Congratulations Bath Festival (and a bit of the Fringe) for Party in the City. Pity you couldn’t fix the weather! Scarves in almost June? Ridiculous!
We met up for a pre-party supper. What’s on tonight asked the lady opposite, waving the programme? All of it we cried! My goodness, she exclaimed, suddenly balking at the scores of free events presented for her delectation.
We braved the chill to watch the Mummers (they’ve introduced a touch of modernity in the form of a spoof Lady Margaret, played by a rather thin man sporting one of my cast-off frocks and much padding. A medieval version of the tribute band! My out of town friends now think I’m world famous) and then went our separate ways.
In the tradition of the party, we continued to text to say where we were and what was essential viewing.
Between us we saw Morris dancing, samba drumming, a budding Victoria Wood, a highly enthusiastic wind ensemble, a terrific children’s’ monster parade (weird to see zombies marching into the abbey) and a gospel choir. We bopped to great bands in the rugby club (Tracey won a pink moustache!) and gasped at the Octagon’s recycled bottle chandelier, finally meeting up at the Spiegeltent where a brilliant Latin band gave us their brassy all.
Out into the cold night air to admire the fireworks and then back inside the packed art deco tent for one more Pimms in a pathetic attempt to capture the spirit of summer.
We had a few too many bevvies, enjoyed an astonishing variety of cultural activities and bumped into loads of people we hadn’t seen for ages.
No doubt there will still be moaners who hanker after the damp opening picnic in the park, with its accompanying hordes of teenage drinkers. But if your thing is a blanket on the ground and a hamper of al fresco comestibles, Parade Gardens had a full programme of festive entertainment. Though an overcoat would have been a useful accessory.
Altogether, a civilised and enjoyable start to both festivals. A showcase for local talent and a taster for events to come. Next year we’re going to make sure our beloved Widcombe joins in. Who knows, maybe the bridge will be finished by then. And I swear blind it’s a tad warmer south of the river!