The Corby Mardi Gras was a spectacular community event that took place on Saturday 24th March and brought together over 5,600 members of the public in a free celebration of light, colour and music.

A live music stage and arts workshops were set up outside Corby Cube and people were able to freely wander down the footpath to start a magical journey through the ancient woodlands of Thoroughsale and Hazel Woods. The woods had been transformed into an enchanted forest by award winning artists Same Sky who had created light sculptures that lined either side of the footpath, leading people through the woods and down to a permanent sculpture by Felicity Jones.

The light sculptures included chandeliers hung from trees branches, multi-coloured jellyfish and a whole host of woodland creatures that were nestled between the trees. Children and adults alike were dazzled by the light installations with audiences commenting on the uniqueness and community feel of the event, originality of the artwork and positive atmosphere that was helped due to the ArtReach team, local volunteers and students from Tresham College.

At 6pm, as twilight fell, a community procession took place. This was led by a huge winged Garuda bird created by Festive Road and was accompanied by the funk and Mardi Gras sounds of The King Brasstards. Over 300 people, children and families, joined in the procession with many displaying their decorated, lit umbrellas created in workshops that had taken place in the lead up to the event at local schools (Gretton, St Patrick’s, Hazel Leys, Stanion, Brigstock Primary and Studfall Junior) and Rooftop Arts Centre.

Performers kept crowds entertained on the main stage with artists including Café Jazz, local community group Shape DANCE (who brought with them the biggest crowd of the day!), The Snowfathers, Alright Jack and headliners King Brasstards.

ArtReach would like to extend thanks to our partners at Made in Corby, the Friends of Thoroughsale and Hazel Woods and Corby Borough Council who have been so supportive of the event, have enabled the ArtReach team to get to know the Corby community and helped engage local people with the ancient woodlands.

A big thank you to all the artists involved from Same Sky plus Liam Hadjipetrou and Felicity Jones. Felicity is a metal sculptor who was commissioned by the Friends of Thoroughsale and Hazel Woods group and ArtReach to create an artwork on the theme of an Enchanted Woodlands. The beautiful resulting sculpture was unveiled as part of the event and will remain permanently in the woods – a wonderful creative legacy for the Corby Mardi Gras!

See images from the event [here]