Swanage Carnival: All ready to go for 2023!

The marquee is up and the decorations done, there’s a second performance stage for the first time and the bar has a new premium lager on tap – everything is set for the start of Swanage Carnival week 2023.

The hugely popular event, which attracts thousands of visitors but still remains a uniquely Swanage experience, runs from Saturday 29th July to Saturday 5th August 2023.

Setting up for Swanage Carnival 2023

The famous marquee on Sandpit Field is the fulcrum around which the carnival revolves

Swanage Carnival team 2023
Andy Lyons

The carnival team 2023 – ready for anything come rain or shine!

Wildboys and beer pong!

New events including carnival beer pong – like ping pong but with cups and beer, a ‘we’re a knockout’ tournament for some team fun in the showground, and the band Wildboys which is new to Swanage Carnival and who will be closing the week on the marquee stage.

Many carnival classics return for 2023 including firework displays over three evenings, the seafront procession and the not-to-be-missed wheelbarrow race, alongside a daily live music programme including the chilled out EHM house music event on Prince Albert Gardens.

Some other popular events from past years are returning like the AeroSupaBatics Wingwalkers and the carnival zip line. The organisers are also bringing back the fire engine pull, where teams of 10 attempt to pull a 12 tonne fire engine along Swanage seafront.

Setting up for Swanage Carnival 2023

The stage is (almost!) set for eight nights of live music

Setting up for Swanage Carnival 2023

For the first time, a second stage with the unbeatable backdrop of Swanage Bay

“Eight days of incredible events and live music”

Darren Strong is the chair of Swanage Carnival for 2023, having done it before from 2007 to 2010. He said:

“When many think of carnival, they imagine a small tent in a field for an afternoon, not the eight days of incredible events and live music that we have in Swanage. It lifts the spirits, makes a lot of noise, and spreads a lot of joy and laughter!

“In Swanage everyone helps each other out to make the carnival what it is. We have more than 80 members with a core team of about 20 plus the amazing Friends of Swanage Carnival group, who turn up to volunteer during the week.

“We always welcome new people to come and join us. We’re open and diverse, encouraging new ideas and new blood.”

Darren Strong at Swanage Carnival 2023
Andy Lyons

Chair of Swanage Carnival Darren Strong gives the team a last minute pep talk on the evening of Friday 28th July 2028

Setting up for Swanage Carnival 2023

Plenty of joy and laughter, especially for children

New Swanage Carnival app

All the details of the events including the timings are in the carnival programme which is on sale across town for £3, but new for this year is the Swanage Carnival app, which can be downloaded for free onto a phone from an app store.

This is to ensure that anyone with a smartphone can conveniently know what’s going on and when, throughout the eight days of carnival events and live music.

Setting up for Swanage Carnival 2023 with Lucy Langdon, Kevin Langdon and Darren Stone

Working hard to get everything ready in time. Left to right: carnival member Lucy Langdon, carnival secretary Kevin Langdon and carnival chair Darren Strong

Setting up for Swanage Carnival 2023

This year’s theme of Under the Sea has been fully embraced in the marquee

“Invite people to soak up the carnival atmosphere”

Darren added:

“I think my favourite bit of carnival is the opening few days with the great lineup of bands, the fireworks on Saturday evening and the carnival procession on the Sunday – it’s a big weekend. There’s also the wheelbarrow race on Friday, which is complete organised chaos!

“We’d just like to invite people to soak up the carnival atmosphere, come and have a drink in the marquee and donate what you can for our local good causes.”

Swanage Carnival raised a record £29,150 for charity in 2022 and there’s hopes of achieving the same again in 2023 as the carnival week continues to grow in popularity.

Setting up for Swanage Carnival 2023

The team setting up the bar including the new premium lager Madri. Left to right: Shaun Heal, Paul Jameison, Neal Diffey and Nicky Taylor

Setting up for Swanage Carnival 2023

There’s a carnival programme, an app and the website but there’s always someone to answer any questions in the carnival caravan on Shore Road near The Mowlem

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