The Dark Gathering 2024 (All Hallows) in Tintagel

Image by John Isaac

In Brief

Name: The Dark Gathering 2024 (or All Hallows Gathering 2024)
Date: Saturday 26 October 2024
Time: 3pm-late
Type: An afternoon and night of dark dance and music, folklore and horse skulls
Suitable for: Anyone who loves Halloween, tradition, the occult and meeting warm and welcoming folk for a unique event
Location: The Mayfair car park, between the Mayfair gift shop and the Old School Hall on Fore Street, Tintagel
Price: See the official website by clicking on the ‘Website’ link!


Tintagel is a village steeped in history and magic. So it’s the perfect spot for a Halloween-related event that celebrates folklore, the occult and Cornish tradition. For one afternoon and night of the year in 2024, Tintagel will come alive with all things strange and wonderful.

The Dark Gathering 2024 takes place from 3pm until late on Saturday 26 October 2024. It’s the 10th anniversary of this incredible event on the north coast of Cornwall.

Traditionally, the event took place in nearby Boscastle but this year (after a successful debut last year in its new location) it’s in the village that’s become famous for the fabulous Tintagel Castle. The exact venue is The Mayfair car park, between the Mayfair gift shop and the Old School Hall on Fore Street, in the village.

The annual Dark Gathering is a colourful afternoon-and-evening event that serves as the perfect precursor to Halloween, especially Halloween in Cornwall 2024. The (awful pun alert) spook-tacular Dark Gathering, also known as Cornwall’s All Hallows Gathering, is a seasonal Cornish festival that has no equal.

The event celebrates the dark, toasts the occult and pays tribute to folklore in all of its various shapes and sizes. Differences are traditionally recognised in this feast for the senses and anyone, with any alternative viewpoint, is welcome to witness the frivolities, from the energetic performances by not-your-run-of-the-mill Morris dancers to the folky musicians who sing of strange and unsettling tales.

One of the organisers, Cassandra Latham-Jones, says that ‘Tintagel has its own magic and is steeped in ancient history’. In 2022, the organising body, Boekka (which incidentally means ‘scarecrow’ in Cornish!), overcame a whole host of challenges to put the 2022 event on (yeah, we won’t go into that here but they definitely worked damn hard to get it on). The Dark Gathering 2022, in fact, was held in the upper overflow car park in Boscastle and it was heralded as a success.

For the 2023 gathering, it moved to Tintagel, where it remains this year. There was a food truck on the site throughout for snacks and soft drinks, as well as a retail craft stall. There were performances from Beltane Border Morris, Bakanalia and Ragged Oak throughout the afternoon, plus a Lantern Parade from 6pm.

At the 2024 event, expect Penkevyll, The Land’s End Oss and Morvargh to make an appearance, as well as music from Penhood and the Raffidy Dumitz Band, plus The Britannia Coconut Dancers and all sorts of other great entertainment.

The whole unique gathering began in 2014 and has always fallen (when there have been no pandemics to speak of, that is) on the Saturday just before Halloween so that families and children can also enjoy the event as it’s during the half-term holiday. There is indeed a good family vibe despite the ghoulish nature of the gathering. It’s especially atmospheric if there’s a spooky sea mist that drifts in from the sea…

One of the focal points of past events is when the Welsh Mari Lwyds, which are hobby horses made from horse skulls mounted on poles under sackcloths and hail from South Welsh wassailing folk customs, meet the fine Cornish oss, Penkevyll, in a tradition that marks the end of summer and the start of the winter. The Mari Lwyds perform at the event.

Also expect a ‘pwnco’ at the festival, which is a singing contest almost like a medieval rap battle. Ticket details will be on the event’s official website, so just click the ‘website’ option above.

All in all, the Dark Gathering has traditionally been a truly moving experience, fitting for the Halloween weekend and also making for fine Samhain celebrations, which is the Gaelic festival that marks the end of the harvest season and the start of the darker half of the year.

So make sure you buy a ticket first and then head over to Tintagel on Saturday 26 October 2024 for some dark music and dancing and to party with your ancestors on this most sacred of nights. Thanks to the hard work of the organisers in keeping this event going. Prepare for a total and utter scream ahead of Halloween 2024 in Cornwall!