Video: Streamers give Norwich a festival atmosphere

Mary HamiltonExplosions of streamers and confetti sprayed the city with colour and ushered in a carnival atmosphere for the first day of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival.Mary Hamilton

Explosions of streamers and confetti sprayed the city with colour and ushered in a carnival atmosphere for the first day of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival.

Crowds cheered as Les Vernisseurs sprayed bright blue streamers into the sky as well as into shops and the crowds, wrapping people together and causing mayhem in Starbucks and Wallis.

The performance last night marked the launch of the 2010 festival, which runs until May 22 with a packed programme of events from interactive theatre, dance and circus performances to visual art displays and classical music concerts.

About 130 volunteers are lined up to help out over the next two weeks, and 300,000 people are expected to join in with festival events.

City council leader Steve Morphew said: "The festival is taking the community to heart and the community is taking the festival to heart.

"The timing is absolutely perfect as we work towards submitting the City of Culture bid on May 21. If this festival is as good as we think it's going to be, imagine what it could be like in 2010."

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Earlier yesterday, city and county leaders and Evening News editor Tim Williams went under the scissors to have their hair cut, styled and coloured by 10-year-old children at the first event of this year's festival.

As part of Haircuts by Children, apprehensive patrons were given gentle trims and daring new hairstyles by students from Catton Grove Primary School, who had been given six training sessions before being let loose with the scissors.

Bright pink beards, blue bald patches and lots of glitter were the order of the day for people who dropped in to Flint on Bridewell Alley or booked appointments, while the salon's VIP visitors opted for more subdued styles.

John Craston, 28, who popped in for a cut and colour, had his hair and beard sprayed bright pink and liberally decorated with golden glitter.

"It was a daunting experience," he said. "I came because it was the first thing on the festival calendar and I thought it would be interesting and a bit fun."

His hair was cut by 10-year-old Bradley Sadd, who said: "I had a really good time using the dyes and I really enjoyed cutting people's hair."

Evening News editor Tim Williams had a red and glittery St George's cross sprayed on the back of his head. He said: "At first I was very nervous but the children at Catton Grove have done a really excellent job."

County council leader Daniel Cox went with a short, layered cut with a blue stripe around his head, which he called his "Conservative go-faster stripe".

Conor O'Brien, who runs Flint, said he was thrilled to have been involved and that the children's enthusiasm and enjoyment had been well worth giving up the use of his salon yesterday and today.

� To watch a video of Les Vernisseurs at last night's festival launch, visit