The fine and dry weather certainly helped, but it was the sheer talent and enthusiasm of those taking part in this year’s free Bath Festival ‘Jump In – Party in the City’ that got the opening night celebrations off to such a great start.
The ten day event is always launched by holding Bath’s biggest free party with hundreds of musical and theatrical performances at venues across the city. Involving everything from the ‘chapel’ at the Gainsborough Spa Hotel to the city’s stage on wheels – The Bath Theatre Bus!
Thirty six venues in total – and l can only talk about the events my partner and l managed to catch – but congratulations all round to those who gave their time and talents for free.
We started with the opening party for this year’s 112th annual exhibition by Bath Society of Artists at the Victoria Art Gallery. That’s open to the public today – through to July 15th.
Then across to Abbey Green and into 44AD – a well-known art gallery holding an open week-end and music from a Texan musician called Broose.
Great to see the large wooden doors of Bath Abbey’s West Front wide open and people overflowing from a crowded nave inside. The church was hosting seven different musical events – right through to the unaccompanied ‘choral compline’ – sung by the Abbey girl’s and men’s choir which ended proceedings at 10pm.
Then across to the 5 star Gainsborough Spa Hotel – a listed building that started life as the city’s general hospital – and musical events in what was the infirmary’s former chapel. Watched and listened to close-harmony group The Noteables while munching on complimentary olives and Japanese crackers.
Heading up Milsom Street – renamed Carnival Street for the evening – and stopping to enjoy the antics of Bath’s much loved Natural Theatre Company.
Spot the life savers, trawler men and flight attendants giving their pavement performances.
Bath Carnival held a costume making workshop and then celebrated their achievements.
Queen Square found Moles Club hosting a live music event and – while there appeared to be some sort of 200 people limit on the numbers allowed into the fenced inner lawns, a long queue that had formed outside was eventually let in.
We were heading for the lawns in front of the Royal Crescent to see a special projection on the face of No 1 – home of Bath Preservation Trust. Yesterday – May 19th – was the 250th anniversary of the laying of the foundation stone.
Not quite dark enough to see the ‘Words On Stone’ poetry projection when we passed through – but l am sure it became more impressive as darkness fell.
Poet Nick Compton – too his inspiration from Japanese haiku to produce 7 seventeen syllable poems inspired by Royal Crescent onto the building.
Lots more events on Sunday, May 21st to celebrate the iconic Crescent’s anniversary. See http://no1royalcrescent.org.uk/events/
Then a slow walk home – past the celebrations in Alfred Street – where Woods Restaurant were hosting an Australian punk band called The Meanies and the Bath Theatre Bus was parked up and full for even more mini-staged musical activity.
And so to bed. Thanks entertainers and do check out http://bathfestivals.org.uk/ for more information about forthcoming events.