With just under two weeks until the carnival comes to town, the final countdown has begun to Bridgwater Carnival 2016.
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 411th anniversary of these Gunpowder Plot celebrations, Bridgwater Carnival 2016 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 Abba Girls, The Two One Man Band, Harry Winchester, Jordan Hill, Ashley Quinn, Two Tone, ACTS Choir, Bridgwater College Music Academy, The Somerset Songbirds, City of Bristol Pipe and Drum, Samba Galez and other live music acts and street entertainers, to name just a few. Refreshments are being served in Bridgwater Town Hall throughout carnival day by carnival committee members and supporters.
Also taking to the streets during carnival day will be approximately 150 local school children who will perform their well-rehearsed, Michael Jackson themed dance routine through the town centre. The young dancers have been practising for weeks under the watchful eye of choreographer and Robert Blake Science College’s head of creative arts, Claire Stokes, and the daytime children’s parade has been kindly sponsored by David Loveridge (Somerset County Council’s health and wellbeing budget).
Local radio stations Heart FM, Breeze FM and Sedgemoor FM will all 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, and a 14ft effigy of Guy Fawkes made from willow by the Somerset Willow Company. 108 entries will follow, including 46 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, which has been sponsored this year by National Tyres and Autocare.
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 £26,747. As well as the official Bridgwater Carnival charity, our collectors will also be raising monies for: Barnardos, Bridgwater & Albion RFC Youth Rugby, Bridgwater Hospital League of Friends, Bridgwater Rotary Club, Cancer Research UK, Elliot’s Touch, Marie Curie, Mencap, Old Morganians RFC Youth, Rhode Lane Wanderers JFC, Robert Blake Science College, Ron Peberdy Cyberknife Trust, Scotties Little Soldiers, Taunton Association for the Homeless and Young Musical Theatre Company. Those who miss the collectors and would like to make a donation can do so online at our Donation Page 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. There are still some opportunities for local charities, organisations and clubs to benefit from this year’s carnival. For more information contact Jon Jacobs on 07515 818615 or at Collection Director.
Park and Ride
For the fourth 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. The service will operate from 11am on carnival day from the Morrisons Distribution Centre, Bristol Road, from 2pm at British Car Auctions (just off junction 23), and also from 2pm at junction 24 (Junction 24 Ltd) of the M5. Park and Ride charges are £5 per car plus £1 per adult travelling. Telephone 01278 428220 for more information, or visit our Parking Information Page.
Live Streaming of Bridgwater Carnival 2016
For the first time in the event’s long history, innovative plans are being finalised to stream Bridgwater Carnival 2016 live on the internet. This ambitious trial project is being made possible by collaboration between Bridgwater Guy Fawkes Carnival Committee, Maniac Films, Somerset Web Services and Matt Bell from Autodesk. It will allow those who are unable to see the carnival on the streets to watch it live on YouTube via the Bridgwater Carnival website, in return for making an optional donation to the Bridgwater Carnival charity. This project has been sponsored by Hinkley Point A, Cavendish Fluor Partnership. For more details, check Streaming and our Facebook and Twitter feeds.
Malcolm Cattle, president of Bridgwater Guy Fawkes Carnival, said; “This is my first year as president, and after spending over 54 years in carnival, the signs are indicating that the 2016 Bridgwater Carnival is going to be the best one yet.
“So Saturday 5 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 is believing.”