Gloucester Carnival – Spirit of 2012

It’s been a while since lorries this size rolled through Westgate Street

Over recent years Gloucester Carnival had become a shadow of its former self; a lorry or two, a few enthusiastic youth dance groups and an ever-growing rag-tag tail of god-botherers. No offence to those who did make the effort and take part, but last year it looked like it was time to put it out of its misery. What a difference a year makes – this year it stormed in with renewed vigour and enthusiasm and was a great event!

I clearly wasn’t the only one who was dismayed and embarrassed by the plight of Gloucester’s Carnival, but rather than let it die council members and volunteers came together to do something about it.

One major change was the route. Rather than starting at the park, it started at the bottom of Westgate Street and forged a direct path through Westgate and Eastgate Street before turning right into Wellington Street and on to finish in the park. I was somewhat concerned about this as my favourite bit is wandering around the park as they set up, trying to catch candid photos of the action, but you can’t argue with the aim of trying to get people to follow the parade into the park to enjoy the post-carnival festivities.

Gathering for the start

It was with some trepidation that I trudged to the bottom of Westgate Street with my camera, but I was amazed at what greeted me. Lining Lower Westgate Street were several large lorries with loads of people milling about. As I passed these and turned into the car park there were more lorries, as well as what seemed like hundreds more people excitedly rushing around.

The theme of the carnival was the Spirit of 2012, so there was a predominance of red, white and blue, as well as a good number of Olympics themed floats (did they get LOCOG permission for the use of those Olympic rings?). Most participants were children, with a good number of dance troops impressively showing off their stuff both in the car park and, with boundless energy, throughout the parade itself. At least one of the Olympics floats had children doing actual gymnastics as the lorry rolled through the normally pedestrianised streets. Another featured a ‘Q4S Security’ guard outside a hut bearing the sign ‘Vacancies – Apply Within’.

The Fever float took a different tack, celebrating the rainy weather in macs and umbrella hats – undeterred by the bright sunny day, they brought their own rain in the form of high-powered water pistols.

Not everyone was on message; as usual the god squad didn’t bother with a theme, except for one dressed as a pirate playing a guitar and towing a treasure chest behind him with a sign saying ‘Pirate Repents’. Not sure where that came from!

So all in all a great day and kudos to all involved. Here’s hoping it will go from strength to strength in the coming years. It would be nice to see some of the big stores getting involved like the old days of the Bon Marché and really making a spectacular event of it.


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About Darrel Kirby

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7 Responses to Gloucester Carnival – Spirit of 2012

  1. Faye Murphy says:

    How lovely to know the efforts involved in partaking in the carnival have not gone unnoticed. Felt quite let down by our newspaper as they took 47 pictures and with 34 entries still they did not manage to capture all entries!! We are a non profit making youth organisation and as such we have to rely heavily on funding to run any projects, we tried to obtain some funding to help us with decorating a float but understandably we were unable to get help, so with a lot of determination & a huge helping of genius we managed to create a float which was visually eyecatching, crossed themes of both the jubilee & The Olympics and was made from approximately 98% recycled junk & scrap materials. Such a shame no reporters or judges came to talk to anyone on our float to find out about our wonderful achievement. Winning isnt important, taking part is but acknowledgement is priceless.

    • Darrel Kirby says:

      Glad you enjoyed the blog Faye – photographers seemed to be out in force so I was surprised the coverage wasn’t more comprehensive. They do concentrate a lot on the crowd though. Which was your float?

      • Faye Murphy says:

        Good morning Darrel, Our float was Glo-Active’s Street Beat Dance are the Ancient Olympians we had Zeus, Poseidon & Hades and loads of Goddesses in red, white & blue toga’s to bring in a splash of jubilee. One picture of a few of our girls made it into the gallery page of the citizen and it is a beautiful picture but so many floats I expected to see a picture of were just not there, Together in Matson’s awesome Olympic torch float (winner in it’s category) was not there, The scout float another winner and totally brilliant was also not captured, same again with winning entry Paws on Patrol. I just felt let down for everyone who worked so so hard to make this years carnival as special as it was, I am sure that with the success of this years event it will inspire more people to participate next year, for us despite the many difficulties we encountered to achieve our goal we would do it again in a heartbeat. Gloucester City Council could do with better advertising as I spoke to a few local businesses who had they have known it was only £30 to enter a commercial float or walking entry they would have had a bash too! If you spot any pictures from the performances in the park after please let me know as so far we cannot find any online at all! Thanks for a great blog and for taking the time to acknowledge everyones achievements. For all the kids involved with our float we have given them fun and positive memories that will stay with them for a very long time which has to be by far the most important part. :0)

  2. Faye Murphy says:

    Just wanted to ensure that people do not assume my post above is due to sour grapes, absolutely not as i was equally dissapointed that the fabulous winning entries also did not recieve any press coverage…such a shame.

  3. Faye Murphy says:

    A quick question Darrel am I allowed to save some of the pictures you have on here?

    • Darrel Kirby says:

      Sure Faye, no problem. If there are any particular images you want I can send them in better quality – DM me through Twitter.

  4. Pingback: Gloucester Carnival God-Botherers | Darrel Kirby's Blog

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