Carnivalites head to Glastonbury Festival

Bridgwater Mercury: PENTATHLON Carnival Club is more dependent than ever on the Glasto "lifeline". PENTATHLON Carnival Club is more dependent than ever on the Glasto "lifeline".

FOR Bridgwater carnivalites, Glastonbury isn't simply the granddaddy of all music festivals.

Stewarding Worthy Farm's world-famous music celebration has long-been a “lifeline” for many Carnival Clubs, and none more-so this year than for flood-hit Pentathlon.

The club is fighting to get back on its feet after “unstoppable” floodwater forced it to evacuate its shed in early January.

Pentathlon chairman Roger Brown told the Mercury: “Stewarding, as a source of income, is a lifeline for us, and we've been doing it for a long time.

“There are around 20 of us going this year; it's a clever ruse to see some good music.”

For Pentathlon, this year's Glastonbury earnings will cover the crucial and costly hiring of the cart's generator.

“It would then be something we wouldn't need to worry about,” Roger continues.

“It's really, really desperate times for us. Having been flooded in 2012 we had only just recovered. We had 8ft of water in our shed this time.

“We do need a lot of equipment to get us anywhere near going on the road this year. But we want to do it, purely and simply, for our own benefit, but to represent the community of Moorland, and everyone so affected by the flooding.

“Let's not forget a lot of them have lost houses and livelihoods. We really want to put out an entry for 2014, and be like a phoenix rising from the ashes, and say, 'this is for you'.”

Rita Jones, president of Bridgwater Carnival, said: “Money is obviously always welcome, whatever the avenue.

“I feel extremely sorry for poor Pentathlon, who were again flooded again, although they managed to move their cart up onto slightly higher ground.”

Also donning the fluoro at Glastonbury this year at Marketeers, Renegades, Gremlins, British Flag, Wills, Marina Sydenham, Crusaders, YMCA, and Griffens Carnival Clubs.

Sean Rendells, chairman of Bridgwater Gangs, has stewarded for nine years at Glastonbury.

“It's a massive help towards the fundraising. It is work, but it's enjoyable, and really social. You get to meet loads of people, as well as getting to watch the bands.

“I was there for the last world cup, and the atmosphere watching the football was I think probably one of the best atmospheres you can get in the UK. It was absolutely electric.”

Marketeers captain Alan Windsor said: “It's one of our biggest fundraisers of the year. We cover ten positions 24 hours a day from the Tuesday before the festival to the Monday after, so without it, we would be a lot of money down per year.

“When I first joined we supplied a generator and lights to help out down there. I wouldn't be surprised if we've been helping out at Glastonbury for as long as it's been going.”

Twelve of Marina Sydenham Carnival Club's members are also heading to Worthy Farm on June 24 to man the festival gates.

Secretary Anne Middleton is among them. “The money we get from Glastonbury isn't as much as some of the other clubs as a lot of them do send far more personnel. But it does pay for all the finishing touches, and for the cost of the generator hire, or new tyres.”

For more information on Glastonbury Festival 2014, visit www.glastonburyfestivals.co.uk

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