Somerset Carnival Circuit cancelled because of coronavirus

Somerset’s hugely popular Guy Fawkes Carnival Circuit, which includes parades in Bridgwater, Weston-super- Mare and Glastonbury, has been cancelled this year because of coronavirus.

The events attract tens of thousands of people to towns across the county and are world-famous for the spectacular illuminated carts, which are built by participating clubs.

Bridgwater Carnival regularly attracts crowds of 150,000 people. Credit: ITV News

An estimated 150,000 people attend Bridgwater Carnival every year. The events also raise money for charities and good causes.

The 2020 Bridgwater Carnival concerts and the ‘Grand Firework Display’, held on the evening before the carnival procession, have also been postponed.

Bridgwater Carnival ends with ‘squibbing’ - a traditional firework display. Credit: ITV News

The Guy Fawkes Carnival Circuit traditionally begins with Bridgwater on the first Saturday in November and includes events in Highbridge & Burnham on Sea, Weston-super-Mare, North Petherton, Shepton Mallet, Wells and Glastonbury.

Other carnival circuits in Somerset, which include events in Taunton, Ilminster, Chard and Frome, have not yet made an announcement, although Wellington Carnival has already been postponed because of a lack of volunteers.

Carnival events take place in many towns across Somerset. Credit: ITV News
Carnival clubs spend months on building their carts before the events Credit: ITV News

ITV News West Country’s Somerset Correspondent Ben McGrail said: “Somerset’s carnivals are not only spectacular events for spectators, but a way of life for a huge number of people.

"Preparation for the next year begins shortly after the last year has finished and club members spend hours upon hours working on the ideas, designs and build of their carts.

“It’s hard to imagine an autumn in the county without these spectacular parades, but with public safety paramount and social distancing making cart-building almost impossible, an early decision by the Guy Fawkes circuit seems sensible. Throw into the mix the cancellation of events including Glastonbury Festival and popular steam fairs, where clubs are able to work to earn much of their funds, and waiting until 2021 is the only option."