Carnival History

Carnival is one of the most special and unique features of Somerset’s autumn season.  Every year hundreds of thousands of people descend on Somerset to watch this unique awe enspiring show, there are over 20 carnivals to choose from  with Glastonbury and Bridgwater being two of the biggest carnivals of this kind.

Each area is organised into carnival circuits, which provides a friendly competition between clubs.  The first circuit to start off is the Wessex, starting in August, then the South Somerset Federation starts in September, some of these carnival clash with dates but they all finish in time to join in with the Somerset County Guy Fawkes Carnivals, making this the biggest circuit.

Wessex Grand Prix

The Wessex Grand Prix Carnival circuit (which also encompasses a small bit of Wiltshire and Dorset) comprising the eight towns of Trowbridge, Mere, Frome, Shaftesbury, Gillingham, Wincanton, Castle Cary and Warminster. This circuit was established in the 70’s.

The South Somerset Confederation Association

The South Somerset Confederation circuit comprises of Wellington, Ilminster, Chard and Taunton

Somerset County Guy Fawkes Carnival Association

The County Guy Fawkes Association circuit which starts with Bridgwater carnival, quickly followed by Highbridge and Burnham on Sea, Weston Super Mare, then North Petherton, into the following week  Shepton Mallet, Wells and finally Glastonbury. This association was formed in 1952.

The clubs began to form gangs, so gangs associations began to be formed.  Bridgwater Gangs and Features members are all the Bridgwater clubs only.  Midsomerset Gangs and Features members are  clubs within a certain radius.  And finally Midsomerset Gangs and Features Associates which is a membership of clubs and all masqueraders that do not fall within the other 2 groups.

Midsomer Norton carnival which falls within the Somerset County Guy Fawkes dates.