Bridgwater Carnival is the UK’s oldest carnival and one of the largest illuminated carnival processions in Europe, taking place every November in Somerset. A key part of the Carnival is the craft and performance skills that go into creating the ever-more elaborate carts, as rival Carnival clubs try to out-do each other and win the coveted Carnival cups. All of which is driven by huge volunteer effort. 

But in 2022, something unprecedented happened. Clubs put aside their rivalries to collaborate on a cart to grace the route of the Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee Pageant. Many different skills were employed in the building of the cart, including engineering, model making, fibre-glassing, paper maché, dressmaking, painting, carpentry, sound and lighting. 

They were also tasked with organising a dance parade, which incorporated the costume styles of the 70 years of Her Majesty’s reign (handmade by the team of volunteer dressmakers), with a different decade portrayed by each group of dancers. Over 200 people volunteered their time to make Jubilation happen, from across the community and across rival Carnival clubs - the youngest being 10 years old and the oldest 75, with new friendships formed across the clubs.

“Due to the pandemic we were unable to stage our annual Carnival in 2020 or 2021. So this project was a magnificent way of bringing everybody from the carnival community back together again and helping to re-kindle the enthusiasm for their favourite hobby.” Chris Hocking, Bridgwater Carnival

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Bridgwater Carnival is on the shortlist for the Creative Lives Awards 2022. Support this group in the competition for the People's Choice Award!

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