Remember, remember the
5th 4th of November. This friday, is carnival day in Bridgwater. Festivities start in the morning and carry through to the squibbing display after the carnival ends, some time after 11.00pm. At times, it seems like the whole world descends on the town, with bars being full hours before the start of the carnival. In fact, it is probably the third largest carnival in the world after Rio de Janeiro and Notting Hill carnivals, which is pretty impressive for a town with a population of around 30,000 (two different sources quoting the same 2001 census put it at 33,698 and 36,563).
As usual, I will be attending (I can’t really escape, having to take at least the afternoon off to get home) and it is one of the few times where I shoot people (not literally of course). Notwithstanding my lack of portrait photography, from a commercial point of view, it has my highest success rate, so it is certainly worth my while attending (even in the pouring rain). Weather permitting, I will again be using flash, although that won’t be possible in heavy rain. The flash helps to fill in the deep shadows from the strong lights, but is very unsightly when it freezes the falling rain drops.
Last year, the carnival was again won by the Gremlins Carnival Club, with their entry Runaway Train. They are in fact regular winners, having shared the overall title in 2009 with To the Trees, the winner of the Tableau class, by the Gemini Carnival Club. There are usually around 120 entries, comprising of a mixture of large carts or floats down to individual performers or masqueraders. The participants spend alot of time, effort and money on prearing their entries and the whole carnival is about collecting money for local charities.
If you haven’t been before, then it is definitely something that everyone should experience at least once. Until you’ve seen Bridgwater Carnival, you haven’t seen what can be achieved and most other illuminated carnivals are just pale imitations in comparison.