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Vagabonds Carnival Club

Vagabonds Carnival Club

The Vagabonds Carnival Club was founded in 1947 by Ken Parsons and Walt Creedy, and the club’s first entry, The Miners, took first place at Bridgwater Carnival. Members originally met at Unity House (the local Labour Party headquarters) for a room rent of one shilling per night.

The following year, the club moved to The Railway Hotel, and the new home brought further success, after winning the carnival concerts with the stage show Gay Bachelors.

The Bristol and Exeter Pub (St John Street) became home to the club in 1951, before it moved to Ye Olde Oake (High Street) after club member, Ray Heal, took a tenancy with local brewers Starkey, Knight and Ford. Meetings were initially held in an upstairs room but, after alterations to a `lean-to’ stables at the rear of the premises, a ‘Vagabonds Clubroom’ was officially opened by Mrs May Heal in September 1961. The time spent at Ye Olde Oake proved to be the most successful to date for the club. During the twenty-five years there, the club notched up ten stage wins, five road wins and three Hardy Spicer Championships.

1979 is remembered by the club with mixed feelings. Their entry Y Viva España took first in all six county carnivals prior to Weston Super Mare. A first at the seaside town’s carnival would have meant winning the County Cup for the first time in the club’s history – either outright or shared with Bohemians CC (tableaux). Sadly the club finished joint first, and with Bohemians winning their class, lost the cup by half a point. This prestigious cup still eludes the club to this day.

The club remained at Ye Olde Oake until its closure in 1980, when construction work started on the then new Angel Place Shopping Centre. The closure forced another change of home, and the club setup headquarters at The Rose & Crown Pub (St Mary Street).

In 1985 the club’s entry Pearlies in Colour brought numerous first prizes around the county. It was fair reward to the club members who spent many a late night sewing on the 140,000 buttons used on the costumes. This cart has the distinction of being the last feature cart to win a county carnival without the use of any moving parts, something the club achieved at Weston Super Mare.

1990 saw the club move to The Commercial Inn (Redgate Street), and it became home for the next 16 years.

Reflecting the general trend throughout carnival at the time, 1996 saw club membership fall to just sixteen members. Fortunately, it was able to call upon its loyal band of life members and vice-presidents to give manual and vocal support, and to keep the club going.

In 2001, the club were looking for a new site to build its entries after being forced to leave its cart building site at Huntworth after 17 years. After identifying a suitable new site at Dunwear, the club set about constructing a new shed. The cost of doing this, in terms of both time and money, proved a heavy burden, and for the first time in its history, the club was unable to enter a cart into Bridgwater Carnival in 2002. So in true carnival spirit, some members rode the procession route on the back of a lorry, with the remaining members walking behind.

The club is currently based at The Gallery, High Street, Bridgwater.

Whatever happens, The Vagabonds Carnival Club has already done enough to stamp its mark in the annals of carnival history and will, with luck, continue to do so for a long time to come.

Procession Results

Year
Title
Class
Position
Cup
2019
Awaken the Dragon
Class 4 – Feature Cart Local
5
2018
Fiesta De Los Toros
Class 4 – Feature Cart Local
3
2017
Be Our Guest
Class 4 – Feature Cart Local
5
2016
Da Vinci (Vision of)
Class 4 – Feature Cart Local
5
2015
Shazaam
Class 4 – Feature Cart Local
8
2015
The Parade Of Ali’
Class 7 – Groups of Masqueraders Adult
2
2014
Wreck’d
Class 4 – Feature Cart Local
6
2013
Sckool Of Rock
Class 4 – Feature Cart Local
7
2011
Haunted Mansion
Feature & Tableau Cart – Local
2
2010
MOONLIGHT MASQUERADE
Feature & Tableau Cart – Local
6
2009
The Magic of the Caribbean
Feature & Tableau Cart – Local
5
2008
WAR PARTY
Feature Cart – Local
4
2007
HERE COMES THE CIRCUS
Tableaux/Feature Cart – Local
5
2006
UMOJA
Tableaux/Feature Cart – Local
6
2005
COSMIC HOTEL
Tableaux/Feature Cart – Local
6
2004
PIRATES
Tableaux/Feature Cart – Local
6
2003
BUGZ
Feature Cart – Local
5
2002
THEATRE OF FUN
Feature Cart – Local
11
2001
WILD WEST STEAM
Feature Cart – Local
5
2000
DISCO INFERNO
Feature Cart – Local
5
1998
COUNTRY STYLE
Feature Cart – Local
5
1997
SEASONS GREETINGS
Feature Cart – Local
5
1996
SPIRIT OF THE BRAVE
Feature Cart – Local
2
1995
CIRCUS
Feature Cart – Local
2
1994
CREEPSHOW
Feature Cart – Local
10
1993
THE IRVING BERLIN SONG BOOK
Feature Cart – Local
5
1992
EASTERN MYSTIQUE
Feature Cart – Local
4
1991
ESPANA
Feature Cart – Local
2
1990
TOYS R US
Feature Cart – Local
3
1989
LAUGHTER PARADE
Feature Cart – Local
5
1988
AZTEC SPLENDOUR
Feature Cart – Local
2
1987
ENTERTAINMENT USA
Feature Cart – Local
3
1986
MOUSETRELS
Feature Cart – Local
4
1985
PEARLIES IN COLOUR
Feature Cart – Local
5
1983
CARNIVAL IN RIO
Feature Cart – Local
2
1982
IT’S PIRACY
Feature Cart – Local
5
1981
TRIBUTE TO THE FORCES
Feature Cart – Local
6
1980
SCARECROW STYLE
Feature Cart – Local
5
1979
Y VIVA ESPANA
Feature Cart – Local
1
1978
BROADWAY BOUND
Feature Cart – Local
2
1977
RAGTIME RHYTHM
Feature Cart – Local
1
1976
HAPPY BIRTHDAY USA
Feature Cart – Local
3
1975
CARTOON CARNIVAL
Feature Cart – Local
4
1974
LEOPARD MEN
Feature Cart – Local
4
1972
THE CONQUISTADORES
Feature Cart – Local
5
1971
THE ARISTOCRATS
Feature Cart – Local
3
1970
THE WITCHES
Feature Cart – Local
2
1969
GOLLIWOG TIME IN GOLLIWOG TOWN
Feature Cart – Local
1
1967
MINERS
Features – Local
3
1966
MINSTRELS 1966
Features – Local
4
1965
HIGHWAYMEN’S “AMBUSH”
Feature Cart – Local
1
1964
SACRIFICE TO THE SPIDER GOD
Groups of Masqueraders – Local
3
1963
MIGHTY MEECES
Feature Cart – Local
5
1961
SHOWTIME ON TOUR
Groups of Masqueraders – Local
5
1960
HOLIDAY ON SKIS
Groups of Masqueraders – Local
4
1959
STALAG 13
Groups of Masqueraders – Local
3
1958
ANGEL CRESCENT
Groups of Masqueraders – Local
2
1957
MEXICAN BANDITS – HERNANDO’S HIDEAWAY
Groups of Masqueraders – Local
5
1956
MEATLESS TYRANTS
Groups of Masqueraders – Local
1
1955
THE MODERN MINSTREL MEN – THE BANJO’S BACK IN TOWN
Groups of Masqueraders – Local
3
1954
CAVEMEN
Groups of Masqueraders – Local
2
1953
CHIEF BONGO AND HIS SAVAGES
Groups of Masqueraders – Local
1
1951
WIDDICOMBE FESTIVAL FAIR
Groups of Masqueraders – Local
1
1950
OPEN ROAD
Groups of Masqueraders – Local
5
1947
THE MINERS RETURN

Concert Results

Year
Title
Class
Position
Cup
2019
Awaken the Dragon
Features & Tableau
4
2017
 Belle Of The Ball
Features & Tableau
7
2016
Da Vinci’s Workshop
Features & Tableau
5
2015
 Arabian Nights’ (From Rags To Riches)
Features & Tableau
5
2014
A Pirate’s Tale
Features & Tableau
4
2013
High School Rock
Features & Tableau
7
2011
Happy Haunting
Features & Tableau
5
2010
Magic And Myth
Features & Tableau
4
2009
Magic Of The Caribbean
Features & Tableau
4
2008
Spirit
Features & Tableau
1
2007
Beatles Rock ‘N’ Roll Circus
Features & Tableau
2
2005
Starlight Cafe
Features & Tableau
3
2004
In The Deep
Features & Tableau
2
2003
A Bug Show
Features & Tableau
2
2002
Laughter Parade
Features & Tableau
2
2001
Way Out West
Features & Tableau
1
2000
Boogie Wonderland
Feature
3
1999
Viva Brasil!
Feature
1
1998
Cabaret Night At Crowfoot Farm
Feature
4
1997
Seasons Greetings
Feature
2
1996
Spirit Of The Brave
Feature
2
1995
There’s A Better Life
Feature
3
1994
Creepshow
Feature
3
1993
The Irving Berlin Songbook
Feature
2
1992
Eastern Mystique
Feature
2
1991
Espana
Feature
1
1990
Toys Are Us
Feature
3
1989
Laughter Parade
Feature
1
1988
Aztec Splendour
Feature
3
1987
That Yankee Doodle Dandy
Feature
1
1986
While The Cat’s Away
Feature
6
1985
Pearlies in Colour
Second Position – Feature
1983
Carnival in Rio
Third Position – Feature
1982
It’s Piracy
Third Position – Feature
1981
Tribute to the Forces
Concert – 1st Position – Highest points gang or feature.
1977
Ragtime Rhythm
Overall – Championship Cup – Local
1977
Songs of Irvine Berlin
Concert – 1st Position – Highest points gang or feature.
1976
Happy Birthday USA
Concert – 1st Position – Highest points gang or feature.
1975
Cartoon Carnival
Second Position – Feature
1973
Go Go Bird Show
Concert – 1st Position – Highest points gang or feature.
1968
Philadelphia Entertainers
Concert – Tableaux or Feature – White Hart Cup runner up
1967
Miners
Overall – Championship Cup – Local
1967
Miners
Concert – 1st Position – Highest points gang or feature.
1966
Minstrels 1966
Concert – 1st Position – Highest points gang or feature.
1965
The Highwaymen
Concert – Tableaux or Feature – White Hart Cup runner up
1961
Showtime on Tour
Concert – 1st Position – Highest points gang or feature.
1959
Staleg 13
Concert – Tableaux or Feature – White Hart Cup runner up
1956
Meatless Tyrants
Overall – Championship Cup – Local
1955
Modern Minstrels
Concert – 1st Position – Highest points gang or feature.
1954
Cavemen
Concert – Tableaux or Feature – White Hart Cup runner up
1953
Chief Bongo and his Savages
Overall – Championship Cup – Local
1953
Chief Bongo and his Savages
Concert – 1st Position – Highest points gang or feature.
1952
Corny Country Cousins
Concert – Tableaux or Feature – White Hart Cup runner up
1948
Gay Bachelors
Concert – 1st Position – Highest points gang or feature.
1948
GAY BACHELORS

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