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There aren’t many events where you don a bright pink wig, fishnets and heels and cover yourself in glitter yet still feel under-dressed. But the Invisible Circus’s Carny Ville ain’t no ordinary party. The theme of this month’s Carny Villes (which took place the first two weekends of the month) was production line and chorus line…read let’s go fuckin mental! Set (sadly for the last time) in the wonderful space that is the old firestation in the centre of Bristol the venue proves a delightful maze of rooms, stairwells and corridors. From the moment you walk the mayhem ensues, face painted freaks playing piano, licking the stage floor and producing paper flowers from crevasses you didn’t even know you had! There’s a perfect mix of music to be found in the many many rooms, including some dance-tastic 50’s rock’n’roll, more grimy d’n’b and the inevitable cheese that is Abba and Deacon Blue. Topping the music bill was one of the best skiffle bands I’ve ever heard – The Carny Villians. Playing on a stage about 20 ft above the crowd, rockin the hits from Radiohead’s Creep to the Human League’s Don’t You Want Me Baby there wasn’t a still person in the courtyard. Which was a world away from the jaw dropping antics earlier in the night when hundreds of people looked skywards in amazement as some very brazen and very fit trapeze artists and contortionists took to the high wires. What a spectacle. People go all out on their costumes for Carny Ville so much so that you may think you’re tripping whether you’re drunk, sober or off your tits. In just one evening I clapped eyes on some scary Oompah Loompahs, The Dark Knight, the Child Catcher and a million hot Land Girl types (that last one no-one minded!). If you, like me, were feeling blue about the end of the festival season then this proved the perfect distraction – all the fun of a summer festival on one dark, cold autumnal evening. Genius.

Words: Laura Williams
Photos: Matt Smith