The annual Norfolk and Norwich Festival is done for another year. The festival delivers something for all ages and tastes – from the highbrow to the frivolous, the earnest to the slapstick, the traditional to the avant-garde, the well-known to the newbie, the orchestral to the bloke with a guitar – in glorious words, music, dance and acrobatics. Liam and I mostly pop along for the eclectic street performers and drinking culture. The festival marks the start of a summer season packed with designer ducks, dancing queens, technicolour floats, frilly tutus, soaring batons, bone-crunching back flips, stunning pyrotechnic wizardry and the celebration of Norfolk’s pastoral bounty. Let’s hope Mother Nature is in a bright mood for the duration.
Of all the shows sprinkled about the city during the festival, the most intriguing was the Museum of the Moon by artist Luke Jerram at the Forum. A giant moon featuring detailed NASA imagery appeared to float effortlessly above the floor. It was mesmerising. Dropped mouths just gawped up in silence, us included.
And here’s the Norwich Cathedral Choir chanting to the man in the moon, kinda medieval and mystical…
What better way to raise our spirits after the misery of Brexit and the rise of the loony right than a street party? Thank the Lord Mayor for his big day. Last year, we sizzled under a cloudless sky. This year sunshine and showers were on the menu, but this didn’t dampen our ardour or the enthusiasm of the performers. From ballerinas to buskers, breakdance to bangra, choristers to elderly brass bandeliers, the mad mix of turns – on the stages, on the streets and on the floats – proved Norwich folk are truly bonkers. Amen to that!
Despite sinking one sherry too many, we made it to the fireworks finale – just. Sadly, the next day we didn’t manage to roll out of our pit in time to cheer on the dressed-up waterfowl in the annual duck race.
For pure foot tapping joy, you can’t beat a bit of Bollywood. It brought the proverbial house down. To end this madness, I give you bangra and bangs…
There was no rain on the Lord Mayor’s Parade. Clear blue skies and one of the warmest days of the year provided the perfect excuse for the good citizens of Norwich to throw a giant party. Last year, we watched the pageant from a neighbour’s balcony, the surreal highlight of which was Alice Cooper’s ‘Poison’ blaring out from a giant float. This year, we got down and dirty with the great unwashed. Singers, dancers and musicians from also-rans to best in breed kept the ample crowd entertained on street and stage across the city. The inclusion of so many children and young people with disabilities was a joy. The surreal highlight was a primary school dance troupe strutting their stuff to Alice Cooper’s ‘School’s Out.’ Obviously, the north folk of Norfolk are partial to a bit of shock rock. The carnival was topped off with a spectacular firework extravaganza over the Norman keep. Fabulous!
As you can see, we took a few snaps. They got progressively worse as we got progressively worse for wear. Liam has chucked together (and I mean chucked) a video compilation from the wobbly out-takes. Listen if you dare, to a drunken and tone-deaf sing-a-long-a-Liam during the pyrotechnics. The next day we had wine flu.