Town centre bosses join Christmas switch-on debate

A scene from the fire show

VIPs ready to push the plunger

Fireworks launched from Debenhams

Family fun at the switch-on

First published in News by

A SPECTACULAR firework display crowned a day of entertainment to mark the Taunton Christmas lights switch-on yesterday - but the events didn't please everyone.

The town centre was packed to watch Father Christmas, carnival royalty and special guests press the plunger to switch on this year's display.

The fireworks, launched from the roof of Debenhams, were the culmiunation of a day of entertainment staged in several locations around the town centre.

Attractions included concerts hosted by the Perfect 5th, dance displays, a Continental market, Taunton Vale Farmers' Market, the Blackdown Hills Market, stalls, refreshments, fairground rides and singing.

Children could also try a range of arts and crafts in ‘make-and-do’ tents, as well as juggling and plate spinning in the circus-skills workshop.

The town centre was also closed to traffic for the day.

Father Christmas led a procession from the Brewhouse Theatre to the town centre before a dazzling fire show by Cirque Bijou wowed the crowds on a specially-constructed stage around the the Burma memorial outside the Market House.

Your County Gazette promotions team was also there offering goodie bags to shoppers.

Related links

This year's Christmas lights switch-on day was boosted by sponsors orchard - formerly the Old Market Centre - which hosted a carousel and other attractions during the day.

But some visitors left disappointed with proceedings.

Readers of somersetcountygazette.co.uk have criticised the events, listing a number of problems including:

  • A delay to the switch-on schedule
  • Poor visibiliy of the main stage and the fire show
  • Problems with the sound system from the main stage
  • A scramble for the free carousel in orchard
  • Complaints about Santa and the procession
  • For a photo gallery, click on the Related Links below, and for a video news report, keep checking this website today. For a full round-up of events, don't miss Thursday's County Gazette.

Town centre bosses have hailed the event a success and have moved to address the complaints by visitors.

Here’s what town centre manager Graham Love said:

On the delay to the schedule: “It is clear there was some misinformation with regard to the events, particularly around the timing of the finale which was widely pre-promoted as taking place from 4-5pm.

“Work on the event build-up began around 6.30am and the finale concluded by 5.15pm. Those following the event programme will not have been disappointed.”

On the Burma Memorial: “We used a professional firm of scaffolders who put up the stage around the monument. The performers provided a comprehensive risk assessment for their activities and were adequately insured for the performance they gave.

“We worked closely with local authorities and the police on public safety and we ensured we left Taunton as we found it.

“Part of the switch-on is a celebration of life and community and it was a good use of a town centre space.

“It was exciting and vibrant and something different for Taunton.”

On limited visibility of the main stage and the fire show: “Where events are free, they are likely to be crowded and it is important to get there early to avoid disappointment.

“The platform for the fire show was at a height that the performers and authorities felt was acceptable.”

On sound problems: “If sound was an issue, there are ways that can be overcome but there’s a cost attached to that and we have to find significantly more budget to do more than we did this year.”

On Santa: “Santa was a character from When Santa Fell to Earth, playing at the Brewhouse – perhaps people need to get along and find out why he was tall, skinny and dressed in the colours he was.”

Meanwhile, Paul Blyth, of Kirkstone Real Estate, owners of orchard – formerly The Old Market Centre – said: “Many thousands came to take a look at the newly refurbished centre over the weekend and they were entertained by a variety of live music, children’s face-painting, a Punch and Judy show and other free attractions.

On queues at the free carousel: “The children’s carousel was a big success and operated smoothly all weekend. We experienced a particularly high volume of people towards the end of Sunday’s activities before the start of the parade. In response to this, the operator stopped the carousel whilst the centre’s management team brought out some safety barriers to make queuing more orderly.

On the centre closing time: “The centre closed at the normal time and people were still able to access the car park via other entrances. We are sorry if some people had a slightly longer walk back to their cars.”

Share your views on the day's event - join the debate by filling in the Your Say box on this page.

Somerset County Gazette: Christmas Logo Gazette

Comments (47)

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9:22am Sun 15 Nov 09

thomasjasonpaul says...

Why are they switching on the Christmas lights today? It's only 15 November! We've got another 5 weeks to go yet.

Why are they switching on the Christmas lights today? It's only 15 November! We've got another 5 weeks to go yet. thomasjasonpaul
  • Score: 0

10:33am Sun 15 Nov 09

Taunton_chap says...

Yeh its called festive spirit and getting in the mood 5 weeks gives people time to do their xmas shopping. Its fun for the children etc I will take both of mine.

When should they do ? It singles the start of late shopping.

Thomasjasonpaul aka victor meldrew 'I don't believe it'
Yeh its called festive spirit and getting in the mood 5 weeks gives people time to do their xmas shopping. Its fun for the children etc I will take both of mine. When should they do ? It singles the start of late shopping. Thomasjasonpaul aka victor meldrew 'I don't believe it' Taunton_chap
  • Score: 0

12:14pm Sun 15 Nov 09

souwesterly says...

I bet we're not having JLS along to do their bit!!
I bet we're not having JLS along to do their bit!! souwesterly
  • Score: 0

5:36pm Sun 15 Nov 09

Taunton_chap says...

Well just returned with to unhappy children as they are both under 3 and they had enough of waiting for the lights by 17:30 apparently they will be turned on around 18:30 which is late for the smaller children so very dissapointing. The good thing for taunton was the streets where packed but it was nightmare for us. There was a free ride in the orchard with no que or controls so I saw parents literaly standing on other peoples children to get theres on not nice and very badly run.

All the artical should of stated the switch was going to be 2.5 hrs after the start of the entertainment.

Thanks gazette
Well just returned with to unhappy children as they are both under 3 and they had enough of waiting for the lights by 17:30 apparently they will be turned on around 18:30 which is late for the smaller children so very dissapointing. The good thing for taunton was the streets where packed but it was nightmare for us. There was a free ride in the orchard with no que or controls so I saw parents literaly standing on other peoples children to get theres on not nice and very badly run. All the artical should of stated the switch was going to be 2.5 hrs after the start of the entertainment. Thanks gazette Taunton_chap
  • Score: 0

7:21pm Sun 15 Nov 09

Strawberry says...

The lights went on at 5.05pm just 5 minutes late. It was not bad and is wasn't good either. we could not see the stage because the lights were angled wrong, not enough sound could not hear by Lloyds bank and what we could see was the fire dancers but was it right that they were dancing on the war mermorial????????
The lights went on at 5.05pm just 5 minutes late. It was not bad and is wasn't good either. we could not see the stage because the lights were angled wrong, not enough sound could not hear by Lloyds bank and what we could see was the fire dancers but was it right that they were dancing on the war mermorial???????? Strawberry
  • Score: 0

7:51pm Sun 15 Nov 09

nutpea says...

We left early with a very disappointed 3 year old asking where Father Christmas was, after seeing a thin tall man, with terrible outfit - completely wrong colour suit, with BLACK (!?) edging walk past without so much as a wave, crowded by loads of people and IMPOSSIBLE to see if you are a child in a pram. This was NOT the "spectacular parade led by Santa" as billed in the Gazette. I have seen some really good Santas in my time, but that one scored 0 out of 10 for authenticity. Very disappointing for children.
We left early with a very disappointed 3 year old asking where Father Christmas was, after seeing a thin tall man, with terrible outfit - completely wrong colour suit, with BLACK (!?) edging walk past without so much as a wave, crowded by loads of people and IMPOSSIBLE to see if you are a child in a pram. This was NOT the "spectacular parade led by Santa" as billed in the Gazette. I have seen some really good Santas in my time, but that one scored 0 out of 10 for authenticity. Very disappointing for children. nutpea
  • Score: 0

7:52am Mon 16 Nov 09

Outraged of Oake says...

People should wake up. This sort of event has nothing to do with getting people in the 'Christmas Spirit'. It's simly an attempt by the Council and Retailers to get people to go into their shops and ......buy, buy, buy!
People should wake up. This sort of event has nothing to do with getting people in the 'Christmas Spirit'. It's simly an attempt by the Council and Retailers to get people to go into their shops and ......buy, buy, buy! Outraged of Oake
  • Score: 0

12:20pm Mon 16 Nov 09

Stevewilliamtauk says...

Christmas Christmas Switch on..

POOR show Taunton Deane!
We went up town at 4pm to see the light switch on.
For some old reason the stage was facing Lloyds Bank ?? We were down the street and could not see anything, But to make things worse we could not hear anything.
Im sure during the day was good as i saw lots of market trade stands.

Kind Regards
The Disappointed Willimams Family
Christmas Christmas Switch on.. POOR show Taunton Deane! We went up town at 4pm to see the light switch on. For some old reason the stage was facing Lloyds Bank ?? We were down the street and could not see anything, But to make things worse we could not hear anything. Im sure during the day was good as i saw lots of market trade stands. Kind Regards The Disappointed Willimams Family Stevewilliamtauk
  • Score: 0

1:13pm Mon 16 Nov 09

Bergers says...

The fire show and fireworks just about saved the day.The people on the stage,whoever they were,seemed to like the sound of their own voices,although no one more than 5 rows back could hear them anyway.The procession was a total embarrasment compared to what was advertised.But the worst was when we went to go back to our car in the Paul St multi storey the new (!),much heralded Orchard was all locked up so we had to go to the entrance by the library only to find the lifts out of order,we had to carry a tired 2 and 1 year old,a double buggy and shopping up 3 flights of stairs !!! Not impressed !!!
The fire show and fireworks just about saved the day.The people on the stage,whoever they were,seemed to like the sound of their own voices,although no one more than 5 rows back could hear them anyway.The procession was a total embarrasment compared to what was advertised.But the worst was when we went to go back to our car in the Paul St multi storey the new (!),much heralded Orchard was all locked up so we had to go to the entrance by the library only to find the lifts out of order,we had to carry a tired 2 and 1 year old,a double buggy and shopping up 3 flights of stairs !!! Not impressed !!! Bergers
  • Score: 0

2:02pm Mon 16 Nov 09

humbugging says...

Just wanted to voice my thanks for a very enjoyable day in town yesterday... The businesses who collaborated to bring this FREE event to the people of Taunton are to be congratulated on a well organised, fun and above all safe event for all the family.
I headed into town with my two under-fives just after midday, found a FREE parking space near to the all the action and enjoyed walking the car-free streets. We picked up a pocket guide from one of the stalls, which helped us to plan our afternoon... I would have liked more time to wander around the market stalls and stages, but I was outvoted so we went to Orchard via the Creation Station tent and the circus skills tent. I'll admit that the face-painting lady in Orchard did look like she would have liked an assistant, but she was doing a great job and I was hard pushed to get my two to wash the works of art off their faces before bedtime.
By 4 o'clock we were stood near the barrier around the memorial in just the right spot for the fire-show, which was FANTASTIC. We were given a copy of the words to the carols, and enjoyed belting them out over the top of the disgruntled mumblings around us. We joined in the countdown, and the lights came on. Then the fireworks...they were GREAT, rounded the day off perfectly.
I was home in time to feed two very happy children some tea and get them to bed. When I finally opened my purse in the evening I realised I had spent nothing but time. I will however be heading back into Taunton to do my Christmas shopping because yesterday the businesses earned it. Thank you!
Just wanted to voice my thanks for a very enjoyable day in town yesterday... The businesses who collaborated to bring this FREE event to the people of Taunton are to be congratulated on a well organised, fun and above all safe event for all the family. I headed into town with my two under-fives just after midday, found a FREE parking space near to the all the action and enjoyed walking the car-free streets. We picked up a pocket guide from one of the stalls, which helped us to plan our afternoon... I would have liked more time to wander around the market stalls and stages, but I was outvoted so we went to Orchard via the Creation Station tent and the circus skills tent. I'll admit that the face-painting lady in Orchard did look like she would have liked an assistant, but she was doing a great job and I was hard pushed to get my two to wash the works of art off their faces before bedtime. By 4 o'clock we were stood near the barrier around the memorial in just the right spot for the fire-show, which was FANTASTIC. We were given a copy of the words to the carols, and enjoyed belting them out over the top of the disgruntled mumblings around us. We joined in the countdown, and the lights came on. Then the fireworks...they were GREAT, rounded the day off perfectly. I was home in time to feed two very happy children some tea and get them to bed. When I finally opened my purse in the evening I realised I had spent nothing but time. I will however be heading back into Taunton to do my Christmas shopping because yesterday the businesses earned it. Thank you! humbugging
  • Score: 0

6:42pm Mon 16 Nov 09

thomasjasonpaul says...

I don't believe it! I'm with Outraged of Oake - they're only after your money!
I don't believe it! I'm with Outraged of Oake - they're only after your money! thomasjasonpaul
  • Score: 0

7:18pm Mon 16 Nov 09

delboy11 says...

what a waste of time! the centre stage may aswell not have been there as nobody could see or hear what was going on. The Father Christmas was just awful- i had three 3/4 year olds with me and they were so dissapointed and said he isnt father christmas. the fireworks were great, but the whole experience was ppor, and doesnt it bring some miserable people out in taunton. i put my 4 yr old son on my shoulders so he could see, and had two ladies in their 60's moaning behind me! i mean whos it for really? im sure they have seen many a christmas by now!i think i may travel to yeovil next year.
what a waste of time! the centre stage may aswell not have been there as nobody could see or hear what was going on. The Father Christmas was just awful- i had three 3/4 year olds with me and they were so dissapointed and said he isnt father christmas. the fireworks were great, but the whole experience was ppor, and doesnt it bring some miserable people out in taunton. i put my 4 yr old son on my shoulders so he could see, and had two ladies in their 60's moaning behind me! i mean whos it for really? im sure they have seen many a christmas by now!i think i may travel to yeovil next year. delboy11
  • Score: 0

8:36pm Mon 16 Nov 09

mg-lloyd says...

Wasn't there but just watched the video of the fire dancers vandalising the War Memorial, disgusting. The Council allow that but of course they won't allow New Year's Eve revellers to climb on it to celebrate...again.
Wasn't there but just watched the video of the fire dancers vandalising the War Memorial, disgusting. The Council allow that but of course they won't allow New Year's Eve revellers to climb on it to celebrate...again. mg-lloyd
  • Score: 0

8:58pm Mon 16 Nov 09

HillFamily says...

We attended the events yesterday, starting our day earlier to do shopping in Taunton. We stayed to watch the lights being switched on and were very disappointed to say the least. We found a spot at the front near the barriers (we had 2 children with us), only to find that even that close we could not hear anything from the main stage, the kids were excited to see father Christmas only to be disappointed when he arrived, wrong costume and nothing remarkably like him, the music was rubbish and then we couldn't hear the carols. Considering the audience was primarily made up of children we found the choice of fire entertainers with fireworks on their backs and using angle grinders to make sparks was just irresponsible. Where was the responsibility? Then the barriers were moved forward for us to loose our front row spot because the rest of the crowd surged forward - it could have turned bad so quickly with all the pushing and shoving - what on earth possessed the council to move them? Finally, the fireworks, well from what we could see were ok. Overall what we thought would be a good family day out turned out to be a waste of a day and very disappointing. We will not be back next year!
We attended the events yesterday, starting our day earlier to do shopping in Taunton. We stayed to watch the lights being switched on and were very disappointed to say the least. We found a spot at the front near the barriers (we had 2 children with us), only to find that even that close we could not hear anything from the main stage, the kids were excited to see father Christmas only to be disappointed when he arrived, wrong costume and nothing remarkably like him, the music was rubbish and then we couldn't hear the carols. Considering the audience was primarily made up of children we found the choice of fire entertainers with fireworks on their backs and using angle grinders to make sparks was just irresponsible. Where was the responsibility? Then the barriers were moved forward for us to loose our front row spot because the rest of the crowd surged forward - it could have turned bad so quickly with all the pushing and shoving - what on earth possessed the council to move them? Finally, the fireworks, well from what we could see were ok. Overall what we thought would be a good family day out turned out to be a waste of a day and very disappointing. We will not be back next year! HillFamily
  • Score: 0

10:44am Tue 17 Nov 09

somersetboy says...

what on earth is this rubbish, christmas is not about buying stuff much less santa, its about the birth of our lord jesus christ ( christ mas), how many have forgotten that important fact,shame on you, im glad it was rubbish serves you right for celebrating it all wrong!!!!
what on earth is this rubbish, christmas is not about buying stuff much less santa, its about the birth of our lord jesus christ ( christ mas), how many have forgotten that important fact,shame on you, im glad it was rubbish serves you right for celebrating it all wrong!!!! somersetboy
  • Score: 0

2:53pm Tue 17 Nov 09

nice man says...

we had a great day out thanks, free parking, great food stalls, good music, a very nice security man helped my wife and kids get a good spot. santa looked more Janet street porter. but Thank you taunton town centre it was a great day out....
we had a great day out thanks, free parking, great food stalls, good music, a very nice security man helped my wife and kids get a good spot. santa looked more Janet street porter. but Thank you taunton town centre it was a great day out.... nice man
  • Score: 0

4:16pm Tue 17 Nov 09

tamsinalicia says...

Very poor show..... They have had a whole year to organise this event and it was a complete let down. We stood for over an hour with our 2 children awaiting for the parade and arrival of Father Christmas. Only to see some terrible musicians,a bunch of panto people handing out flyers and a miserable Carnival Princess walk past. Suddenly Father Christmas (very badly dressed) was up on stage after a mumbled intro... I thought a parade was about music, costumes and a jolly Father Christmas waving to all the kids that had so patiently waited. Surely this could have been organised better,there was no barriers so people were not sure where to stand to see the so called parade,the people up on stage just waffled on with not a word making sense and after a battle to get our kids on the free ride, as they clearly did not think that a queue would work... we went home with two children asking when they were going to see santa... Unimpressed........
Very poor show..... They have had a whole year to organise this event and it was a complete let down. We stood for over an hour with our 2 children awaiting for the parade and arrival of Father Christmas. Only to see some terrible musicians,a bunch of panto people handing out flyers and a miserable Carnival Princess walk past. Suddenly Father Christmas (very badly dressed) was up on stage after a mumbled intro... I thought a parade was about music, costumes and a jolly Father Christmas waving to all the kids that had so patiently waited. Surely this could have been organised better,there was no barriers so people were not sure where to stand to see the so called parade,the people up on stage just waffled on with not a word making sense and after a battle to get our kids on the free ride, as they clearly did not think that a queue would work... we went home with two children asking when they were going to see santa... Unimpressed........ tamsinalicia
  • Score: 0

5:53pm Tue 17 Nov 09

humbugging says...

Ah, its so reassuring when the Christian viewpoint is delivered with such peace and goodwill to all. Thanks somersetboy your generosity of spirit is a shining example... NOT!
The event was not rubbish, and the organisers had set aside time during the day for the good news of Christmas to be celebrated in a traditional manner with the singing of carols. There was also a spectacular celebration of light coming into a dark world... Isn't that the very essence of the Christmas story?
Ah, its so reassuring when the Christian viewpoint is delivered with such peace and goodwill to all. Thanks somersetboy your generosity of spirit is a shining example... NOT! The event was not rubbish, and the organisers had set aside time during the day for the good news of Christmas to be celebrated in a traditional manner with the singing of carols. There was also a spectacular celebration of light coming into a dark world... Isn't that the very essence of the Christmas story? humbugging
  • Score: 0

7:21pm Tue 17 Nov 09

CHIRPY says...

After all of these bad comments straight after the event I have to say yes Father Christmas was poor but the event was a good day out free of charge!

The event crew, stalls, bands worked extremely hard to please thousands of people and obviously we are not all going to agree.

I hope behond all the bad press that people did enjoy themselves like me and my family.

It could be worse, Taunton could have NO xmas light switch on!
After all of these bad comments straight after the event I have to say yes Father Christmas was poor but the event was a good day out free of charge! The event crew, stalls, bands worked extremely hard to please thousands of people and obviously we are not all going to agree. I hope behond all the bad press that people did enjoy themselves like me and my family. It could be worse, Taunton could have NO xmas light switch on! CHIRPY
  • Score: 0

8:58pm Tue 17 Nov 09

somersetgirl29 says...

We parked in the Pig Market car park on our return we found the shutters down so were unable to use the lifts we had to join a long queue up by the library, we waited 20 mins and then decided to carry our daughters and pushchair up the stairs!!! Overall we enjoyed the atmosphere of the day but did not enjoy the pushing and shoving there was certainly not much Christmas spirit by Llloyds bank or around the carousel in Orchard!!!
We parked in the Pig Market car park on our return we found the shutters down so were unable to use the lifts we had to join a long queue up by the library, we waited 20 mins and then decided to carry our daughters and pushchair up the stairs!!! Overall we enjoyed the atmosphere of the day but did not enjoy the pushing and shoving there was certainly not much Christmas spirit by Llloyds bank or around the carousel in Orchard!!! somersetgirl29
  • Score: 0

11:07pm Tue 17 Nov 09

cegy22 says...

oh my goodness. What a farce! The entertainment to open Orchard was spot on for the kids but that is as far as it went.
I am all for change but where is the tradition too? Trading cadet forces from the usual sea cadets who would use their gun to signal the start of the festive season, to a few poorly turned out air cadets who could barely smile let alone march well.
The PA system that was used was so poor that the music was too loud and the vocals could not be heard. What was the point in the carols with this being the case? The song sheets handed out were crappy photocopies which showed no effort at all.
One thing that was said and heard was that people should stay where they were for the fireworks display, as this would be seen from every angle. So what was the point in moving the safety barriers and allowing people to stampeed forward? The guy trying to move ours got it stuck and the people pushing from behind caused the people at the front forward, the gate swung and I now have a lovely bruise on my leg where it hit me. Nice and safe Mr town manager!!!! I think not.
Finally although I agree that the fire starters dance thing was entertaining, the smaller children found it boring and after all it is mainly for the children, so not a wise choice, also setting the stage on the momorial, just days after poppies had been laid, very direspectful and very disrespectful setting up on the momorial anyway.
Oh and I thought I had finished, but blimey I had to explain to my very upset daughter that santa was obviously busy and had sent a very poor replacement. Santa = jolly fat man in white and red who smiles and talks to the children and rides his sleigh, not a tall skinny man dressed in red and black, who did not remove his hood, looked rather scary for a small child and brought a crappy cardboard raindeer. Oh dear is what I say. Poor effort all round. Only thing that was any good was eventual lights on and fire works.
oh my goodness. What a farce! The entertainment to open Orchard was spot on for the kids but that is as far as it went. I am all for change but where is the tradition too? Trading cadet forces from the usual sea cadets who would use their gun to signal the start of the festive season, to a few poorly turned out air cadets who could barely smile let alone march well. The PA system that was used was so poor that the music was too loud and the vocals could not be heard. What was the point in the carols with this being the case? The song sheets handed out were crappy photocopies which showed no effort at all. One thing that was said and heard was that people should stay where they were for the fireworks display, as this would be seen from every angle. So what was the point in moving the safety barriers and allowing people to stampeed forward? The guy trying to move ours got it stuck and the people pushing from behind caused the people at the front forward, the gate swung and I now have a lovely bruise on my leg where it hit me. Nice and safe Mr town manager!!!! I think not. Finally although I agree that the fire starters dance thing was entertaining, the smaller children found it boring and after all it is mainly for the children, so not a wise choice, also setting the stage on the momorial, just days after poppies had been laid, very direspectful and very disrespectful setting up on the momorial anyway. Oh and I thought I had finished, but blimey I had to explain to my very upset daughter that santa was obviously busy and had sent a very poor replacement. Santa = jolly fat man in white and red who smiles and talks to the children and rides his sleigh, not a tall skinny man dressed in red and black, who did not remove his hood, looked rather scary for a small child and brought a crappy cardboard raindeer. Oh dear is what I say. Poor effort all round. Only thing that was any good was eventual lights on and fire works. cegy22
  • Score: 0

11:25pm Tue 17 Nov 09

reg G says...

my 2 children,like most standing near us didnt recognise santa,and were very disappointed.Bijoux were ok but it was not really dark enough to have this kind of show.And to play with angle grinders how appropriate was that.Fireworks were very impressive.At least they lit something up,unlike the drab christmas lights.We were left wondering if perhaps santa bumped his head when he fell to earth that would explain why he wore the wrong outfit.At least the children do not want to attend next year after this poor poor show,leaving us a free afternoon not getting bumped around and wondering if we are due a rebate on our council tax.Just the stalls next year please.
my 2 children,like most standing near us didnt recognise santa,and were very disappointed.Bijoux were ok but it was not really dark enough to have this kind of show.And to play with angle grinders how appropriate was that.Fireworks were very impressive.At least they lit something up,unlike the drab christmas lights.We were left wondering if perhaps santa bumped his head when he fell to earth that would explain why he wore the wrong outfit.At least the children do not want to attend next year after this poor poor show,leaving us a free afternoon not getting bumped around and wondering if we are due a rebate on our council tax.Just the stalls next year please. reg G
  • Score: 0

9:31am Wed 18 Nov 09

souwesterly says...

Why was it planned to try to get everything done at once?
Why on earth didn’t they split the occasion into two events, separated by a few weeks, which would have maximised the enjoyment and trading benefits.
……..
Turning on the lights – make that an adult entertainment evening…..presumab
ly to coincide with late night shopping. The lights themselves can be seen any time you come into town after dark….and perhaps they encourage shoppers into the town. I don’t think that children are as fascinated by various civic lighting as we might think they are.
……..
Father Christmas is for kids and should have been set up differently – and nearer Christmas. Surely he (a fat jolly cheerful man in a red and white outfit) could then arrive with his entourage and travel around quite a lot of the town – so that as many children as possible could have a chance to see him.
Perhaps that could run during the daytime – together with appropriate entertainment.
……..
It was an effort at putting everything into one basket (get it over with….?) which didn’t come off.
Why was it planned to try to get everything done at once? Why on earth didn’t they split the occasion into two events, separated by a few weeks, which would have maximised the enjoyment and trading benefits. …….. Turning on the lights – make that an adult entertainment evening…..presumab ly to coincide with late night shopping. The lights themselves can be seen any time you come into town after dark….and perhaps they encourage shoppers into the town. I don’t think that children are as fascinated by various civic lighting as we might think they are. …….. Father Christmas is for kids and should have been set up differently – and nearer Christmas. Surely he (a fat jolly cheerful man in a red and white outfit) could then arrive with his entourage and travel around quite a lot of the town – so that as many children as possible could have a chance to see him. Perhaps that could run during the daytime – together with appropriate entertainment. …….. It was an effort at putting everything into one basket (get it over with….?) which didn’t come off. souwesterly
  • Score: 0

9:32am Wed 18 Nov 09

Maypole says...

Good to see the spirit of England is alive and well and you are all monaing about everything!!!!

It was free just enjoy it STOP MOANING
Good to see the spirit of England is alive and well and you are all monaing about everything!!!! It was free just enjoy it STOP MOANING Maypole
  • Score: 0

10:13am Wed 18 Nov 09

bemusedman says...

What a stupid argument!

"It was free, stop moaning" - as if by some magical circumstance, everything 'free' is amazing and anyone who says otherwise is just miserable! ITV is 'free', but I'm still going to moan about it!

Yes this event was free, but that doesn't mean it had to be as crap as it was!!!
As for the moaning, that's all part of the Christmas experience in this country, I'm afraid.
What a stupid argument! "It was free, stop moaning" - as if by some magical circumstance, everything 'free' is amazing and anyone who says otherwise is just miserable! ITV is 'free', but I'm still going to moan about it! Yes this event was free, but that doesn't mean it had to be as crap as it was!!! As for the moaning, that's all part of the Christmas experience in this country, I'm afraid. bemusedman
  • Score: 0

1:13pm Wed 18 Nov 09

nutpea says...

I agree, just because it is free does not mean we should expect less. A more authentic Santa suit can be bought from Poundland! By the way, surely it's not all free anyway...aren't our Council Taxes paying towards this??
I agree, just because it is free does not mean we should expect less. A more authentic Santa suit can be bought from Poundland! By the way, surely it's not all free anyway...aren't our Council Taxes paying towards this?? nutpea
  • Score: 0

1:27pm Wed 18 Nov 09

Maypole says...

I don't think I said it was amazing just because it was free, I went during the day it was ok at least an effort was made I was more commenting on the moaning, try being a happy person it is so much better...........or organise it yourself next year and then take all the flack
I don't think I said it was amazing just because it was free, I went during the day it was ok at least an effort was made I was more commenting on the moaning, try being a happy person it is so much better...........or organise it yourself next year and then take all the flack Maypole
  • Score: 0

1:51pm Wed 18 Nov 09

bemusedman says...

Pessimism is the way forward! That way you're always pleasantly surprised if something doesn't turn out the way you feared!
Having us moan at these people keeps them on their toes. The council has spent our taxes on a pretty poor event, we've every right to moan at them. You saying "at least the effort was there" is meaningless because, to the vast majority of people commenting here, the effort quite blatantly wasn't there!!! And yeah, I'll organise it next year-at least I won't be so stupid as to have people dancing on the war memorial barely a week after Remembrance Day!
Pessimism is the way forward! That way you're always pleasantly surprised if something doesn't turn out the way you feared! Having us moan at these people keeps them on their toes. The council has spent our taxes on a pretty poor event, we've every right to moan at them. You saying "at least the effort was there" is meaningless because, to the vast majority of people commenting here, the effort quite blatantly wasn't there!!! And yeah, I'll organise it next year-at least I won't be so stupid as to have people dancing on the war memorial barely a week after Remembrance Day! bemusedman
  • Score: 0

2:36pm Wed 18 Nov 09

Maypole says...

I wasn't there for that part and yes I think that was in pretty poor taste!! no one should be allowed to dance on a war memorial for what ever reason.

So as they say if you can't beat them join them, good luck next year!
I wasn't there for that part and yes I think that was in pretty poor taste!! no one should be allowed to dance on a war memorial for what ever reason. So as they say if you can't beat them join them, good luck next year! Maypole
  • Score: 0

4:30pm Wed 18 Nov 09

L JOhns says...

The market was lovely, and always makes me feel christmassy and the fireworks were spectacular BUT the star of the show (father christmas) was awful!!!
Next year, can you miss out a couple of fireworks to save a few pounds and put father christmas in a horse and carriage in a proper red and white costume rather than a man in his brown dressing gown adjusting his beard as he walked through town!!!
My daughters were so dissapointed - Taunton is better than that.
The market was lovely, and always makes me feel christmassy and the fireworks were spectacular BUT the star of the show (father christmas) was awful!!! Next year, can you miss out a couple of fireworks to save a few pounds and put father christmas in a horse and carriage in a proper red and white costume rather than a man in his brown dressing gown adjusting his beard as he walked through town!!! My daughters were so dissapointed - Taunton is better than that. L JOhns
  • Score: 0

5:14pm Wed 18 Nov 09

Outraged of Oake says...

Despite all the comments expressing how poor a show it was the Gazette will report it as 'mixed' response. Bemusedman - nothing in life is free. If the council pay for it we pay in our council tax bill and if the retailers pay for it we pay in the long run by increased prices. As my dad keeps telling me - no such thing as a free lunch!
Despite all the comments expressing how poor a show it was the Gazette will report it as 'mixed' response. Bemusedman - nothing in life is free. If the council pay for it we pay in our council tax bill and if the retailers pay for it we pay in the long run by increased prices. As my dad keeps telling me - no such thing as a free lunch! Outraged of Oake
  • Score: 0

5:20pm Wed 18 Nov 09

nutpea says...

...I understand that the Santa in the parade is the same one in the Brewhouse's "When Santa Fell to Earth". I think I would want my money back if this is correct....
...I understand that the Santa in the parade is the same one in the Brewhouse's "When Santa Fell to Earth". I think I would want my money back if this is correct.... nutpea
  • Score: 0

9:33am Thu 19 Nov 09

buckley09 says...

I think they had loads for kids to do this yr and i really enjoyed the markets. I was disappointed however, that no-one could see father christmas as he was shoved in a corner of the stage, and never came through the crowd at all! Plus we parked in the multi storey car park and when everything had finished they'd locked Orchard! The lifts by the library werent working so we had to carry my 10 month old daughter up aload of stairs, as we were on level 3, it nearly killed my husband as he is asthmatic! i think its disgusting they closed Orchard, last year it was left open fully with the lifts working, why did they change it this year? I saw loads of people with buggys waiting by the road while their othe halves got the car, but imagine if u were a single parent by urself that night, u'd b stuck! very disappointed!!
I think they had loads for kids to do this yr and i really enjoyed the markets. I was disappointed however, that no-one could see father christmas as he was shoved in a corner of the stage, and never came through the crowd at all! Plus we parked in the multi storey car park and when everything had finished they'd locked Orchard! The lifts by the library werent working so we had to carry my 10 month old daughter up aload of stairs, as we were on level 3, it nearly killed my husband as he is asthmatic! i think its disgusting they closed Orchard, last year it was left open fully with the lifts working, why did they change it this year? I saw loads of people with buggys waiting by the road while their othe halves got the car, but imagine if u were a single parent by urself that night, u'd b stuck! very disappointed!! buckley09
  • Score: 0

10:03am Thu 19 Nov 09

Taunton_chap says...

My tow year old didnt couldn't see the santa and was very upset.

The orchard failed in their duty of care towards children using the free carousel as I was there when the mayhem insued and my two year old was nearly trappled on by a very agressive women with her child. I would never hurt a child to get my child on a ride but there are people exist in taunton. We left for my daughters saftey and used the charged rides as they where being run safely.
My tow year old didnt couldn't see the santa and was very upset. The orchard failed in their duty of care towards children using the free carousel as I was there when the mayhem insued and my two year old was nearly trappled on by a very agressive women with her child. I would never hurt a child to get my child on a ride but there are people exist in taunton. We left for my daughters saftey and used the charged rides as they where being run safely. Taunton_chap
  • Score: 0

10:19am Thu 19 Nov 09

bemusedman says...

"We are sorry if some people had a slightly longer walk back to their cars"!!!
What a stupid, sly little dig at people! It's not like people were complaining about an extra 100 yard walk. People were complaining because they had buggies, shopping and small, tired children to somehow car up narrow, stinking flights of stairs because they'd closed the access to the lifts.
And the dancers on the war memorial wasn't an issue of "public safety". Are you honestly saying that at no point during your planing did someone just step back and say "Hold on, this might be a bit of an issue"? If not then you "town centre managers" need to take your heads out of your own backsides and have a good, hard look at yourselves!
"We are sorry if some people had a slightly longer walk back to their cars"!!! What a stupid, sly little dig at people! It's not like people were complaining about an extra 100 yard walk. People were complaining because they had buggies, shopping and small, tired children to somehow car up narrow, stinking flights of stairs because they'd closed the access to the lifts. And the dancers on the war memorial wasn't an issue of "public safety". Are you honestly saying that at no point during your planing did someone just step back and say "Hold on, this might be a bit of an issue"? If not then you "town centre managers" need to take your heads out of your own backsides and have a good, hard look at yourselves! bemusedman
  • Score: 0

11:18am Thu 19 Nov 09

Nonny Mouse says...

Last year I wrote to Town Centre Manager (I know it is not the current one) saying how disappointing the light switching on was because only The Few could see or hear what was going on. I had no reply. This year I had no intention whatsoever of repeating the experience but fate conspired against me and I found myself at the event once again. Again, I could see nothing unless I barged through other people or if I had asked parents to take young children off their shoulders; I could hear nothing. The Town Centre Manager's comments totally miss the point, especially about the lack of respect in using the War Memorial as a stage. If they are putting on a visual show (and especially if it includes a Brewhouse character) why not do it at the Brewhouse? Surely the whole point of the evening is to entertain AS MANY PEOPLE as possible, so it needs to be predominantly an Audio Show preferably with good DJ's/presenters who involve the audience in singing along, or shouting out - ANYTHING as long as the majority can take part. As for the sound, bands earlier in the day had not had a problem - I could hear every word from Morrisons car park! And as for 'misinformation', who produced the publicity and got it wrong then?
Last year I wrote to Town Centre Manager (I know it is not the current one) saying how disappointing the light switching on was because only The Few could see or hear what was going on. I had no reply. This year I had no intention whatsoever of repeating the experience but fate conspired against me and I found myself at the event once again. Again, I could see nothing unless I barged through other people or if I had asked parents to take young children off their shoulders; I could hear nothing. The Town Centre Manager's comments totally miss the point, especially about the lack of respect in using the War Memorial as a stage. If they are putting on a visual show (and especially if it includes a Brewhouse character) why not do it at the Brewhouse? Surely the whole point of the evening is to entertain AS MANY PEOPLE as possible, so it needs to be predominantly an Audio Show preferably with good DJ's/presenters who involve the audience in singing along, or shouting out - ANYTHING as long as the majority can take part. As for the sound, bands earlier in the day had not had a problem - I could hear every word from Morrisons car park! And as for 'misinformation', who produced the publicity and got it wrong then? Nonny Mouse
  • Score: 0

3:06pm Thu 19 Nov 09

nutpea says...

Taunton Town Centre Manager's comments are an insult, and not a word of apology for upsetting the children re Santa. Not every child is old enough to attend The Brewhouse Show which will apparently explain why Santa was dressed like he is- as it states suitable for 4+. If someone goes to the show, please do reveal why he looks the way he does so I can pass it on to my daughter....
Taunton Town Centre Manager's comments are an insult, and not a word of apology for upsetting the children re Santa. Not every child is old enough to attend The Brewhouse Show which will apparently explain why Santa was dressed like he is- as it states suitable for 4+. If someone goes to the show, please do reveal why he looks the way he does so I can pass it on to my daughter.... nutpea
  • Score: 0

3:55pm Thu 19 Nov 09

Outraged of Oake says...

Reading their comments it's clear the so called "Taunton Town's bosses" were at a different event or they simply don't care what people 'feel'. A word to the wise - free shouldn't mean second best.
Reading their comments it's clear the so called "Taunton Town's bosses" were at a different event or they simply don't care what people 'feel'. A word to the wise - free shouldn't mean second best. Outraged of Oake
  • Score: 0

4:54pm Thu 19 Nov 09

bemusedman says...

Outraged of Oake, I thought you said nothing was free?
Outraged of Oake, I thought you said nothing was free? bemusedman
  • Score: 0

6:39pm Thu 19 Nov 09

Taunton_chap says...

Yes no-one involved has apologised they are so arrogant and over paid they dont care. They did a super job and their off to spend the xmas bonus they couldnt give a monkeys whether people like it or not.

The orchard have not apologised for the shambles carousel. The barriers must have been put up after my daughter was injured and we left digused, I shall now not be spending any money in the new orchard (What units are let anyway) as they have not even apologised.
Yes no-one involved has apologised they are so arrogant and over paid they dont care. They did a super job and their off to spend the xmas bonus they couldnt give a monkeys whether people like it or not. The orchard have not apologised for the shambles carousel. The barriers must have been put up after my daughter was injured and we left digused, I shall now not be spending any money in the new orchard (What units are let anyway) as they have not even apologised. Taunton_chap
  • Score: 0

6:41pm Thu 19 Nov 09

Taunton_chap says...

They should of named the orchard the pig market again as its run by pig ignorant staff!!
They should of named the orchard the pig market again as its run by pig ignorant staff!! Taunton_chap
  • Score: 0

6:41pm Thu 19 Nov 09

somersetgirl29 says...

Graham Love's comments have just shown how out of touch he was with the evening, especially the goings on at The Old Pig Market Centre. My dismay was not at a slightly longer walk to my vehicle it was the fact I had a five month old baby, a buggy and a five year old daughter to carry up four flights of stairs that stank of urine. I'm sure he would have been slighty annoyed had it been himself in the same situation!!!! Perhaps he should listen and take note of the comments made rather than adding fuel to the fire by belittling people, does he not have Public Relations Assistant who could advise him, he should have looked into the problems a little more before making ill-judged comments!!!!
Graham Love's comments have just shown how out of touch he was with the evening, especially the goings on at The Old Pig Market Centre. My dismay was not at a slightly longer walk to my vehicle it was the fact I had a five month old baby, a buggy and a five year old daughter to carry up four flights of stairs that stank of urine. I'm sure he would have been slighty annoyed had it been himself in the same situation!!!! Perhaps he should listen and take note of the comments made rather than adding fuel to the fire by belittling people, does he not have Public Relations Assistant who could advise him, he should have looked into the problems a little more before making ill-judged comments!!!! somersetgirl29
  • Score: 0

10:03pm Thu 19 Nov 09

Taunton_chap says...

Somersetgirl:

I agree my friend was in the same situation and was less than impressed. Luckily I didnt park at the 'pig ignorant market'.

Some people are so out of touch they dont realise its a nightmare with small children with all there kit and buggy/ies.

Why it was done on a sunday when the shops didnt open late I will never understand.

Somersetgirl: I agree my friend was in the same situation and was less than impressed. Luckily I didnt park at the 'pig ignorant market'. Some people are so out of touch they dont realise its a nightmare with small children with all there kit and buggy/ies. Why it was done on a sunday when the shops didnt open late I will never understand. Taunton_chap
  • Score: 0

7:43am Fri 20 Nov 09

oxyheamaglobin says...

God don,t we brits just love to moan about anything.with all that,s going on in the world im glad if anything is free....STOP MOANING...people
God don,t we brits just love to moan about anything.with all that,s going on in the world im glad if anything is free....STOP MOANING...people oxyheamaglobin
  • Score: 0

9:18am Fri 20 Nov 09

bemusedman says...

Ah, and here he/she is. Thanks for that, Oxyheamaglobin, another brilliant and valued contribution. Why don't you try and contribute something to the discussion, instead of just telling people to stop moaning all the time?
And if you'd bothered to read the posts, instead of just wading in with your pointless comments, you'd realise what a complete berk you sound.
Ah, and here he/she is. Thanks for that, Oxyheamaglobin, another brilliant and valued contribution. Why don't you try and contribute something to the discussion, instead of just telling people to stop moaning all the time? And if you'd bothered to read the posts, instead of just wading in with your pointless comments, you'd realise what a complete berk you sound. bemusedman
  • Score: 0

10:19am Fri 20 Nov 09

souwesterly says...

Oxyheadmoron - oh no sorry, oxyheamoglobin.
You obviously weren't there so stop making useless comments that add nothing to the debate.
Don't tell me that you manage to meander through life without moaning about something.
Believe me, if you were there, (I was there, in case you're wondering....althoug
h I was too far away from the main event area to suffer the problems) you'd definitely have had good reason to moan.
Oxyheadmoron - oh no sorry, oxyheamoglobin. You obviously weren't there so stop making useless comments that add nothing to the debate. Don't tell me that you manage to meander through life without moaning about something. Believe me, if you were there, (I was there, in case you're wondering....althoug h I was too far away from the main event area to suffer the problems) you'd definitely have had good reason to moan. souwesterly
  • Score: 0

10:52am Fri 20 Nov 09

SophiaMai says...

What a disappointment! I took my children out to see the switching on of the christmas lights in our county town only to be faced with shambles! Firstly I would like to say how disgusted I was after seeing the fire show taking place on our war memorial!! Is that how you repay the soldiers that have fought for us? Disgraceful Taunton!

Secondly, the parade! The adverts described a 'spectacular parade led by Santa!' It should have been advertised as 'a few people walking down the street including musicians who were not playing, some cadets who looked as though they'd rather not be there, father christmas and some panto actors mumbling away!'

Thirdly - Father Christmas!!!! Well I can only describe him as the grim reaper - who didn't even stop to talk to the children.

Fourthly, when those poor children were on stage singing their hearts out, not one word was heard by the audience who were more than 4/5 rows back!

And finally, after a slow walk back to the new 'Orchard' with two very tired and disappointed children we were faced with closed shutters and lifts and therefore had to lug 2 children and a pushchair up the stairs to level 4 as well as our shopping! Think we may be going somewhere else next year!

On another note the fireworks were great!!
What a disappointment! I took my children out to see the switching on of the christmas lights in our county town only to be faced with shambles! Firstly I would like to say how disgusted I was after seeing the fire show taking place on our war memorial!! Is that how you repay the soldiers that have fought for us? Disgraceful Taunton! Secondly, the parade! The adverts described a 'spectacular parade led by Santa!' It should have been advertised as 'a few people walking down the street including musicians who were not playing, some cadets who looked as though they'd rather not be there, father christmas and some panto actors mumbling away!' Thirdly - Father Christmas!!!! Well I can only describe him as the grim reaper - who didn't even stop to talk to the children. Fourthly, when those poor children were on stage singing their hearts out, not one word was heard by the audience who were more than 4/5 rows back! And finally, after a slow walk back to the new 'Orchard' with two very tired and disappointed children we were faced with closed shutters and lifts and therefore had to lug 2 children and a pushchair up the stairs to level 4 as well as our shopping! Think we may be going somewhere else next year! On another note the fireworks were great!! SophiaMai
  • Score: 0

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