The St Ives Carnival and Music Festival is a two day event normally held over the weekend prior to the local schools breaking up for the summer holidays. Until 2013 the event was organised by the Millennium Committee formed in 1999 to arrange the new year events to celebrate the 2000 millennium but in the anti-climax that followed it was decided to resurrect the carnival that had lapsed some years earlier but this time adding a second day of pop and rock music in the park.
The new two-day carnival / music festival format proved to be a success not only for the public but also a worthwhile occasion for the fun-fair operators to bring large rides to the show that take the time and effort to erect that is not justified for a one day event. Bigger rides attract bigger crowds and bigger crowds attract better bands and thus we have ended up with an excellent two day event.
By mid-morning on Saturday Warner's Park will be a scene of frantic activity as the fun-fair completes the building of the many rides, games and attractions that it brings, numerous local charities and traders will be making the final adjustments to their stands and stalls and the aroma of candy-floss, hot dogs and burgers will be drifting across the park. By late morning the public will start to arrive in anticipation of the arrival of the Carnival Procession during which they are normally entertained by a folk band on stage in the main arena.
One of the rides of the fun fair at the St Ives Carnival and Music Festival 2017
Either late on Friday or very early on Saturday morning the drivers of numerous lorries and flatbed trucks, generously provided by our local hauliers and contractors, will have washed, polished and made safe their charges ready for them to be transformed into carnival floats. By 10.45 on Saturday the vehicles duly decorated and filled with children assemble in Hill Rise on the far side of town. At 11.45 the convoy will depart Hill Rise escorted front and rear by officers of the Cambridge Constabulary an engine or perhaps two from Cambridge Fire and Rescue Service and usually a doctor from MAGPAS in their emergency response vehicle leading the way - there is nothing like being safe!
The convoy proceeds north to south across town down Ramsey Road briefly holding up the traffic on the busy Houghton Road crossing upon reaching the Waits the convoy turns east into the Broadway, Crown Street and the town centre at Market Hill. By this time around 12.40 the town will be at a standstill. The carnival procession will slow to a crawl as it negotiates its way through the town centre turning left into Market Road, proceeding the wrong way down Cromwell Place before turning into Needingworth Road and heading to Warner's Park.
The Mayor of St Ives, Cllr. Phillip Pope, presenting Luminous with their trophy at the 2017 Carnival
At approximately 13.00 the carnival procession will arrive in the park to be greeted by The Mayor of St Ives. Judging the best floats will rapidly be concluded and trophies and rosettes will be awarded to the winners. The the afternoon's entertainment will begin.
Each year the show in the main arena a selection of performances by local dancers and entertainers and some years the inclusion of a major professional act. In past years we have had Vikings, Knights in Armour and Sheep Dogs herding Geese, so you never know what you may see!
Some of the food stalls available in Warner's Park during the St Ives Carnival and Music Festival
Of course there will be loads of a stalls and stands, many manned by local charities, looking for your support. Lots of food, ice cream and we must not forget the beer tent either. The arena entertainment will go on to around 16.30 but the timings by now will most certainly have gone adrift but who cares. The fun fair rides will go on into the evening.
By late morning on Sunday the stalls and stands from the day before will have gone. The fun fair and licensed bar will remain and will normally be joined by a Hog Roast, the rest of the park will be cleared to make room for people.
Some of the crowds attending the St Ives Carnival and Music Festival on Sunday 13th July 2008.
If you want a good place to set up your blanket or chairs you will need to arrive early as the good pitches go qucikly as can be seen in the picture above. The music starts at 12.00 and will go on until 21.00 (9pm)
One of the bands kicking off the start of the 2008 St Ives Music Festival