Bridgwater’s Cultural Revival – Will You Be Part Of It?

Bridgwater Town Council flies the flag(s) for the Cultural Partnership

This weekend you’ll see these multi-coloured flags all around our town and probably wonder  what they’re about and what’s going on. In fact it’s the Bridgwater Cultural Partnership raising aloft the standards of creativity and welcoming  everyone to the new Quayside Festival. The Town Council are happy to be a key sponsor of this along with Sedgemoor, the Arts Council England and all held together by expert festival organisers, Fuse Performance.

All across the town there will be events – live music, street theatre, circus skills, even opera. Just follow the flags.

The Quayside Festival programme

Follow the flags

Myself? I’ll be following THIS programme if anyone wants to join me…

At 1130 our Mayor is opening the new Workhouse memorial on the site of the newly built Northgate school so I’ll be saying a bit about the history of the place.

Then at 12 noon the festivities will start all over the town centre – so where best to go to be daft?

Maybe the Bridgwater Arts Centre – the countries first – and a key member of the Cultural Partnership. I’ll have missed the 11am CBeebies kids show but at least they’ll be open from midday for refreshments..and of course, if the weather’s bad – a lot of the events will be held indoors, and the Art Centre (along with the Town Hall and Trinity hall) will be a key wet weather alternative.

West Quay a -Go Go

West Quay gears itself up for the big day

Coming out of the Art Centre and heading down to the river we’ll pick up the dulcet tones of The Lone Arranger – DJ extroadinaire, livening up West Quay and its cafe bar culture. Throughout the afternoon he’ll be joined by street entertainers and the occasional live act. At 2.30 Ben and Alfie violin and Double bass folk tunes  then at 4.30 the ‘Enchanter‘ (that’s local singer Claude Sandiford by the way). Whether you stop to have a drink in Bridgwater’s key quayside pub The Fountain or a coffee and a snack in Coffee Cream, a lunch at the Green Olive or just fancy a bag of fish and chips, there’s tables and chairs or a quay wall to sit on and watch the fun.

Low Flying babies

New Road : Watch out for Low Flying Babies

Maybe I’ll pop across the river into Eastover where the traders of the pedestrianised ‘New Road’ will be hosting a host of hosted entertainers including Maurice and his flute and harp show (that’ll involve a few more hands than he’s maybe thought about) at noon and again at 2pm or at 3.15 the Big Noise Band. And right next door is the Portuguese Cafe Aveirense or the Greek Cafe Acropolis if you want a sit down.

Shoot The Moon, shooting the moon

Fun in the Park

Wandering over to Blake Gardens there’ll be stalls and entertainers throughout the day including Punch and Judy, juggling, escapology and fire-eating, but I’ll make sure I’m there for  the Gin Bowlers on the bandstand at 3pm and Bridgwater’s top ska band Shoot the Moon at 5pm.

And while in Blake Gardens there’s time to drop into the Blake Museum – where their cafe will surely be busy or the Bridgwater Library where they’re offering a ‘Human Library’ for the day. What? Yes, people can basically ‘borrow’ a person (for a short while) for a chat and to learn from them…as indeed you would a book.

Street Entertainers

Celebrating Bridgwater’s nautical heritage

Better head up the main street…..Fore street and the Blake statue will have wandering and fixed entertainers and roundabout the statue itself local radio station Sedgemoor FM will be broadcasting live.

Maybe pop over to King square for the 2pm showing on the big screen of Garsington Opera and their performance of Handel’s Semele. Refreshments  will be available all day…face painting (if you don’t want anyone to recognise you there)..and if you’re there at noon there’s even a bit of  Jazzical Swing to put you in the mood.

Up at Angel Place there’s a wealth of stuff on all day too including a major aerial display of acrobats from noon. On top of this (well, under it) there’ll be a stream of musical acts to entertain you including the Big Noise band at 1pm, Jazzical Swing at 2.15 and the Bridgwater Voices Community Choir at 4pm.


Afterparty at the Art Centre

As afternoon ends all eyes focus on the Bridgwater Arts Centre once again because at 6pm the AFTERPARTY starts. It’s free!! Three top DJs will be on stage, the bar will be open, so will the garden (if you want some fresh air) and the thing will finish at midnight.

This is certainly where I’ll be for the evening.

6pm the Afterparty kicks off with Dave Chapple’s RED SHADOW SOUND SYSTEM playing ska,blue beat, and calypso on a pair of olde worlde decks then at 7pm THE LONE ARRANGER with his ‘plunderphonic’ show will hit the stage. At 8-10 GLOBAL JUKEBOX takes to the stage playing an eclectic mix of world music, soul and pretty much whatever he fancies, then at 10 it’s back to the Lone Arranger  and finishing the evening it’s the Red Shadow again.

For me , that sounds like a good day out. Let’s hope it’s a major step to putting Bridgwater on the cultural map where it ought to be  and absolutely everyone has something for them.



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