The curtain was raised earlier tonight on the first performance of the 2022 Bridgwater Carnival Concerts. Seen as a curtain raiser to the carnival procession, the concerts return this year following a two-year gap for the pandemic.
The concerts start at 7pm on weekday nights and 6pm at weekends, and last for approximately four hours.
Tickets prices range from £11.50 to £16 and there are a small amount of tickets still left which can be purchased from the Carnival Centre, High Street, Bridgwater, the Town Hall Box Office on performance nights, and Bridgwater Carnival’s online shop (https://www.bridgwatercarnival.org.uk/product-category/seats/).
Here are some 2022 Bridgwater Carnival Concerts in number facts…
1) When the curtain was raised for the first performance of the 2022 Bridgwater Carnival Concerts at Bridgwater Town Hall on Monday 3 October, it was 1,087 days since the curtain closed on the last carnival concert performance on Saturday 12 October 2019.
2) 2022 celebrates the 126th anniversary of the carnival concerts (this is the amount of years the concerts have actually been staged, as none were performed during the war or Pandemic years).
3) The first ever carnival concert took place in 1883, and admission prices ranged from 1 shilling to 6d.
4) In the early years the town hall would accommodate up to 1,500 people in the audience, seated and standing at the back of the hall and balconies. Due to health and safety restrictions, the capacity of the town hall has been reduced to 390 people (all seated).
5) In 2022 over 600 performers will take part in the 4 hour show which is being held for 12 nights. These performers consist of 28 different acts – 13 x carnival clubs, 2 x dance troupes, and 13 front of curtain acts.
6) During the 12 nights, the stage will be in use for performances for a total of 48 hours. Throughout the period, each club and dance troupe will perform on stage for 102 minutes (1 hour and 42 minutes).
7) 131 different song titles will be sung every night at the carnival concerts.
8) Every night 12 back stage crew, 6 sound and lighting operators, 2 programme sellers, and 2 St John Ambulance representatives are in the Town Hall making sure the show runs smoothly. These are supported by a team of 30 stewards throughout the concert fortnight. 60 stage lights have been installed for the concerts, and a total of 23 radio microphones are used every night by the cast.
9) 9 widely experienced judges are on duty throughout the carnival concerts fortnight, and 16 trophies are on offer for those taking part.0) 53 different companies and individuals have donated raffle prizes for the nightly raffle which is taking place in the 2022 carnival concerts. Since Pam Robson started the concert raffle back in 2007, it has raised over £26,500 for carnival funds.
11) In the past 16 years, the following carnival clubs have won the top prize at the Bridgwater Carnival Concerts:
Gremlins CC – 6
Ramblers CC – 4
British Flag CC – 3
Vagabonds CC – 2
Renegades CC – 1
12) It has been over 900 days since Renegades CC first produced an edit of this year’s stage show titled London’s Calling … One and All! The concert audience will see a mixture of 89 different pairs of shows dancing on the stage during the club’s performance.
13) 2022 sees the 70th anniversary of Wills CC, and the club’s tableaux stage show At the Museum involves 17 performers, including 3 generations of the Lockyer/Baker family, and 10 back stage support crew. The show has taken 800 hours of rehearsal and preparation, and the club members have spent 200 hours making the costumes and 300 hours building and preparing the stage set.
14) 2019 carnival concert winners, Ramblers CC, are celebrating their 60th year in carnival with their 2022 stage show A Night of Hard Rock. The club have 40 members on the stage this year, including 6 sets of father and sons, and since June have been rehearsing for at least 5 hours a week. The club’s set is made up of 34 props that are carried on to the stage every night, with over 30 memorabilia cases attached. Within the first 30 seconds of the club’s show, the cast perform a staggering 38 different dance moves.
15) The 46 cast members of Vagabonds CC have been rehearsing since May 2022 for their stage show Jungle Maya. Club member, Brian Lavis, will be celebrating his 80th birthday on the first Monday of the concerts (3 October), and will be helping his fellow members back stage with the props. Work on the 40 headdresses the cast are wearing started in 2019 and all have been made by hand by Graham Palmer from real feathers. Some of the cast members started to learn to play the drums for this year’s show just 2 months ago.
16) Lime Kiln CC’s 2022 stage show is called Warriors of Atlantica in this the club’s 77th year in carnival. The club have 46 performers on stage, the oldest aged 67 and the youngest just 15 years old. More than 1,000 beads and 20 metres of ribbon have been used on the costumes, and each army belt took 50 minutes to complete and required 15m2 of vinyl. The cast’s make up contains different types of scale effects.
17) British Flag CC celebrated their 70th birthday in May, and the club’s stage show for 2022 is called Fiesta Cubana. The club’s stage show contains 8 Cuban flags and the cast are wearing 26 feathered headdresses. To make the costumes and headdresses, 80 metres of material was used, along with 350 material flowers, 3,000 gem stones and 5,000 rooster feathers.
18) Griffens CC’s 2022 stage show is called Street Party Celebration, and have planned, designed and created the show in just 4 months, after deciding to change their idea and theme to take the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Pageant cart Jubilation around the carnival circuit this year. The ages of the club cast members range from 12 to 69, and they have learnt 22 sign language signals during the 60 hours of rehearsals for the show.
19) There are 390 flowers on the props of the Julia McDonald Dance Company’s 2022 stage show We’re walking on Sunshine, and 500 flowers in the headdresses of the cast. The juvenile dance troupe’s set took 160 man hours to make, and represents a large scale garden with oversized flowers and plants. The dancers depict tiny busy insects, and 20 different coloured face paints are used for their makeup, and a total of 150 tap step sounds are in the tap routine.
20) The two youngest children in the concert’s two dance troupes are Lucy Jenkins from the Julia McDonald Dance Company who is just 21⁄2 years old, and Rudy Williams from Sally Williams Dancers who is aged 3 years and 7 months. Rudy has been attending dancing since he was just 6 days old, and made his stage debut in 2020 at Bridgwater Carnival’s Variety Show when he was 2 years and 7 months.