2016 (rescheduled) Bedminster Winter Lantern Parade lit up the streets (finally)

Wow, what a day!  Saturday 21st started bright and clear – such a contrast from the Parade’s original date – and early for the #bemmylanterns team.  Yours truly had the easy job of a quick interview with BBC Radio Bristol, whilst the rest of the team were getting preparations under way.  It was so peaceful and still at St Francis Church that morning…

…but not for long!

The giant lanterns were picked up from secret locations across Bedminster to be brought to St Francis Church for final construction by the artists, whilst other members of the crew worked on the other vital jobs including the final muster layout; deployment of the volunteer stewards, marshals and collectors; reviewing and checking off all safety points; and putting the finishing touches to the other entertainments.

By the time I got to St Francis Church in the early afternoon, the whole place was buzzing!  Big tarps on the front lawn were gradually filling with the schools’ and community groups’ beautiful creations, the hall was filling with the musicians, and the team and volunteers in high viz were buzzing around purposefully like dedicated raver bees.


St Francis Road – the main site for the parade mustering – gradually began to fill the Parade groups, the usual splendid schools and community groups:

• Southville Centre Monday Club and Nursery • Parson Street Primary • Ashton Vale Primary • Southville Primary • Luckwell Primary • Ashton Gate Primary • Holy Cross Primary • St Mary Redcliffe Primary • Compass Point Primary • Victoria Park Primary  

And for the first time we welcomed Ashton Park School with their fantastic Pokémon lanterns, the 255th Scouts and the fantastic Bemmy Mix group, made up from individual enthusiastic lantern makers.

And last (but not least) the incredible Girl, the Moth & the Light, the animated lanterns produced as part of a South West wide project led by the Bedminster Winter Lanterns group, and funded by the Arts Council


By the time everybody had made their way to the starting line, the area was completely filled with kids, adults and lanterns.


Meanwhile over at Lanterns HQ (aka the gazebo on the front lawn), the collectors were stretching and lunging to avoid any strained or pulled muscles from carrying all those donations in buckets along the route.

The artists were starting to move the lanterns down to the muster point, and the musicians were gathering in the Church.  I was glaring at the sky and wishing it would hurry up and get a bit darker and/or more cloudy.  A dreadful thing to wish for, given the awful weather we experienced last time, we needed it to be a bit less bright and lovely to get the full impact of the Lanterns.

Fortunately, by the time the start of the Parade rolled around, it was starting to get a bit gloomy, so we were ready to go!

As ever, the start of the Parade was heralded by the sweet, sweet rhythms of Bristol Samba – Bloco Carnavalesco.  A little known fact about the #bemmylanterns team, but when we hear the samba kick in, all the planning, effort and worry melt away. We get a little buzz and the a general feeling of “Yep, THIS is what it’s all about.  TOTALLY worth it!”


And then, finally, the event was ready to go.  Malcolm, the Chair of the #bemmylanterns committee, expertly coordinated the Parade set up and we were off!

We were very lucky to have some reporters from the Bristol Post at the Parade, broadcasting live.  So if you didn’t get to see the event in person, here’s a little bit of the Parade, just for you.

And here’s a link to another Bristol Post story and video.

Some of the BEDMINSTER crew were there too, and took some lovely vids, including this one

To see more awesome photos of the event, go check out the 2016 gallery.

So, as you can see, we got there!  The 2016 Bedminster Winter Lantern Parade finally lit up the streets of Bedminster!

We wound up, as ever, on South Street, where the kind people of Compass Point Primary opened their gates so their playground could be a final viewing spot for the Lanterns, a place to get a delicious coffee from Hopper Coffee and, of course, the perfect spot to watch firework finale by Skyburst!  (thanks to the BEDMINSTER crew again for the video).

So there you have it.  Another splendid Lantern Parade done and dusted. We have a whole bunch of thanks to splash about, as well as the vital picking of the winner for the bottle of prosecco raffle prize.

More on those anon, but in the meantime

Thank you everbody who was involved and hope to see you next time?

Love from the #bemmylanterns team. xoxo


2016 Bedminster Winter Lantern Parade Photos

Here is a selection of some of the beautiful photos that the #bemmylanterns team took, along with some pictures that some Parade-goers took on the night and posted to the Facebook group or event.

Thanks to: Matthew Symonds, Alan May, Lorraine Fairbanks, Tina Elder, Lisa Madge, Jackie Smith, Andrew Beale and Jeremy Fennell for bringing their ace photography skills.

If you have any photos you’d like to add to the gallery, drop us a line via the Facebook group or email us, and we’ll add them to the gallery.


Road closure update for 21 January 2017

Over the past couple of years we have been able to secure permission for a completely traffic free route for our Parade on St Francis Rd, North St, Cannon St, British Rd and part of South St. We applied for this pattern of road closure for Saturday 21st January, but the Council’s road diversion plan linked to work for the implementation of Metrobus services through Bedminster has prevented us from closing the entire route.


There’s a change for Saturday

While most of our route has received official permission for total road closure. there is a crucial part of the Parade route which has NOT been granted total closure so we may have to walk against the flow of on-coming traffic.

This area is North St from the junction with Luckwell Rd down to the junction with Dean Lane/Cannon St.

This belatedly-enforced arrangement means that we will be putting in place additional safely measures to keep the Parade safe, though or team of volunteer Stewards, and Complete Traffic Control, a company which has responsibility for road signage on the day.


What does this mean?

If you are…

  • a participant in the Parade, please take extra care during this part of the Parade, and make sure you follow any instructions you are given by Parade Marshals and Stewards.
  • a lovely person coming along to watch the Parade, please do make sure you are vigilant on that part of the route.  Keep you and yours safe!


After December’s weather postponement we’re all looking forward to taking to the streets next Saturday, with what we know will be the biggest, most colourful and most musical community Parade there has been to date.


See you Saturday! 

Love from the #bemmylanterns team x



Get that Bedminster Winter Lantern Parade date in your diary

Some days you get the bad news and you feel pretty rubbish – that was us on 10th December.

Man, that was a bad day.

And then, some days you get good news.

When we were able to tell you all that the 2016 Bedminster Winter Lantern Parade was going to go ahead on its new date – Saturday 21st January 2017 – we felt a bit like our friend Kermit here.  A lot like him, actually!

So now that Christmas has just about finished, and before we all go cake-tin-crazy over New Year, I wanted to remind you all to get the date in your diary, because it would be rubbish if you missed out!

Everything else about the day will stay the same, including timings and entertainments etc, but do make sure you keep up to date with any new info by coming back here, going to the Facebook group, or joining the super duper rescheduled Facebook event.

Have a lovely New Year, everybody, and see you all on the other side!

Love from the #bemmylanterns team


Volunteering opportunities this December

We need to recruit a minimum of 60 volunteer stewards to allow the Lantern Parade to go ahead this year.  Would you be available to help out on Saturday 10th December?

The volunteer stewards will work in teams under Sector Chiefs and will help the smooth running and safety of parade and its participants, being a conduit for information on road closures to members of the public.

All we need is 4 hours of your time, during which you’ll meet with your Sector Chief and team before the start of the Parade, for a briefing to agree positions and pick up your high-viz jacket.  You’ll then walk to your location with your team before the start of the Parade.  You’ll stand at your location for the duration of the Event, as advised by your Sector Chief, explaining road closures to members of the public.

For more information, read the full Volunteering Steward Role 2016 description.

If you think you can help us out, please get in touch with us at info@bwlp.org.uk, or contact us via our Facebook group.

Love from the #bemmylanterns team x