With just under one week until the carnival comes to town, the final countdown has begun to Bridgwater Carnival 2019.
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 414th anniversary of these Gunpowder Plot celebrations, Bridgwater Carnival 2019 is set to be the biggest and best one yet. 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 with fun planned for the whole family. Early visitors will be entertained by a variety of acts, including Jordan Hill, Two Tone, Ashley Ross Quinn, Krazy Kev & Dinky, Magnolia Jazz Band, Eddie Cullen, Caught in the Act, Countrified, ACTS Choir, Somerset Somgbirds, Bridgwater Rock Choir, Bridgwater & Taunton College Performing Arts, Canny Band, Chameleon Batonettes, Wells City Band, Hamp Academy Dancers, Bridgwater Sea Cadets Band, Bristol Batala, and other live music acts and street entertainers, to name just a few. There will also be a children’s dance parade through the town centre in the afternoon.
Local radio station Breeze FM will be joining in the party atmosphere and will be broadcasting live from the town centre on carnival day. They will be featuring all of the latest chat and news about Bridgwater Carnival.
The Arts Council England grant has this year enabled Bridgwater Guy Fawkes Carnival to bring a group of disabled and able bodied carnivalites to the carnival from the Isle of Wight. Local groups will join Viva CC and their Alegria Samba School for workshops and performances during the day and in the procession,
The main carnival procession starts at the earlier time of 6pm and will be led by the carnival committee’s official Guy Fawkes cart. Following closely behind will be Somerset based music legend, Tommy Banner from The Wurzels, and nearly 100 other entries, including 50 illuminated carnival carts and many walking entries. All will enthral the tens of thousands of people who are expected to line the procession route. The entertainment will be brought to a fitting finale at approximately 10pm (dependent on the finishing time of the procession), when over 150 squibbers will line the town’s High Street 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 £22,770. As well as the official Bridgwater Carnival charity, the authorised collectors, who will be identifiable through unique identity badges, will be raising monies for 40 other local charities and organisations. This year there are three ways in which spectators can donate:-
- By placing cash into the official collecting buckets / tins and collection carts
- Through mobile telephone and by texting BGFC to 70085 followed by the amount
- Via contactless (tap and go) – look out for the small team of collectors passing through the crowd with their tap and go devices
Once again 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 there are four park and ride sites:
Junction 24, M5, Market Way, North Petherton. TA6 6DF (blue) – opens at 2pm
British Car Auctions, Bristol Road, (off J23, M5) TA6 4TN (green) – opens at 2.30pm
Hinkley Point C, Bristol Road, Dunball, TA6 4TN. (yellow) – opens at 2.30pm
Morrisons Manufacturing, Bristol Road, TA6 4AT (red) – opens at 10:30am
Park and Ride charges are £6 per car plus £1 per adult travelling, and children under 16 are free. All park and ride sites will close at midnight.
For the second successive year, spectators can become judges and are able to vote for their personal favourite entry in the 2019 Bridgwater Carnival. Together with i2i Infinity Limited, Bridgwater Carnival are using an app called CarniApp to gather the thoughts of spectators on what they feel is the best entry in the carnival procession and who should win the coveted People’s Choice Award. The app is available on Android and iOS (Apple) mobile devices, and votes can be cast between the hours of 6pm on carnival day to midday on Sunday 3 November.
And finally, thanks to the wonders of modern technology and the technical expertise of Somerset Web Services, Maniac Films, QSS IT and Timeless Images, the carnival will be brought into the comforts of the homes of those who are unable to make it into Bridgwater on carnival night. The live stream will officially begin at 6pm and will also feature the spectacular squibbing display. The streaming service will hopefully begin earlier in the afternoon to capture some of the daytime entertainment. For those who would like to make use of the streaming service, all that is needed is internet access, and in return viewers are asked to consider making an optional donation to the Bridgwater Carnival charity. To find out more about the live stream service, please visit https://live.bridgwatercarnival.org.uk/.
A spokesperson for one of the carnival’s long serving sponsors, Angel Place Shopping Centre, added: “Anticipation is building for Bridgwater Carnival and the feeling of excitement is palpable throughout the town. It’s an honour for Angel Place to be a sponsor for this spectacular event, which somehow gets bigger and better each year. Just when you think you’ve seen it all with the showstopping innovations, something truly wonderful surprises us all.
“We can’t wait to enjoy and celebrate this parade of creative genius and fun with the local community, and with those who have travelled to Bridgwater to take in this marvellous occasion.”
Mike Crocker, president of Bridgwater Guy Fawkes Carnival, said: “Saturday 2 November is the night the carnival comes to town, and I couldn’t be more excited. This is a night when everyone can forget all of their troubles for a few hours, marvel at the incredible sights, and get carried away by the infectious atmosphere.
“I am sure everyone will have a great night at the carnival in Bridgwater, the home of carnival.”