THE ST IVES MIDSUMMER EVE BONFIRE TAKES PLACE ON CARNSTABBA HILL IN HALSETOWN NEAR ST IVES AROUND 8PM ON SUNDAY 23 JUNE 2024. ANYONE CAN GO ALONG TO THIS TRADITIONAL CORNISH EVENT THAT TOASTS ST JOHN’S EVE…
St John’s Eve. Midsummer Eve. The night before the Festival of St John. Call it what you will but know that this is one of the most treasured traditional events in Cornwall. Many Old Cornwall Societies across the Duchy mark Midsummer Eve, which is all about lighting a big bonfire, singing some songs and having a good time while marking a traditional and historical event.
The St Ives Old Cornwall Society marks Midsummer Eve 2024 on Sunday 23 June 2024, which is the official date every year for this traditional event. Meet around 8pm on Carnstabba Hill in Halsetown, which is on the edge of St Ives. Expect the fire to be lit around 9pm after the sun goes down.
Protip: these times and details are not yet confirmed but we will announce the exact details as they are confirmed. Then expect to head to the Halsetown Inn car park and park through a gate at the far end on rough ground at the foot of the hill. See our map below to check out the exact location.
This celebration marks the feast of St John. It is held throughout Cornwall by the Old Cornwall Societies, including at Chapel Carn Brea near Penzance and on Kit Hill near Callington. These bonfires date right back to the ancient days of Pagan rituals. The night is St John’s Eve and the tradition of lighting bonfires on hilltops goes back hundreds of years.
These midsummer blazes just before St John the Baptist Day traditionally mark the Feast of St John and they are tied in with the annual Golowan Festival 2024 festivities. Click here to discover more about that. (‘Golowan’ means the ‘feast of John’ in Cornish).
The St Ives Midsummer Eve Bonfire 2024 is hosted courtesy of Penhalwyn Trekking Stables in Halsetown. Expect ceremonies in both Cornish and English with community singing. This was led by Tristan and Vaughan Bennett in 2023.
Also expect there to be a ‘Lady of Flowers’, which was Shirley Beck in 2023, at the ceremony who will light the blaze and midsummer herbs and flowers may be thrown on the fire at the event. It is recommended to bring a torch to light your way down the hill on your return. Anyone can go along and experience this event.
Another Midsummer Eve bonfire also takes place on Sunday 23 June 2024 in Madron near Penzance. Read all about it: here. Whichever ceremony you go to, make sure you appreciate the hundreds of years of history and tradition that go into Midsummer Eve. Enjoy!