2024 is the 60th anniversary of the Old Folks Show, and tickets for this year’s show will be available to collect from the Carnival Centre, High Street, Bridgwater, on Friday 23 February between 10am and 12 noon.
The popular event, which takes place on Thursday 21, Friday 22 and Saturday 23 March at Bridgwater Town Hall, is organised by Bridgwater Gangs and Features and has been held annually in the town (apart from the Pandemic years) since 1962. It was originally designed to thank local pensioners for their continued support over the year, and for helping to keep the carnival spirit alive at a quiet time of the year. This overarching principle remains to this day, and every year the free tickets are highly sought after by the over 60s of the town.
The show is organised by local carnivalite, Wayne Anker, with support from the Bridgwater Gangs and Features members, and their president, Arthur Leigh and his wife, Lynne. Local carnivalites also help with the stewarding, sound, lighting, compering, backstage arrangements, first aid and refreshments at the show.
Over the years, the show has gone from strength to strength, and even though the show is less serious than the prestigious carnival concerts in terms of content and stage setting, the standards of singing and choreography are very similar.
Arthur Leigh, President of Bridgwater Gangs and Features, said: “Every year these tickets are highly sought after, and we would strongly encourage anyone who wants to go to collect their ticket asap to avoid disappointment, especially as we have less seating this year.
“There is absolutely no charge for the tickets, and we would like for those who are over 60 to come along and enjoy an evening with the Bridgwater Gangs and Features carnival clubs, local dance troupes and front of curtain acts”.
Any remaining tickets after they first become available on Friday 23 February can be collected from the carnival centre during normal opening hours. Those collecting tickets should advise if attending in a wheelchair with a carer, or if a disability aid will be used.
Bridgwater Gangs and Features carnival clubs donated £600 to Mind in Somerset and £600 to Stockmoor Lodge Residents Fund from the charity collection following the raffles at the 2023 Old Folks Shows.
Since the Old Folks Show restarted in 2022 after the pandemic, the charity collection has raised £2,000 for local charities