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Insectes - A Night Carnival, in Newbury town centre on Saturday, July 16
LESS than a week after the “real” Newbury Carnival, the concept was turned on its head on Saturday night as mini beasts became supersized for an eerie and atmospheric crawl through the town centre. The darkening air was filled with hissing smoke, glowing lights and banging tunes, as the crowd screamed with delight and fear as two giant ants, a spider and a praying mantis crept among them as if searching for prey, their spiky legs forever moving as they made their way up Northbrook Street and into the Market Place.
There was no escape even for those cowering behind, as a tenacious venus flytrap swung over the heads of the crowd, snapping its fearsome jaws close to them.
The parade culminated in the Market Place, with a deadly showdown between the spider and the praying mantis, as slowly the other insects and plants stopped moving and dimmed their lights. With the cyclists powering the mechanisms hidden from view, and the audience gathering in a more unstructured manner than they had been along the route, it truly looked like the beasts were walking over the heads of the crowd, until finally the praying mantis became the victor. It may have had a little trouble getting over the water bridge, but in the battle between mantis and spider, the mantis had the edge.
Hosted by The Corn Exchange and funded by Greenham Common Trust, Spanish artists Sarruga presented the Insectes carnival with the help of local volunteers who helped to build and cycle the machines. With the rain stopping just in time for the event, the parade was a ray of dark light for the community. With funding cuts for arts projects fast taking hold nationwide, the input of the Greenham Common Trust to make such thrilling and exciting free events happen in Newbury is to be welcomed and applauded. Long may it continue, as the people of West Berkshire wait with anticipation to see what amazing experience will next bring the crowds flooding into the town.
- First published in Newbury Weekly News on Thursday, July 21, 2011