With just under one week until the carnival comes to town, the final countdown has begun to Bridgwater Carnival 2018.
For the carnival clubs who are working around the clock to finish their spectacular entries, to the carnival organisers who are finalising the arrangements for the town’s biggest night of the year, the preparations are nearing completion and the anticipation is increasing.
Bridgwater Carnival’s origins lie in the failed exploits of Guy Fawkes, and in this, the 413th anniversary of these Gunpowder Plot celebrations, Bridgwater Carnival 2018 is set to be the biggest and best one yet.
In recent times traditional community carnival events throughout the country have disappointingly not taken place due to lack of support and resources, and the increasing amount of legislation and insurance premiums. Thankfully Bridgwater Carnival has managed to manoeuvre itself through these difficult times, and this is testament to the town’s dedicated carnivalites and the invaluable support received from Arts Council England and many other local businesses and organisations.
On carnival day itself, the build up to the grand procession starts in the town centre at 10am, and carnival revellers will scarcely have time to pause for breath. There is just so much happening in the town centre with fun planned for the whole family. Early visitors will be entertained by a variety of acts, including The Magnolia Jazz Band, In the Mood, Jordan Hill, Two Tone, Ashley Quinn, Loveshack, Jazz with a Twist, ACTS Choir, Somerset Somgbirds, Mr Brown’s Pigs, Exmouth Shanty, Jimmy Jay, Merlin, Wycombe Steel Band, Chameleon Batonettes, Somerset Sapphires, Felicity Footloose, Bruce Airhead, Essex Marching Band, Wells City Band and Bristol Batala, and other live music acts and street entertainers, to name just a few. There will be a children’s dance parade and a lantern parade through the town centre in the afternoon, and between 2.30pm and 5.30pm Somerset Films’ The Engine Room will be inviting those in the High Street to join them for mass choreographed let me dance sessions.
Just before the procession starts, award winning Arcadia Spectacular will be showcasing their unique creation The Bug along the High Street. The performance art collective, who combine elements of sculpture, architecture, recycling, pyrotechnics, lighting, circus and music into large scale performances and dance spaces, are based in Bristol and regularly perform at Glastonbury Festival. The Bug is a six-wheeled amphibious installation which has wings built from submarine parts.
Local radio station Breeze FM will also be broadcasting from the town centre on carnival day and will feature all of the latest chat and news about Bridgwater Carnival.
The main carnival procession starts at 7pm and will be led by the carnival committee’s official Guy Fawkes cart which has been sponsored by Angel Place Shopping Centre. Approximately 100 entries will follow, including 44 illuminated carnival carts, and all will enthral the tens of thousands of people expected to line the procession route. The entertainment will be brought to a fitting finale when over 150 squibbers line the town’s High Street immediately after the procession for the traditional squibbing display.
Official charity collectors will be on the streets on carnival day and night, and organisers are hoping to beat last year’s collection total of £27,575. As well as the official Bridgwater Carnival charity, our collectors will also be raising monies for 38 other local charities and organisations. Those who miss the collectors and would like to make a donation can do so online at www.bridgwatercarnival.org.uk or by texting BGFC12 to 70070 followed by £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10. So come on, please dig deep and let’s raise as much money as we can to make Bridgwater proud.
For the sixth successive year, organisers of Bridgwater Carnival have teamed up with The Buses of Somerset to provide a park and ride service for spectators attending this year’s carnival. This year we have four locations available:
M5 Junction 24 (blue) – TA6 6DF – opens at 2pm
M5 Junction 23 (green) – TA6 4TN – opens at 2pm
M5 Junction 23 (yellow) – TA6 4TN – opens at 2pm
M5 Junction 23 (red) – TA6 4AT – opens at 11am.
Park and Ride charges are £5 per car plus £1 per adult travelling. Children under 16 are free.
And finally for the first time spectators can become judges and will be able to vote for their personal favourite entry in the 2018 Bridgwater Carnival by casting their vote on a new app. Together with i2i Infinity Limited, Bridgwater Carnival are using the newly commissioned and aptly titled CarniApp to gather the thoughts of spectators on what they feel is the best entry in the carnival procession and who should win the newly launched People’s Choice Award. The app is available on Android and iOS (Apple) mobile devices, and votes can be cast between the hours of 7pm and 11pm on carnival night.
Malcolm Cattle, president of Bridgwater Guy Fawkes Carnival, said; “This is my final year as president, and after spending over 56 years in carnival, the signs are indicating that the 2018 Bridgwater Carnival is going to be the best one yet.
“So Saturday 3 November is the night the carnival comes to town, and I couldn’t be more excited. This is a night when you can forget all of your troubles for a few hours, marvel at the incredible sights, and get carried away by the infectious atmosphere. It’s an experience where seeing truly is believing.”