For Bridgwater Guy Fawkes Carnival to survive for future generations to enjoy, it is essential it evolves and sensibly adapts to the ever-changing world we live in.

Our carnival is the oldest in the UK, and due to the courage and openness to change of the organisers and everybody involved, it continues to be hugely successful and is held in high esteem by other carnival organisers throughout the UK.

Other similar community events have fallen by the wayside in recent times.

Many have disappeared due to the economic climate, some to the ever-increasing bureaucracy and constant avalanche of new regulations, and others have not evolved with the times or suffered from a lack of resources - both in terms of money and volunteers.

The town’s carnival committee prides itself on always looking at new and innovative ways of improving the Bridgwater Carnival experience, and exploring other sources of income to ensure we cover the ever increasing costs of staging the procession.

Over the last twenty years, a number of new initiatives have been introduced to do this, as well as making enhancements to previously existing arrangements.

Examples include official merchandise, designated car and coach parking areas, park and ride facilities, having a strong social media presence, setting up official Bridgwater Carnival channels on video-sharing platforms such as Vimeo and YouTube, enhancements to the sponsorship and carnival friends schemes, forging closer links with the Arts Council and other well established carnivals throughout the UK, text giving for donations, and live streaming of the carnival, to name just a few.

There is no doubt this forward-thinking approach helps enormously with covering the surging costs of arranging such a spectacular event and, of course, we are fortunate in having such a large committee membership and so many carnivalites based in and around the town to help with the resourcing of it.

There has always been a long standing perception that the main indicator for a successful carnival was the amount of money raised from the street collection on the evening.

Of course, the amount of money collected is always important and every single penny helps both the carnival and the charity partners involved and yes, we would always like more.

However, the collection figure is just one out of many measures we now look at when assessing how successful our carnival has been.

Other factors and indicators nowadays include an analysis of customer experience and feedback and the amount of money raised from other income streams (official merchandise sales, vehicle parking, online donations, live stream donations etc).

Bridgwater Guy Fawkes Carnival has consistently proved it can move with the times. In this uncertain economic climate, it’s more important than ever it continues to do so, and I have no doubt that it will.

And finally, as I have mentioned in a previous column, we really value and appreciate the generosity and sponsorship we receive from the local authorities and business sector.

Again this support helps us to offset some of the costs for organising the carnival. The latest sponsor to sign up for this year’s event is Western Fuel. A very big thank you to them.

Until the next time…

Dave Stokes
Publicity director, Bridgwater Guy Fawkes Carnival