Confetti Battles, picnics, street theatre, bands and parades take over the town from August 19 to September 1
2012 is the 100th anniversary of Devizes Carnival and they’re celebrating this special year with the best event yet. For the first time the free famous international street festival will take place over two days kicking off at midday on Sunday August 26 until dusk and then 10.30am to 6.30pm on Monday August 27. Add to all of this the other carnival events like the confetti battle, picnic in the park and the main carnival procession and you know it’s going to be a corker of a time in Devizes this August. Barney Goodall reports
The phrase 'Bigger and Better' is thrown around a lot these days by people such as myself for reasons best known to us. However in this instance I would be a fool not to use it; mindless clichés have their place. Anyway, Devizes Carnival is quite literally 'Bigger', and if you like things bigger, then presumably you might consider it 'Better' as well. There we go.
We begin on the 19th of August by dining on turf, yes turf; otherwise known as the Picnic in the Park, and to be precise, Hillworth Park, this event features the marvel of live music combined with food and drink. Almost all-encompassing stimulation of the senses. And it's free. Bring a picnic and listen to Polly and the Billets Doux, Jim Hart Quartet and Moscow Drug Club.
As the misery of our lost summer progresses you may feel the need to alleviate your sorrow by attending the Devizes Street Festival which is now stretching itself over two whole days during the August Bank Holiday. This is pretty good really and we strongly recommend it. Performers of all shapes and sizes will descend on the town, beset with a frenzied passion for entertaining people. And entertained you will be.
The first day of the festival on Sunday August 26 is on The Green in Devizes and showcases some of the best in UK contemporary circus shows around at the moment, including Square Peg and Lost in Translation Circus companies. It will also feature Kawa Circus from Jaipur, a charming, traditional Indian travelling circus show as well as lots of kid’s activities and festival stalls, CAMRA bar, live music, and much more.
On the same day acts such as Jamie Coupe and bands On Deaf Ears and The Doubtful Guest will be playing in Hillworth Park from lunchtime. A heart-throb of a local lad, Mr Jamie Coupe will have you swaying, burning your hands on lighters, or weeping at the moon to the sound of his quite excellent voice. He’s followed by On Deaf Ears, a band that needs to be heard with its re-imagining of the sounds of the American West, whilst exploring the mystery and madness of evil, god, love, death, the minds of psychopaths, and of course, whisky. Following in a similar genre, yet with a very different sound, is The Doubtful Guest who describe their music as 'country influenced Americana'. Based in Bath, this band have a delightful mix of upbeat shuffles and boogie-styled tracks to get your feet stomping and limbs jittering (hopefully voluntarily) as well as some more pensive, mournful tunes. It really is very good stuff, I suggest you catch them.
The second day on Monday August 27 is in the town centre and is a packed day of street shows, great bands and festival stalls. Headlining will be Malian guitarist and singer Vieux Farka Toure who arrives in Devizes after a show at Shambala Festival. Toure has been heralded as the 'Hendrix of the Sahara' by various publications and is an established international performer. He is joined by other groups such as Ska Cubano, who play a brilliant fusion of latino, ska and reggae creating a real feel good sound. Aficionados of traditional musics will love the sounds of both The Long Notes and the most excellent Jon Amor Blues Group.
Street theatre includes fabulous Bash Street Theatre with their brand new show called ‘Strong Man’ based on a Buster-Keaton-style movie – an all-black-and-white, slapstick show accompanied by a live pianist! And there will be lots of amazing street shows from all around Europe including Cocoloco, Fadunito, Il Cataldo, George Orange, Swank, Pif Paf and more. Everything is free, of course!
There’s also the bizarre yet amusing Confetti battle on the evening of the 29th, and the Carnival Parade on the 1st of September celebrating the 100th birthday of carnival in Devizes. If you like parades and processions, dressing up and general frivolity then get on it! You can even apply to be in it... For full details on everything visit http://www.devizescarnival.co.uk