continue hosting That JORVIK Viking Thing alongside the Festival, so we’re just finalising a revised programme now – we will be announcing more details in the next few weeks,” adds Gareth. “We also have a couple of exciting plans within JORVIK Viking Centre for anyone still keen on a face-to-face Viking encounter that we will be revealing shortly.”
Those who have already purchased tickets to the Viking Feast and Battle Spectacular will have priority to transfer their tickets over to the rescheduled events in May.
For more information on That JORVIK Viking Thing, visit jorvikthing.com
Tickets for two of the most popular events – the Viking banquet, this year themed around Ragnar Lothbrok’s life, and the Battle Spectacular in the Land of Darkness go on sale on Saturday 6 November from 10.00am, and are expected to sell out quickly.
“We have seen a massive culture change over the last couple of years where people understand the need to prebook tickets, not only to events but also to visitor attractions like JORVIK Viking Centre, and consequently, tickets tend to sell out much more quickly, so we’d urge people to book now to avoid disappointment,” comments festival manager, Gareth Henry. “Our feast takes place on the first Saturday (19 February) at Merchant Adventurer’s Hall, whilst the evening finale will return to the Eye of York on Saturday 26 February, when visitors will finally see the show we’d planned for February 2020 which was cancelled due to stormy weather.”
Regular festival visitors will welcome the return of events like the Best Beard Competition and the Strongest Viking competition, and if restrictions remain lifted, the March to Coppergate through the city centre. The Richard Hall Symposium will also take place on the last day of the Festival.
“We will be revealing the full programme of activity in January, but it is gearing up to be a fantastic event. We have some fun plans to relax our interpretation of ‘Vikings’ on the first weekend, so will be welcoming cosplayers alongside our historically-accurate Vikings – we’re expecting to see lots of people dressed in outfits inspired by Marvel’s Thor and Loki, as well as the wonderfully styled characters from History Channel’s Vikings!” adds Gareth. “We want this to be the most interactive JORVIK Viking Festival ever – an event that local people and visitors to the city alike will love, and bring their families and friends to so they can really absorb the Norse spirit!”
For the very first time since it launched in 1984, this year’s JORVIK Viking Festival was unable to take place due to restrictions during the pandemic, but an innovative online event, named That JORVIK Viking Thing, still attracted the interest of over 3.6 million people! Livestreamed events and concerts and a host of video-on-demand was created especially for the event, which welcomed viewers from 60 countries around the world, who collectively watched over 370 days worth of content!
“That JORVIK Viking Thing was a huge success during lockdown, and catered fantastically for people further afield who probably wouldn’t have been able to make it along to the physical Festival anyway. We’re planning to bring back the online festival alongside the live event in February to help meet this global demand for all things Viking!” adds Gareth.
The 2022 JORVIK Viking Festival has received £30,000 funding from City of York Council under the Additional Restrictions Grant to support the event. “After a year where we have faced closures and restricted admission numbers at all of our attractions, we’re incredibly grateful for this funding which will enable us to host the free Viking encampment in Parliament Street for the whole nine days of the Festival, as well as some of the live free entertainment on the St Sampson’s Square stage. Without this support, these popular parts of the festival would have been missing in 2022 which would have been a huge shame,” says Sarah Maltby, director of attractions for York Archaeological Trust, the charity which owns and operates JORVIK Viking Centre.
The first tickets for JORVIK Viking Festival 2022 will be available to buy online at jorvikvikingfestival.co.uk from 10am on Saturday 6 November 2021, where visitors can also sign up for the latest news about the Festival programme.
Love festivals? Have a look at our roundup of other great festivals in York.