Legendary DOCA gets Colourful this Summer

What would you do if you couldn’t be killed by human or animal? It’d surely go to your head a bit wouldn’t it? Yeah, marching through the Market Place on a Friday night after spoons kicked out, pinching everyone’s chips n doner meat, thinking you’re God and giving it “everyone worship me, just me, aite.”

This is what King Hiranyakashipu did in Vishnu legend, albeit not for thieving kebab. He got all high and mighty though. His son, Prahlada, remained faithful to Vishnu and got like, well knocked about for it, by the king (don’t make me type his name again) and his nasty Auntie Holika, who tricked him into sitting in a fire, burning his butt; and you thought your auntie had a vicious streak.


Radha and the Gopis celebrating Holi, with accompaniment of music instruments

Aunt Holika got what was coming to her when Krishna turned the tables, blowing her protective shroud to cover Prahlada and exposing her butt to the fire; legend in more ways than one. She was toast, mate; totals. Then, Vishnu thought, “enough is enough,” took the form of Narasimha, half-human half-lion (as you do,) somehow coaxed Hiranyakashipu to sit on his lap and clawed the nutter to bits.

Other than never sitting in the lap of a half-human half-lion, there’s another simple good over evil lesson to be learned here; not letting malevolence get the better of you. Akin to the death of Holika, it’s embodied by a bonfire where people gather to pray their internal evil will be destroyed, hence the custom taking her name. Must be a feeling of great relief to know your evil has departed, no more double-parking on Sidmouth Street, tying dog-poo bags to trees in Drews Pond, stuff like that; you’d want to have a party afterwards wouldn’t you?

The festivity begins the next morning, Holi they call it, a festival of colour. Basically, everyone goes bonkers in the streets and bundles each other with paint. Using whatever comes to hand, buckets, water-pistols, balloons, everyone is fair game from young to old, rich to poor. So if you thought the Devizes Outdoor Celebratory Arts just made up the idea of chucking paint at each other for the heck of it, in their Colour Rush run, you’d be very much mistaken.

Holi customarily starts in March, to celebrate the coming of spring, but it’d one messy doing in the torrential downpours of England, so DOCA have theirs in August, when hopefully….don’t jinx it.

This is not a free-for-all though, you can’t splatter old Joe Bloggs just returning through the park from Morrisons with his Garibaldis, you have to register…. and run 5K in the process. If this sounds like your cup-of-tea, register here, otherwise just join in the fun afterwards at the traditional Confetti Battle, for the Colour Rush is only a tiny part of DOCA’s fortnight of summer celebrations.

“Fun run” being an oxymoron to a moron like me, the Party in the Park is more up my street; free too! 19th August, it kicks off the carnival period at Hillworth Park, where there’s a CAMRA bar, bouncy slides and entertainment, free craft workshops. Musical line-up yet to be announced, but going on previous years it’s quality with something to please all, and if not there’s always a zipwire or the big spiderweb swingy-thing to play on; whe-hey!


Party in the Park 2017

Don’t know about you, but I’d welcome DOCA value the wealth of local talent here and source some of the astounding acts from our own area. Not that I’m insular, just think the Devizes area has some awesome singer/songwriters and bands, if you read Devizine you’d know who they are, and they should take first place at our shows.

It’s Tuesday 21st at the Corn Exchange when PanGottic, an award-winning street theatre company co-founded by Matt Pang and Revital Gottshalk, returns to town with a new show, Long Shot. DOCA ask “you’re handed a remote control, what will happen when you push the button?” Nothing for me, as the kids usually nick the batteries for X-Box controllers.



They promise a “catapultastic evening of clowning, contraptions, comedy and courage, as one man’s belief in the near impossible is put to the test. Part non-verbal circus performance, part behind the scenes ‘making of’, Long Shot will have you on the edge of your seat. Or hiding behind it. Either way, it’s going to be a blast.” Tickets are £8-12.


The Wyvern Club host a skittles night on the 22nd, a fiver entry for teams of four.

Southbroom Infant School have the popular Festival Quiz Night on 24th August 2018. Teams of four compete, it’s £12 per team: reserve your place by calling 01380 728671.
By the bank holiday weekend of 26th-27th, Devizes bursts alive, Sunday on the Green and Monday at the Market Place; yep, street festival time. From Pimms to Kennet and Avon Brewery bar, from street style entertainment to a funfair on the little green, take a picnic and enjoy Sunday.

Dubbed “Black Rat Monday,” it continues full steam next day, with international acts in the bustling environment which always making you wonder if you’re still actually in Devizes at all, past caring by four o’clock anyway.


2017 Street Festival; image by Gail Foster

Look out for the couple of clowns pictured below, who couldn’t fight their way out of a paper bag there, cos next day at the Wharf, they’ll attempt to escape an surreal cardboard world in a bizarre 75-minute slapstick, mime and puppetry show; Pickled Image’s “Coulrophobia.” £12 Adults, £8 Concession tickets will be available via the Wharf Theatre Box Office soon for this seemingly nutty show. Without spoilers, seems an escape is possible, as the clowns will be bobbing around the Market Place for the Confetti Battle too.


Pickled Image

Then of course, Auntie Holika gets hers and the Colour Rush is quickly followed by the Confetti Battle on the 29th, with the usual Devizes Carnival parade following weekend of the September the first. Although carnivals of yore may have been criticised, DOCA is not the County Council, it does listen to our concerns and it just seems to be getting better with each year that passes.


Confetti Battle 2017

With £461 raised to date for fireworks at the Confetti Battle this year, let’s hope the total will be enough for them to polish the evening off in style, if not, it doesn’t matter as Vishnu legend aside, there’s no internal evil with DOCA, they do so much good for Devizes. Take My!Laika for example, inspired by classical circus disciplines, dance and rugby, as well as elevator music and the colour of Angela Merkel’s blouse, they bring their Popcorn Machine to the U.K for the first time, and it’ll be on our Green over the weekend.



Devizes Green, the centre of a post-apocalyptic universe where four international artists with a Dadaistic sense of humour unite to throw off cliched “circus,” perform bizarre theatrical situations and provoke a chaos of feelings; where usually there’s just swans and an ice cream van; only DOCA could’ve done this and I’m sure they’ll continue in this fashion this year with the superb line-up; roll on summer!

Click for more details and booking tickets!

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Legend at Melksham Assembly Rooms: 25th May



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