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Bridgwater launches carnival concerts

Dancers performing on stage at the Bridgwater Carnival concerts Photo: ITV West Country

The famous Bridgwater Carnival, which sees 150,000 people line the streets to see the spectacular procession, is just around the corner.

But did you know that the carnival's traditional launch doesn't happen on the road - but on the stage?

Illuminating colour on one of the carnival carts Credit: ITV West Country

While this year's revellers have to wait until next month to enjoy the procession, the carnival concerts have already kicked off in the town hall.

The concerts have run for an impressive 134 years.

134
years of Bridgwater Carnival Concerts

The 12 days of fun give the clubs who make the carts on the roads a chance to do something a little different, putting together their own mini shows based on their theme, all while putting in the finishing touches to the floats themselves.

Behind the scenes work on the carnival carts Credit: ITV West Country

"The stage is set in a fairground," said James Venning from the Ramblers Carnival Club.

"Once a year this ghostly funfair appears in the town where ghouls and ghosts are revealed and what not.

"We start rehearsals in May so May to October we're flat out two times a week rehearsing.

"We rehearse on a Wednesday and on a Sunday and the other days we're down the cart, building, having club meetings."

Credit: ITV West Country

As well as the carnival clubs, variety acts get to entertain the audience, with many over the years ending up on stages far and wide including the West End and in talent competitions.

"It's a little bit of a gem that a lot of people don't really know about, the carnival concerts," said compère Paul Savage.

"I think there's only a few tickets left so it's near on a complete sell-out which is great.

"That's where we want to be with the carnival concerts and it's just a fantastic show for Bridgwater as well."

Credit: ITV West Country