The Lost Carnival, Bury


The end of May was an intriguing time for the people of Bury.

Shrouded in mystery, the rumour around town was that a carnival was on its way – and not just any carnival. The Lost Carnival was about to arrive at Burrs Country Park.


The finer details of the event were rather vague, but with the promise of ‘spellbinding theatre, circus, music, visual trickery and a story beyond your wildest dreams’ I really did have to send someone along to get the full story. Jo, Drew and their beautiful baby daughter were my ‘family on the ground’ for this event.

The teaser behind the event was this:

‘The most enchanting carnival in the world suddenly stopped touring in its heyday, under suspicious and mysterious circumstances. The carnival is coming back, but can the audience help it to ward off past dangers and bring it back to its former glory?’


There were podcasts on the website to help people solve the mystery before the event, too. If you’d like to listen to those, they can be found on The Lost Carnival website.

Parking for event was great, well attended and signposted and there wasn’t far to walk.

After just a couple of minutes in a queue for wristbands, then another couple of minutes before entering the grounds, guests entered the Big Top to watch an introductory stage show on the event itself.

Tree girls


Once the intro was over, Lost Carnival attendees entered the main attraction, where there a world of entertainment came to life.

From live music to a giant pendulum wave, there was plenty to see here. Retro campervans masquerading as quaint little mobile tea rooms were a nice touch, as was the bearded lady who actually had a ‘beard-off’ with Drew, I’m told! Drew won. A mask making tent provided for the more creative guests with an artistic outlet, and for those really getting into the whimsical spirit of the carnival, a stall selling fairy wings and other accessories.


A highlight of the evening was when Jo, Drew and baby Willow were walking past the band who were playing rather loudly. The drummer noticed Willow in the pram and hushed the band, who began to play very quietly as they crept past the sleeping baby! Jo thought that was a particularly lovely gesture, and I’m sure Willow appreciated it too.

Moving into another area, carnival goers found girls dancing amongst the trees and this guy … I’ve no idea how to explain him so I think a photo is best here!

headless man

Moving on past these displays, guests arrived at another field where there was an array of hot and cold food on offer as well as a licensed bar.

Here there was also a company here offering Victorian photography portraits. Jo says,

There was a woman doing Victorian photography with actual Victorian cameras. She was doing portrait photographs of people, which were really cool and really reasonably priced too.

Jo was at The Lost Carnival without one of her children, and so has arranged a photo shoot with them in Manchester at a later date.

pendulum wave

As with any event, there was some constructive feedback from Jo and Drew about The Lost Carnival event. They felt that the event was quite spaced out and could have been condensed into the one field. Perhaps there is scope for subsequent events to have a larger variety of entertainers, stalls and attractions. The only other thing Jo and Drew weren’t sure of was what The Lost Carnival was actually about. There was talk of ‘saving’ it but I’m not sure the message of how, what or why was fully understood by attendees. That didn’t detract from their enjoyment of the evening though, and they say they would go again should it come back next year.

*That Lancashire Lass was granted complimentary tickets for Jo, Drew and family in return for this review. All views are independent and honest.

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