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Dragonfly Ball 2006 - at The Bowl 

The sun certainly wasn't the only thing that came out to party at the weekend.

Dragonfly Ball 2006
With temperatures well into the twenties, thousands of people flocked to town's traditional outdoor hotspots for two of Swindon's biggest events of the year so far.
 
While the hugely successful Corporate Games brought venues across town to life - from Lydiard to Coate Water - Old Town was positively buzzing with a different event entirely.
 
The Dragonfly Ball transformed the usually tranquil environment of the Town Gardens into a euphoric dance and rock haven, as people from all walks of life united to party way into the night.
 
Over 2000 people flocked to see the likes of local bands Belarus, Captain Mandate, Buswsell and Beatbullyz, as well as a host of Swindon's finest DJs, including Elwyn Lloyd and Baila.
 
There were circus performances including Jake the Juggler, performing arts workshops, free face painting and a whole area dedicated to kids.
And those with the stamina to keep the flame burning until the early hours even flocked to an After Party with Soul II Soul at Studio nightclub.
 
Dragonfly Ball 2006

But the Dragonfly Ball was much more than just an excuse to party in the park lap up the carnival atmosphere.
 
It was organised by 'Nature for All', a Swindon Ranger Team project dedicated to enhancing wildlife and promoting Local Nature Reserves.
 
Revellers may not have been able to hear sweet chirping of robins or the gentle flapping of butterfly wings, but it is hoped that the success of the event raised their awareness of Swindon's biodiversity.
 
Dragonfly Ball 2006

Mark Jiminez, 49, came from Cheltenham especially for the event. "It's just an amazing carnival atmosphere and it's great to see everyone together outdoors," he said.
 
"We're moving to Swindon later in the year and this seemed like a good introduction to the town.

"It's easy to take the beautiful nature and wildlife in a place like Swindon for granted, so sometimes it takes an event like this for people to realise what they've got.

"The kids have had a great day - we're hoping there will be lots more events like this in Swindon!"
 
Dragonfly Ball 2006

The Dragonfly Ball certainly showed how much demand there is for celebrations like this in Swindon, on whatever scale.
 
The Town Garden Bowl, which was originally opened in 1936 and restored in the 1990s, is a great spot for summer concerts and could certainly be utilised even more to showcase local talent.
 
Billie Sanders, 19, from West Swindon, was impressed by the venue.
"I didn't even know it was used anymore," she said. "There's plenty of room for big crowds here so I'd definitely like to see more events like this."

However, she wasn't so sure about the environmental impact of the Ball.
 
"I wouldn't like to be clearing up afterwards!" she said.
 
"There's a recycling point but I'm not sure how many people have actually used it - the area might take some time to recover."
 
"Perhaps the organisers could have done more to raise the awareness of the environmental issues. I think most people just enjoyed the party and didn't really think about the fundamental purpose of the ball."
 
Dragonfly Ball 2006

Organisers though, were delighted at the success of the event, which took flight where last year's Butterfly Ball left off.

"We were fully to capacity, which was great," said organiser Johannah Fawthrop, Nature for All liaison officer.
 
"There were lots of families which was great because it showed people what is on offer in the town in these great outdoor spaces.
 
Dragonfly Ball 2006

Since it was launched in September 2003, Nature for All has increased the number of nature reserves in the town from two to five, the most recent additions being Banbury Castle and Stanton Park.
 
There are currently 1,000 Local Nature Reserves (LNRs) across the UK, which collectively contributes to the conservation of the diversity of our country.

Nature for All is sponsored by English Nature and the Big Lottery.
 
 Town Gardens - more information
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