Columnist: David Brayshaw

Chairman  of Morecambe Carnival  organising committee, David Brayshaw.
Chairman of Morecambe Carnival organising committee, David Brayshaw.
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Welcome to the first of a new, regular column in The Visitor where we want to offer you a ‘behind the scenes’ glimpse into the world of ‘festival organising’ in Morecambe.

My name is David Brayshaw and I’m proud to say that Morecambe Carnival 2014 was my idea.

It seemed like a good idea at the time although I’ve come to accept that this is often the case where alcohol consumption is involved and it’s not always as straightforward in the cold light of day!

My wife and I were on an evening out with friends and were discussing the ‘good old days’ when the subject of Morecambe Carnival arose. I proudly announced that I used to be in the carnival parade in the 70s as part of the St Andrew’s Church Lads’ Brigade. I remembered it as a fantastic day with thousands of people flocking to the town to watch and participate in the parade. We used to spend weeks making paper flowers and then sticking them on one of ‘Calverley’s’ coal wagons.

I then had a typical lightbulb moment; what a great idea it would be to bring back the carnival! A few phone calls or emails to line up the floats, a bit of press and media advertising in the run-up and that’s it, we’ll be good to go.

Naïve or just plain stupid I’m not sure but I’ve come to realise that festival organising is far more difficult than I, for one, ever imagined.

My admiration for Steve Middlesbrough, Ivan Harrison and the like, who are ‘veterans’ of festival organising in Morecambe, has gone up considerably. How these two still have any hair left is beyond me.

So, recovering from my hangover, I contemplated and decided the first things to organise should be the when and the where. To keep things simple, make it May 2014 (plenty of time) and let’s follow the old carnival route starting at Sandylands Promenade. Hurray, that’s sorted…pretty easy this festival organising lark.

On second thoughts, the carnival used to finish on Lancaster Road School field. That’s a slight problem because Sainsburys’ supermarket is now there and they could object to 50-odd floats turning up on their car park.

A quick walk along Sandylands promenade also reminded me of the various decorative (and permanent) features which Lancaster City Council have placed there; very pretty I must admit but it would be like a downhill slalom trying to get a motorised float around them.

So, it’s off for a walk along the promenade looking for where a ‘Calverley’s’ coal wagon could get on and off. That’s a thought… when I was a kid there were coal wagons and such in abundance but now? With the decline of the coal fire maybe all the coal wagons have disappeared. Oh well, I guess we could always resort to milk floats!

Next week: How much?!!! You’ll be amazed at how much it costs to put on even a simple festival.